2014 General Elections Series: 19 Months to go
Well, its 19 months towards the next General Election and President Joyce Banda is a sure candidate for the ruling Peoples Party. The Democratic Progressive Party's candidate, due to lack of strategy and better thinking they are going for sure to field Professor Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) still remains a mystery.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) is still thinking of whether Atupele should run and how he can get out Government at this moment and continue his "Change Agenda."
The simple truth is that the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika changed the political landscape. The political terrain is different and for a change, the young generation have a greater chance to penetrate the political system and make a difference.
This week, I will be looking at each potential political party that could win the 2014 General Elections and what needs to be done in the next 18 months for their chances to increase at the ballot.
Today however we start with the general outlook of the political landscape and why Peoples Party needs most new comers, the DPP needs to find a new candidate and the Malawi Congress Party needs to rebuild itself into modern politics.
The PP strength, lies mainly in the mobilisation skills of JB and her deputy's underground working skills. As I said earlier, alongside Dr. Cassim Chilumpha this was a team that made Dr. Bakili Muluzi run for his money during the 2003 UDF Convention that saw Late Bingu wa Mutharika win the party's nomination for Presidency.
JB's firing alongside her deputy, was of no surprise to many but their ability to survive all the probes, attacks and everything else that the regime plotted against them, should have taught Malawian political leaders that the woman, is not an ordinary woman. She persevered and schemed and survived.
Many run away from JB and a few courageous ones joined her new party. I know of others who asked some of us not to take pictures of them at Ntchisi, her first political rally in Central Region.
The PP founding men and women have something to offer to JB's political campaign for 2014, because they share the vision, the plan and the ideals that founded the grouping. The problem is whether the PP machinery should all be incorporated into Government by offering positions to them all.
The PP did not win an election and thats a fact, JB is not implementing her "Unity, Equity and Development" agenda as she has to balance economic recovery, continue positive elements of the DPP and ensure political and governance stability.
My humble reasoning is she needs her men and women to build the PP into a massive political force. If everyone gets a Government job, by May 2014, PP will be out of Government. That is a guarantee.
What needs to be done is to identify resources for the party and let them work to put up structures and mobilise more people. Welcome everyone with skills and allow democracy to work by allowing genuine and fair elections for all its structures.
Only when PP accommodates as many skilled mobilisers, works on the ground stuctures and develops a clear vision for 2014 and beyond, will it find easy to have its own branded MP's and for sure retain the Presidency at will. Let the party have PP members, not founders and new comers!
For the DPP, its name and especially the name Mutharika, still has some questions among the minds of Malawians. It would be suicide for the party to continue selling the name of Professor as of now, until the political dynamics changes.
As of today, DPP represents the arrogant and mess that Malawians experienced between 2010 and 2012 and nobody can trust that its intentions would be different from the past agenda, especially now where the incumbent seems to have reversed all the challenges within a short possible period.
The DPP leaders that represented the same arrogance are still around and the attempts to have section 65 implemented amid Budget discussions showed the insensitivity of the party leaders to the issues that surround the budget and SECTION 65.
Any political Leader should have used the budget to bring the public to its side by demanding more for the people, not by demanding section 65 as a priority. The DPP leaders showed to be out of touch about their popularity at the moment. It is the least popular party by all accounts.
DPP should have held its convention as a priority, choose new faces, re-brand and look for really remorseful but tactical enough to be the only party that represents Malawian interest, otherwise so far, it has managed to propagate selfish reasons of why it wants to be still a governing party.
The UDF should accept two things quickly, by virtue of her home origin and Atupele joining the PP, the battle lines are drawn but more in favour of the PP now than the party. The UDF team outside Government should not have stopped the Change Agenda rallies, they could have continued to sale the party and explain its reasons of joining the coalition Government.
To many supporters, especially in the Eastern Region, it is the same thing supporting JB as it is supporting Atupele, or in simple language: The difference between Orange and Yellow, is only visible to those that look hard. For supporters of UDF, PP is their party too.
The trick for the party is not to pull Atupele haphazardly, but to find enough reasons to justify his pull out. The tricky part is that this was a Government said to be mainly to instill recovery and not politics. If Atupele pulls out to do politics, he would have let down Malawians who wanted to see how his skills could improve the economic planning of the country.
Atupele too returning to the political front line will require massive investments to prove to Malawians that JB has failed. This is the question that cannot be answered until we start measuring her first budget outcomes in July 2013, which in any sense would be too late for any serious contender.
For the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) it needs immediate decisions if at all it will have an impact in the 2014 General Elections. Its President John Tembo by saying publicly that he has nothing to oppose Joyce Banda, already endorsed the President for 2014.
He cannot run in 2014 as he would not be opposing JB neither can he justify any change of heart. With the majority of young voters voting in 2014, JZU will do a great service to the country's oldest party by identifying his successor before the end of 2012 and campaign for him in their Central Region base.
The MCP, just like UDF should focus 2014 to grow their membership in Parliament, while the DPP to rebuild their image as it is very unlikely that voters can trust Leaders of these parties with the current scenario to inject anything new into the political, economic and social systems of the country.
The Peoples Party however risks winning the Presidency and having still to struggle on Parliamentarians again should the "founders' many of whom lost their seats decide to stick and drive alone without any fresh minds, ideas and ideals.
The other candidates like Gwanda Chakuamba, Kamlepo Kalua, Mark Katsonga Phiri, Davies Katsonga and Kamuzu Chibambo should seriously examine their roles in a democracy and start being practical on whether their parties make any difference or the same as their continued trying to be on the ballot paper.
The most ideal candidates that win, are strategic in their approach, if this group of politicians had joined PP at the start, they could have become anything in Government, showcase their skills and earn national reputation which is required for one to be a President of the country.
For James Nyondo, Loveness Gondwe and Aford, their base is now challenged by JB's picking of Khumbo Kachali. The voters are well aware of how long it has taken them to be where they are today, it will be a joke for them not to deliver the same 99 percent votes they gave to Chakufwa Chihana (1994), Gwanda Chakuamba (1999, 2004) and Bingu wa Mutharika in 2009.
Lets talk 2014 now and start debating what we want then. The next entries on this topic include JB's strength and weakness, DPP's only chance at 2014, Atupele and Change Agenda and the future of the Youth and 2014 General Elections.
After the passing of the budget, the road to 2014 is now real.... lets talk!