Experience in Malawi has shown that party politics is more of a blame-game rather than concentrating on the proper running of the party. Problems within the parties are usually blamed on other parties. This does not make much sense and it just prevents the party leaders from finding solutions to the problems before they get worse. Meanwhile, what is happening in the political arena at the moment is unique and goes beyond just blaming others.
Honestly speaking, political squabbles within the parties have mostly to do with failed leadership. Some leaders in parties have a mistaken belief that running a political party is a one-man show and they look at other members as figure-heads. They do not listen to their voice of reason, but they turn them to hero-worshippers, praise-singers and hand-clappers. Such leaders even forget that Malawians had to fight for democracy in 1992 so as to express their opinions in the country. Little do such leaders know that a day would come for some members to get fed up with their domineering and start looking the other side.
Having said the above, President Peter Mutharika, who is the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), never would have thought that some senior party members would openly express their dissatisfaction with his performance and prefer Vice-President Saulos Chilima to take over from him. For the situation to reach the level of full-blown wrangle within the party, it might mean that there has been an undercurrent for resentment for sometime, of which the President has not been aware. If this is the case, his advisers are to blame because they are supposed to put their ears on the ground and advise him accordingly. Blaming other parties for the problems in DPP is a waste of time. The problems are within DPP, and so are the solutions.
Meanwhile, the infighting in DPP has divided the part into two—with some people supporting Chilima as the party torch-bearer while others support Mutharika to lead the party to the 2019 elections. This is a wake-up call to other political leaders that they should not take Malawians for guaranteed. The DPP leadership might have been thinking that Malawi is still in a dictatorship or a one-party State, when alternative voices were almost forbidden. Some of the DPP members might have been expressing their dissenting views about the leadership in private.
The bottom-line to all this is the seemingly failed leadership which has led to the unprecedented levels of suffering by the majority of Malawians. It is likely that some DPP members have conceded that their government has failed Malawians; hence, they are forced to look for alternative leadership in Chilima.
In fact, it has never happened in this country that a ruling party, with a serving President in place, people wanting the Veep to replace the President. This is an indication of how bad the administration has performed.
What President Mutharika and his government should know is that their failure has nothing to do with previous governments. This is because they have been in power for four years, which is long enough to register meaningful progress. Instead, there has been failure in most sectors with no hope for a better future. Malawians are sick and tired to continue being cheated that the government is successful and yet corruption, nepotism, tribalism and regionalism seem to be accepted by the leadership.
Finally, political party leaders should learn from the threat of demise of DPP, that parties must always listen to the voice of reason.