January 21, 2014
Ken Msonda is not exactly my favourite politician. I just do not like the People’s Party (PP) deputy publicity secretary’s quick-fire and tough-talking macho image that he projects to those of us outside PP.
In September last year, I condemned his declaration of war on DPP and vow to avenge violent acts after an incident in Mulanje where two houses belonging to PP members were burnt down.
I thought the war cry was misguided and pointed out to Msonda that those who will fight in the trenches to fulfil his latest pastime will not be his children but those of the poor people, something I called a great injustice to the youth of Malawi who are called upon to do dirty jobs of politicians for a pittance.
But I must give it to Msonda this time around. Since that incident he seems to have redeemed himself in a remake of his image and has generally avoided putting his foot into the mouth. He even took part in a PP primary election in Rumphi East Constituency which he lost to Kamlepo Kalua.
And after a couple of weeks protesting the results due to what he termed as irregularities, Msonda has caved in and recognised Kamlepo as a bonafide winner, something which leads me to the curse of primaries.
You would think that when one agrees to go into them, one signs up that they will abide by the results even if they go against them as Msonda has done, belated it maybe.
Yet, the fact that many losers in primary election prefer to run as independents, in exercise of their undisputable constitutionally guaranteed right, to me, is an indication that our parties are just rag-tag organisations consisting of a collection of individuals that have nothing in common by way of ideology, beliefs and development plan for this country but are bound together by their collective pursuit of power for personal gains.
If ideology took precedent, losers would stick around and support the system to achieve the predetermined goals of their parties. But this is Malawi where higher values are in short supply and our politicians do not learn.
Imagine four months before a general election, parties are still fumbling for manifestos yet their leaders are on the road everyday some emphasising historical mundane issues instead of talking about things that matter to Malawians.
Take MCP, for example. I hear until today, they use the pre-multiparty democracy slogan that still talks of founding president the late Hastings Kamuzu as life president of this country.
I also hear and read that the party presumptive presidential candidate, Lazarus Chakwera, never gets tired of telling his audience how great Kamuzu was to this country without acknowledging that this man’s legacy has two sides and that any fair romanticism with him must fairly acknowledge that.
While Kamuzu is a hero who had standards for this country to some people, to others he was a menace and sat at the head of a government that systematically oppressed Malawians, sending so many of them to their early graves and scores into exile merely for disagreeing with him.
Besides, children born after 1994 and do not know a thing about Kamuzu and do not want to know about him, will vote for the first time. Their worry is the future not the romanticism about some dictator who oppressed their parents and grandparents with reckless abandon. Anybody who wants this huge chunk of votes cannot afford to waste their time with praises of some old leader, dead and buried in a mausoleum in Lilongwe.
I thought this is basic information to MCP but apparently it is not. But in all fairness, it is not only MCP that is throwing useless banter and chaff into the public discourse that do nothing to show what plans they have for this nation.
Maybe they have nothing and yet they want Malawians to give them power. It is sad for our democracy.