It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”
That famous quote from the late US President Ronald Reagan sums up the current wave of defections or ‘change of hearts’ dominating the political landscape for the past six months as the country moves closer to 2019 general elections.
One major talking point this week on the streets is Uladi Mussa’s ‘Damascus Moment’ in Parliament last Friday. The former acting People’s Party (PP) president had a ‘change of heart’ according to our sister paper Nation On Sunday, when he lavished praise on President Peter Mutharika’s government, which he has criticised for many years.
Mussa, who went into Parliament on a PP ticket in the 2014 general election, as member of Parliament (MP) for Salima South praised the President for successfully completing the national registration exercise to afford Malawians a credible national identity card.
Said Mussa in Parliament: “I would like to say the truth, Madam Deputy Speaker, it is this administration which has started to successfully implement this national registration programme.”
However, the statement attracted boos from opposition lawmakers with some saying Mussa’s sudden turnaround was a way to “sweet-talking himself into good books with the authorities for personal gain”.
Mussa was recently fired from the People’s Party (PP) for alleged indiscipline. He is also in the group of some PP parliamentarians who are said to be having talks with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the hope that the two parties could forge a working relationship in Parliament.
Other commentators suspect that Mussa could be gravitating towards suspected friendship with the government because it has taken him to court over his alleged abuse of office in issuing ‘fake’ passports when he was minister in charge of Immigration Department several years ago.
We on the streets are not shocked with Mussa’s antics. This is a man who has earned a reputation and nickname ‘Change Golo (goal)’ for his political instability.
As we get closer to another general election, it should not surprise anybody that politicians such as Mussa and Lilongwe City Mayor Desmond Bikoko will ‘change hearts’ in search of a better environment to retain power come 2019. Call it strategic repositioning if you like.
Already, some politicians have come out of retirement or switched parties in their quest to grab power in 2019.
Political prostitution as this behaviour is commonly known is an old tradition and should not surprise us. The term simply means any action by politicians done obviously for self gain, fame and nothing else related to public service with favours or exchange perceived to be involved.
It is indeed a sickening behaviour that should have been nipped in the bud but sadly our lawmakers have allowed it to thrive for their own benefit. Section 65 of the Constitution is clear on what should happen when people ‘change heart’ or cross the floor in the House.
The boo’s on the floor on Friday were cosmetic as our lawmakers know that some have changed sides before on the pretext that they were doing so in the best interest of their constituents.
In fact, several of the opposition lawmakers—who of late have been behaving as if they died on the cross to save Malawians from the yoke of DPP regime—lack moral values to defend what is right.
Some of them have defected from their original parties many times to current parties just to remain in Parliament.
Word on the street is that, we have a house of political prostitutes riding on the back of freedom of association. Do they even have morals values? Are they accountable?
Mutharika was indeed right last month when he said ‘something is tragic with a democracy in which those who think are watchdogs also think they must be accountable to no one.’