30 DPP MPs form pressure group

A pressure group, Hope Alliance, has emerged in Malawi’s ruling DPP with an agenda to fight for good governance from within to restore support from the electorate in the run-up to the 2014 elections.

The alliance was initiated by four MPs— Peter Nowa (Mulanje Pasani Constituency), Jeffrey Ntelemuka (Blantyre City South East), Wells Gamah (Blantyre West) and Moses Kunkuyu (Blantyre City South)—who in July spoke against the party on its dictatorial tendencies.

The MPs, who claim the alliance now has 30 parliamentarians, argued that the party has lost popularity and it would severely affect its performance in the 2014 general elections.

The MPs have been meeting secretly strategising on their mission. They wanted to make a public announcement about their grouping last week, but the plan was aborted last minute to finalise preparations.

Kunkuyu, who is spokesperson of the alliance, insisted that they were not rebels but MPs who love their party and want to help it regain its lost glory.

“It is a grouping of over 30 MPs who love the party. We want to fight from within the party. We want to bring hope to Malawians by ensuring that the party observes the rule of law, good governance, democracy and that Malawians are able to get basic needs,” said Kunkuyu.

He said the group wants to clean “DPP system” which he said bars ordinary members from reaching the leadership.

“We feel as MPs we have a say on whatever is happening. We feel our leader is poorly advised. We feel some people surrounding the President are blocking the way for those who want to tell him the truth. As MPs, we bring to the President issues from the constituents but there is never feedback. We want to improve the communication channel,” said Kunkuyu, adding the MPs have been meeting on several occasions to discuss the agenda.

He said DPP’s lack of listening skills to dissenting views has led to the suffering of people in constituencies. He cited the shortage of forex, fuel and high maize prices as hitting people hard.

He said if DPP had listened to other views, it would not have passed some bills which it later referred to the Law Commission for review.

Nowa said although those people advising President Bingu wa Mutharika give poor advice, he is also to blame because “from our findings, the President himself is a problem. He does not listen to others”.

“The image of the party is destroyed. At the rate we are going, we DPP MPs cannot comfortably campaign in 2013 unless the house is cleaned and the image improved. That is our mandate. We want to give hope to people out there that things can change. On our part, we in the alliance will not be forced to support things which are not in the public interest. We will do what the people on the ground tell us and we want that spirit to prevail in all the MPs,” said Nowa on Tuesday in an interview.

He said the alliance wants to tell the President the truth which comes from the ordinary members of the party on the ground so that he has a clear picture of the situation in the run-up to the 2014 elections.

He added, “The electorate out there are angry with most MPs. The party promised a lot of things to constituents but such promises are not delivered. The party is killing us because come 2013, the campaign will be difficult if the party does not improve its way of handling things. We sympathise with people in constituencies; they sacrificed their time to campaign for the party but 32 months after that exercise, they have not benefited anything from the party.”

He said the group has not yet informed the party about the alliance because it was finalising the paperwork.

Nowa insisted that the MPs have no intention to join other parties.

The MP said the grouping has also secured funding from some sources for its activities. He also confirmed that the grouping has over 30 MPs.

He said the grouping wanted to announce its position last week but the move was aborted last minute.

In separate interviews on Thursday, Ntelemuka and Gama also confirmed being part of the team forming the alliance.

Said Gama, “I am part and parcel of the formation team. We want to bring hope now because people have lost hope because of the current crises. We want to try to change the country so that we go back to old glory days.”

And Ntelemuka said, “That’s correct,” when asked if he was in the formation team of the alliance.

When we talked to the other MPs the four mentioned as belonging to the alliance, most of them said it was premature to be exposed.

But DPP secretary general Wakuda Kamanga said, “If the MPs have issues, they should raise them from within the party. They can take the leadership to task from within the party. If they see that there is resistance, they can decide whatever way to go. In that way we can develop the party. Let me call Kunkuyu to find out about this alliance and I will call you for further response.”

Asked to comment on the accusations levelled against the party’s leadership, Kamanga said DPP just like all other parties does not enjoy ‘100 percent’ democracy because it is a new phenomenon.

He also said the party and those surrounding the President do not block others from meeting him. He said those who want to meet the President book appointment through his aide-de-camp.

Kamanga said Kunkuyu briefed him about the MPs’ stand. He said he advised them to make a formal presentation of their agenda.

The formation of the alliance comes a few weeks after other DPP MPs met and expressed concern over the conduct of the President’s brother, Peter Mutharika, who they accused of not engaging them and of conducting himself as if he were already an elected president.

Peter Mutharika is the party’s endorsed presidential candidate in 2014 elections.

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