Dust is refusing to settle on the failed working relationship between opposition People’s Party (PP) and governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with analysts warning the latter to be careful on parties to partner.
Responding to a questionnaire from The Nation on implications of the PP national executive committee (NEC) declaration that the party has no working relationship or coalition with DPP or any other opposition party, one analyst yesterday said some of the political parties are liabilities with no value while another bluntly put it that DPP could be wasting time because PP and United Democratic Front (UDF) have lost influence in the country.
DPP publicity secretary Francis Kasaila, on the other hand, said in an interview his party has never approached PP for any possible coalition.
He said President Peter Mutharika only approached individual PP legislators for support in Parliament.
Besides the announcement about its relations with other parties, the PP NEC also expelled its interim leader Uladi Mussa and removed vice-president for the Eastern Region Ralph Jooma following their public declaration that the party was in a working relationship with DPP.
In an interview yesterday, Associate Professor Happy Kayuni of Chancellor College said DPP should start scouting individual members from other parties if it seeks to strengthen itself ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
He said: “DPP should strive to at least approach individuals from opposition parties in all regions… Those with a following. That way, it can be able to also attract more followers and add its numbers.
“Otherwise, since the departure of Joyce Banda, PP has been going down in terms of its support. The influence it has now might not be of any significance.”
Political commentator Mustafa Hussein shared Kayuni’s views and advised DPP to devise practical strategies if it wants to woo more voters during the 2019 elections.
He said: “It is not always the case that ruling parties have influence over other parties. DPP may not command 100 percent following in the Eastern Region following this failed alliance because a few will still support PP. However, it depends on the party’s strategies. It could be better if it was lobbying for influential members from such parties.”
On his part, University of Livingstonia (Unilia) political scientist George Phiri said it was puzzling that seemingly bigger parties in Malawi were the ones courting smaller parties for a possible coalition.
He said: “Ideally, a party that is small and is not ready to field in a candidate during elections is the one to approach a party that is fielding in a candidate for an alliance.
“Alliances are an alternative to parties after they evaluate their power. However, they need to look for a party that is not a liability but an asset. A party that will add value. Parties go with numbers.”
On the firing of Mussa and Jooma, Kayuni said it was an indication that the party is sailing through turbulent waters. He attributed the situation to lack of leadership.
He advised Banda to come home and show the party direction or resign and handover the leadership officially.
Phiri said the dismissal signifies that there is lack of tolerance in the party adding that a good decision was to discuss the issue internally.
He said the fact that bigger parties as seeking alliances with smaller ones signifies fear on their part.
Banda’s spokesperson, Andekuche Chanthunya, said Mutharika has met some PP leaders where they discussed matters involving a working relationship, but emphasised that it was on individual basis “and not a party to party thing”. n