This time about seven years ago, Malawians woke up to the realisation of the work of politicians in their attempt to ingratiate themselves to the powers that be when a then not-so-well-known politician Charles Mchacha was part of a trio recorded in a gossip session with the current President Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika then was embroiled in the academic freedom saga but had the temerity to have time for a little gossip which as it turned out showed what kind of leader he would be in future: One who listens to lies.
At the time, APM was touted to be his brother’s successor. Therefore, it was not surprising that the likes of Mchacha were seen to be skulking around the younger Mutharika.
Ironically, it is the same gossiper Mchacha that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) seems to have been trusted with developing strategies to counter the onslaught that the United Transformation Movement (UTM) seems to have launched on the Southern Region with the launch of the movement at Njamba Freedom Park.
Mchacha, the DPP regional governor in the South, was seen cowering in a car at a youth festival hastily organised to counter the UTM rally a mere two kilometres away.
At the so-called youth festival which was peppered with a live music concert, youths were made to get drunk on subsidised and free alcohol, then made to sign loan forms allegedly put together by an entity whose foundations were as dubious as the whole programme.
The DPP is now reaching dangerous levels of desperation with the coming in of UTM: From free entry to football matches in Lilongwe on the day of the UTM launch to free beers, and now organising parallel rallies in Mzuzu for the third regional launch of the movement.
Such levels of panic and desperation will not end well, not for the DPP or for the victims of these callous and ill-devised strategies. A party running around like headless chickens will not inspire confidence in the Malawian voter.
Where such ludicrous means are employed to counter a weeks’ old movement, the victims are the youth who are enticed by politicians who have made their future of boot-licking to obtain government contracts.
When the DPP decides to hold parallel rallies in a city as small but highly populated as Mzuzu, the results of the tension or any blood that is shed on this day will be on DPP’s hands.
The DPP and government machinery would do well to expend its energies on rooting out the rampant theft in its ranks.
The ruling party should be more concerned about solving the mystery of 3.8 million litres of fuel which grew legs and disappeared from Escom, leaving poor Malawians languishing in health centres that have no water or electricity let alone basic medicines such as panado.
Instead of unleashing the Police on the UTM leader and Vice-President Saulos Chilima for his allegations on a rigging machine, take some time to investigate the senior Police officers who authorised a dubious rations deal and thanked the president and his party with K145 million gift.
Since the DPP has K25 million to spend on getting the youth drunk, how about approaching some well-wishers to pave a few rural roads so its secretary general Greselder Jeffrey can reach potential voters easily? The voters will thank the DPP when an ambulance can reach their area and reduce maternal and child deaths.
But if the DPP strategies for countering the wave that is UTM is to induce the youth into a drunken stupor and pay for them to watch football matches, there is little hope for its win in 2019.
If the best that the DPP can come up with to counter Chilima’s evidential utterings is to round up five ministers in a room to call for the resignation of a constitutionally elected vice-president, then it is safe to conclude that the party is panicking and desperate.