A careless remark by the esteemed head of State concerning an errant Member of Parliament of the United Democratic Front (UDF) Lucius Banda has resurrected the party from its death bed.
This week, we have remembered that there ever existed a political party that contributed two presidents to this country, Bingu wa Mutharika still counting as one considering that he was sponsored to the presidency by the UDF before he unceremoniously dumped them to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The ‘misguided’ MP who went against the tide and refused to be aligned to a non-existent alliance between the UDF and DPP grew a spine when he issued a media release describing President Peter Mutharika misguided and ill-advised.
As far as he, and some supporters of the once mighty and crafty UDF, the coalition/alliance or whatever it is that the two parties decide to call this loose relationship, does not exist on paper.
Indeed it does not. What should have been a Parliamentary coalition has not moved beyond a Cabinet post being reserved for the UDF leader. There is very little activity outside of the then party whip Lillian Patel praising and worshipping everything DPP in the House.
The UDF no longer has a voice in the Business Committee of Parliament. How could they when the few MPs who blindly followed the young Muluzi across the aisle are literally DPP and adequately represented in the committee?
Its members are still in the dark about the nature of this alliance cum coalition, among them their own MP who remains on the opposition side of the government.
Lucius Banda has not been punished for his errant behaviour. Leaving him could be a sign of a very tolerant UDF or it could also signal the fact that the MP has a point.
It cannot be that his grievances have not been heard to date. When the coalition was brokered, possibly between the elder Muluzi and Mutharika, the MP had to have been involved at some level.
One would think he was at the heart of it all and the sentiments from his own party this week indicate so. Could it have been his conscience that stopped him from crossing the floor or perhaps the absence of a reward in the form of a Cabinet post or other?
However, as it stands now, the UDF is a party that only exists on paper. Its Parliamentary coalition with the DPP has relegated it to the dustbin of history.
In fact, the reminder that the UDF is still out there should bring another equally contentious matter to mind: Section 65. Calling the relationship a coalition or alliance hoping to escape the Section 65 worked but the matter of fact is the people who voted for the party are no longer represented under the umbrella of UDF. The MPs crossed the floor, quite literally.
In 2014, 717 224 people across this country cast their vote for Atupele Muluzi as a presidential candidate. The people gave the UDF 12 MPs with the hope that they would be represented in the House on the party ideologies which they advanced during the campaign.
But 12 members have managed to betray 712 224 Malawians who ticked Austin Atupele Muluzi on the ballot paper and the party has the audacity to defend such lunacy.
Every one of those Malawians should be questioning the logic behind sitting on the government side of Parliament where the party has no voice; the reasons for killing a party that had such a bright future with a youthful leader in Atupele.
How the rest of the members of the UDF continue to have trust in the party is a mystery. The UDF is dead and what remains really is burial scheduled for May 2019.