I have arrived in Cape Town for a Cancer meeting. I immediately went around to make noise with some old freinds I have in this great city. Of course I posted my draft concept on a Health Network after observing that nobody was readidly available in Town to talk of Journalists and important they can be in delivering public health communication. As my thoughts run through this one, I immediately took my thoughts to one character that seems to be the god father of malawi politics. The Leader of Opposition John Zenus Ungapake Tembo. Despite his small stature there are alot of giants (in terms of height and body mass) who would simply want JZU as this Dedza man is fondly called by his admirers. He seems to have more people wishing him out than in. I leave the storis of his involvement in Malawi dark history moments to romour mongers. Dan Msowoya one time right hand man of Chakufwa Chihana gave me a quote which landed me in hot soup at the peak of Gwanda Chakuamba and JZU's politcal fight for the supremacy in the Malawi Congress Party. Though Chakuamba could command a very few Central Rehion MP's mainly due to tribalism than factual occurence, Tembo exploited the tribal card and forced Chakuamba to all for at least seven party convetions in a space on five years. That is between 1997 to 2001. Chakuamba eventually after Muluzi joined Tembo side and later he went to collect K3million according to those close to him, from the same Muluzi to form RP. The rest is history. Back to Dan Msowoya. Msowoya described Tembo as a "misfit in democracy" and Tembo couldnt take it. He stopped talking to the Nation for sometime before realising he was playing a loosing card. But now take Tembo in a democracy, does he really fit into it. Gwanda's fall in the 1999 Presidential election was engineered by Tembo and for sure the man has never wanted anybody to be closer to the country's founding President Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda except for himself. How can you explain Aleke Banda, Gwanda Chakuamba, Muwalo Ngumayo, Bakili Muluzi and Dickie Matenje all falling in favour with Kamuzu while he remained loyal and safe. How do you account the fact that Chakuamba and Aleke who jointly were Commanders of the MYP suddenly ended in prison while Tembo moved to Reserve Bank of Malawi. The traits of JZU's intolerance was more visible during the pre-democracy era. He denounced multipartyism as war and its proponents as millepedes. JZU could not hear anything contrary. One of the prosecutors at Chihana's trial one day said, while Lovemore Munlo (Chief Justice designate) argued for a High Court prosecution usign foreign lawyers, he had had to report to Tembo who remarked that Chihana must be sent to jail or "mulowetsa chibwana dziko."
Tembo biterly accepted the loss of power and am sure he still has a long memory of how painful it must be to loose power. Construction of the New State House which lasted for 14 years, some romour mongers have suggested that Dr. Banda at an advanced stage could not have thought of such a project but someone who had his sights to the office. I am not sure if anybody except the gentleman was that close enough.
After learning that power can slip much easily if you have many competitors, JZU has today turned into someone who will stop at nothing to get rid of competition. He has woken up to chase Gwanda Chakuamba, later it was his Nephew Hetherwick Ntaba before others followed.
He uses his power in a very undemocratic way. He forced Parliament to elect him Leader of Opposition just to finish off Chakuamba. He sold the party's soul to UDF during the third term.
He failed to identify a strong candidate opting for the weaker Dr. Peter Chiwona as his running mate. John Tembo always puts a shadw candidate in your constituency when he thinks you are a threat.
The question as to who engineered the fall of MCP names from Aleke, Chakuamba, through to Muluzi and Matenje, can easily be answered by comparing the fall of Chakuamba, Ntaba, followd by Kustaira, Kainja and Kalebe.
Now its Chimango after someone wrote that he could fit into the picture.
Luis Chimango's crime is not that some of his staff made a mistake on the power bill, his mistake is to be seen as a potential candidate for the post of President of the Malawi Congress Party.
Unfortunately, Tembo whom Kustaira can confirm that he sends boys to speak his mind is now using Ishamael Chafukira to fight Chimango. Makala Angozo and other Lilongwe MP's have chosen to be quite. Dowa MP's and Mchinji MP's would rather have Chimango than Tembo. Tembo knows this and he wants Chimango out at all cost. My take on Malawi politics is that someone is still far away from accepting that Democracy means gettign power and letting it go. Unfortunately JZU Tembo believes he is the last best thing in MCP!