Musicians are public figures, an attribute which could help them in their race to Parliament. So far three musicians have declared their interest to contest in the 2014 tripartite elections. Should artists smile and rally behind them because their needs will be met? Our Reporter ALBERT SHARRA explores.
It all started with Lucius Banda and Billy Kaunda contesting and winning parliamentary seats for Balaka North and Blantyre City South during the 2004 general elections. Joseph Tembo followed in 2009 by winning Chikhwawa South Constituency.
If results of the 2014 tripartite elections favour musicians, then Lawrence Mbenjere, Allan Ngumuya and Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango will make their way to Parliament. But what is exciting with politics?
Mbenjere told The Nation that he is joining politics because he has been approached by people of Mchinji West.
“I was asked by people to stand during the 2009 elections, but I could not because I felt that I was not mature enough to join politics. But, these people did not relent and this time around, I have taken heed of their wishes. Come 2014, I will contest under the DPP ticket,” Mbenjere told The Nation of April 4, 2013.
Ngumuya, who is currently outside Malawi, is already running activities such as sports trophies to entice people in Blantyre City South to give him a vote in 2014.
In an interview with Chill recently, Mhango confirmed his intention to join politics.
“I am really interested in joining politics, but this is after being approached by people in the constituency. I have taken their will,” said Mhango.
Martha Mituka, MAM president for women’s desk, also supports the three and says their win will help in fighting for the rights of musicians and pushing for policies in Parliament that support artists.
Mr Entertainer, Jai Banda said the artists are just taking advantage of their fame since the experience of performing in public gives them an advantage over others.
Banda also said the aspirants should be supported and not judged by performance of other musicians in Parliament.
John Chapitapita, a music graduate, said musician-cum-politicians have not impressed.
“Musicians, teachers and ex-councillors, understand better life of a rural man, but they have not proved this since they came into Parliament,” he said.
But Kaunda who has been in Parliament for nine years advised all aspirants to ignore their current motivations when making decisions to join politics.
“Life in Parliament is different. No one should be cheated that coming to Parliament is automatic that all musicians concerns will be solved. Parliament is about procedures.
“Silence on musicians’ rights and policies does not mean we have not talked about them. Abwere adzazione (they should come and appreciate),” said Kaunda.