Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What do our parliamentarians believe in?

Something ridiculously disappointing about the conduct of our parliamentarians. It just seems they don't have any ideological campus at all.

When Dr Bingu wa Mutharika ditched the United Democratic Front, the party that sponsored him to the presidency in 2004, with him marched a number of parliamentarians into the then new party, DPP.

With Vice president Joyce Banda’s fall out with the DPP, we are again witnessing change of political cloth by some DPP MPs who are now donning People’s Party’s, Banda’s own child. Anita Kalinde, MP from Thyolo, and Jennifer Chilunga from Zomba are examples. And according to Nyasatimes which monitored Capital Radio’s news talk programme in which Kalinde was interviewed, the Thyolo MP hinted that more MPs from the DPP would soon defect to the PP (

This simply summarises what invites me to think about what it is actually that our parliamentarians represent and believe in.

Joyce Banda broke up with the DPP for one reason: unlike many other DPP gurus, she refused to endorse Professor Peter Mutharika as the party’s presidential candidate for 2014. Following her expulsion from the party, the vice president started pointing out the ills and failures of the DPP led government in the areas of human rights, political governance and economic mismanagement, among others.

Well, that Malawi is currently undergoing one of the most painful economic periods and other forms of pain is there for all to see. Some of the problems started emerging right before VP Joyce Banda fell out with the DPP. However, I do not remember to have heard the vice president criticizing the DPP led government then, which, I believe, adequately suggests that her criticism of the DPP government today is only rooted in her disapproval of the undemocratic manner in which Professor Peter Mutharika is being prepared for the state presidency, a decision that sponsored her exit from the DPP.

With the exception of a few courageous MPs like former Minister of Justice Henry Phoya, other DPP legislators are part of the cause of some of the pain haunting Malawi today: They have been in parliament, cheering the passing of some laws loathed by many Malawians. They have been there refusing to speak against laws that are not intended to serve the majority of Malawians. Now if MP Kalinde’s claim that more DPP legislators are on their way to the PP comes to pass, we have a more serious political challenge ahead of us and it is unlikely that some of the avoidable governance and economic predicament we are in today will be over any time soon.

The DPP MPs sympathizing with PP now, or are yet to, abhor their party not because it has failed to satisfy our expectations of a government in terms of the economy and on other fronts, but because their beloved, Vice president Joyce Banda, will not ascend to the presidency via the DPP route. The message that such MPs are putting across is simple: everything is fine in the DPP led government except that it was offended and felt insulted by Joyce Banda’s decision to say no to Professor Peter Mutharika as DPP’s presidential candidate.

I am convinced that the DPP MPs joining PP will not be doing so for the love of our country but for other reasons, with selfishness on top of the list. So far, the MPs have not demonstrated to the nation that, should PP which they intend to join form the next government and should the party’s led government embark on the development and passing of unpopular laws, they will stand to oppose that.

It seems easy, therefore, to believe that representing the aspirations of Malawians is not our parliamentarians’ objective as they embark on their political careers. They have had numerous opportunities to do so but have not seized them. The MPs’ goal is not to see the lives of Malawians improve. They are only intoxicated with lust for power, fame and financial gains which they are assured of, only if they support their beloved political bosses, regardless of the type of service that Malawians get from their government. The MPs’ sympathy for PP, therefore, is only motivated by their desire to position themselves strategically so that they can secure themselves comfortable and warm places in the PP led government, in the event that the party triumphs in the 2014 polls.

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