Political events of the past week should have nudged me to have a word with, not only the main opposition party, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), but to all the opposition parties in the country and by extension, to civil society organisations (CSOs).
MCP and the rest of the opposition parties represented in Parliament have shown that they are no different from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and, indeed, that their ultimate interest is to fill their bellies—as long as their interests are catered for, the rest of us can go and hang.
The way MCP has handled the K4 billion scam is a tell-tale sign of the true character of the party’s leadership, which is not any different from the thieving DPP. The opposition has shown that they are ready to throw away morals and principles just to satisfy their personal interests.
It is quite saddening that if not careful, Malawi might slide back to the one-party system. With the United Democratic Front (UDF) technically swallowed up by DPP, the death of an accidental party PP [People’s Party], and a clueless and directionless MCP, the DPP stands a better chance.
To this day, MCP, which claims to be an alternative governing party hasn’t sold its agenda to Malawians— all it has been doing lately is putting out fires within the party that were started because the leadership is incapable of handling disciplinary matters—resulting in some few ungovernable members.
The UDF, on the other hand, has no moral ground to stand on and criticise the hand that feeds it. Atupele Muluzi, who is much a part of the mess created by DPP, cannot with certainty talk ill of DPP because he is too deep in the mess.
An effective opposition is necessary to provide checks and balances in the government—the case of the K4 billion scandal. One would hope that MCP instead of normalising the illegal transaction, would have asked tough questions about the source of the money.
Questions should also have been asked on criteria used to identify, initially, 86 constituencies, as beneficiaries of the funding. MCP should not have been contented when it was announced that they, too, will eventually benefit. They should have insisted on why they were left out in the first place. Selfishness is what drove MCP to go ahead approving the funding, without properly critiquing it.
Without an effective opposition, the government of the day becomes dictatorial and unaccountable and could pass laws which favour a selected few or a particular tribe or group.
It is essential that there is an effective strong opposition for people to be given an alternative to the government of the day. An effective opposition is one that helps in shaping policies, fight corruption—not entertaining it.