The past months have been quite eventful, political-wise. From the rising commodity prices to quietly assenting to controversial bills, there has never been a dull moment.
The only dull moment has come from the opposition who seem not to care and question much about what is happening in the country.
For a healthy democracy, a healthy opposition is as important as a strong government. It helps keep those in power under control. It also prevents them from developing arrogant and autocratic deviations from the path of progress and democracy by questioning such steps, assessing their policies objectively, and also giving important inputs. The opposition acts as a watchdog of the system ensuring that the interests of the ruling party are not detrimental to those of the public.
Presently, Malawi is suffering from the most out of sync and unprepared opposition. Take Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for instance, they were in power slightly over 12 months ago, but its structures are in disarray.
DPP in its present form lacks leadership. At this point, the party’s only achievement has been to confuse their grassroots as to who is leading it. Hearing Peter Mutharika talk about the future of the party at the recent Mulhako wa Alhomwe event, as usual, he sounded unconvincing, disinterested, and tired to be entrusted with the demanding work of running a party that hopes to one day bounce back and rule the country.
With so much infighting in the party, its officials have little or no time to offer checks and balances for the Tonse Alliance government.
Then, there is the United Democratic Front (UDF), the party that ruled Malawi for 10 years. It is suffering from “dad’s boy” syndrome. Anything that its president Atupele Muluzi says, is dismissed. The party needs a facelift. UDF cannot and should not still have former president Bakili Muluzi as its face. He needs to take a back seat and let new blood and energy be injected into the party.
Another party, Alliance for Democracy (Aford) is also suffering from this. The two parties’ current leadership reminds people of kingdoms or chieftaincies which are hereditary. A political party should not be a personal to holder property.
The fear that some of us have is that the opposition seem not to understand their role, especially why it is important that their voice is heard not just for the sake of opposing but to hold the government accountable.
It is the duty of the opposition to support the ruling party to act in the interest of the nation while exercising vigil over the government’s performance. Unfortunately, the opposition has been too quiet for anybody’s liking. This is no sign that the government is doing well, it is simply a sign that we have a weak opposition who are incapable of questioning the government.n