After four years out of politics followed by months of speculation, former Cabinet minister Muhammad Sidik Mia was eventually welcomed into the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) by the party president Lazarus Chakwera at a rally held in Ngabu, Chikwawa last weekend. Our news analyst LUCKY MKANDAWIRE caught up with Mia to ask him about his political comeback and why he has joined MCP. Excerpts:
You retired from active politics, what has made you bounce back?
There has been an outcry from people after seeing what I have been doing in the past years and during my tenure as a member of Parliament for Chikwawa Mkombezi Constituency as well as during the time I served government in different portfolios as a Cabinet minister. People saw the achievements that I have made over time and they saw that there was an important aspect that I am able to perform for them as a politician. So pressure has been mounting for me to bounce back into politics and serve Malawians. I believe in charity and serving the people, so I made a decision to bounce back.
Of all the political parties in Malawi, what made you join MCP?
I had to choose a political party that is in line with my principles. I have chosen Malawi Congress Party after looking at its previous achievements, there is no doubt we all know what this country achieved under the leadership of the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Almost all the infrastructure being enjoyed today was built during Kamuzu Banda’s era.
Looking at the performance of many political parties you will see democratically Malawi Congress Party is the only political party which has moved with points of democracy. For instance, Kamuzu Banda gave up power to the forces of democracy, he accepted to relinquish his power and let democratically elected president, for the first time, take over power. That is what democracy is all about, he could have done anything at that time.
There are fears among some MCP members that you will bring parallel structures in the party because you already have your own following, what do you say?
At the time of joining MCP, I had no political party affiliation as such I have no people to establish parallel structures. You will eventually see that I am able to work with people who are office-bearers in the party, I have nobody in mind I want to put forward. People will join and whoever want to join with me will be joining as mere members of MCP just as I did. But at the right time, where there are facilities to be elected as members of MCP at any level people are free to contest that is what democracy is all about. I have joined as a mere member and whatever I will be able to do and if I am capable of doing better in any particular area it will depend on the people to entrust me with any position that I am going to vie for. But as at now I am a mere member of the MCP. I will respect the structures that are there.
You once said you want to be the vice-president of this country, what do you think of Richard Msowoya who is MCP’s vice-president?
He is the vice-president of MCP and he remains so, I will respect him as vice-president and mind you he is also the Speaker of National Assembly, and he needs respect too.
You are saying you have joined the MCP as a mere member, how do you defend your earlier remarks that you want to be the country’s vice-president?
Everybody has aspirations when doing things even when you are a businessperson, you would want to be a billionaire, but that does not mean you will become a billionaire. Everybody who gets married would want to have children, but things happen [and you migh end up not having children] so in short everybody has aspirations and targets and I have targets too.
I have the capabilities and nobody can stop me but it depends on how well the future will go but at the moment I am a mere party member of MCP and I remain so, only time will tell. Whether I go up in ranks of the MCP hierarchy, that depends much on my capabilities and if others are much better than me they will be there if I am better than them I will be there too, so I leave it there, I have aspirations and I must not deny that.
Should MCP president Lazarus Chakwera not make you his running mate in 2019 will you not dump the party?
I will help Dr. Lazarus Chakwera in any manner, I will do my best to make sure he is the president of the Republic of Malawi come 2019 because I believe he is the one who can transform this nation and bring what people of Malawi would like to see. I have the trust that Dr. Chakwera is the right leader.
There are allegations from some quarters that you have bought MCP with hundreds of millions of kwacha, what is your reaction?
That is mere propaganda. You have seen those opposed to me creating allegations after allegations. This time there will be a lot of allegations. But I am not a simple person in politics that you should know. There is nobody who will ever succeed without criticism. I believe that there is no tree that forces people to throw stones at it when there are no fruits in it. So they see a lot of fruits in me, people see a lot of potential in me, which is why they will continue coming up with a lot of allegations. They will try their best to frustrate me but what I can tell you is that I never get frustrated with anything. I have been a politician and I have gone through a number of things. I have gone through survival of the fittest but what I stand for is honesty, trustworthy, loyalty, these are my principles and that is what will build me to be wherever it can take me to be.