The next few weeks promises to be exciting in the history of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the convention draws closer and the jostling for a seat at the helm of power of the party begins.
It has been quiet on the DPP front, probably because the Vice-President Saulos Chilima shut down the attacks on the Chilima Movement and removed the target of the vitriol out of the likes of the secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey and the Southern region governor Charles Mchacha.
But if Malawians thought the madness in Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was the closest thing to political drama, they are yet to see DPP in action. The understated tension in the DPP promises to burst and spectacularly.
The date for the convention is finally known, it’s July 1-3, and contestants have begun to show their interest to contest and with such interest has come the strangest faces, some of whom were dead and buried as politicians just four years ago. But that is politics.
In an effort to look as regionally inclusive as possible, allocating positions in the national governing council (NGC) in the manner just further entrenches the notion and belief that Malawi is a country divided politically along regional lines.
The authors of the DPP constitution knew fully well what would happen were the positions to be left to be contested for anyhow. DPP would be a party of southerners, and in particular individuals from the three districts of Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe.
The Central Region gets allocated the lofty position of secretary general, with sons and daughters of the region Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu, political dinosaur Victor Songazaudzu Salijeni and Jeffrey in the running.
According to the DPP constitution, positions of treasurer general, national campaign director, national director of legal affairs and national director of logistics (whatever that means) are reserved for the Northern Region.
The one position of vice-president is also reserved for the North, whose current holder is Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe and a position that until recently Minister of Transport Jappie Mhango and Grace Chiumia, famous for ‘foot in mouth’ have been fighting for.
Looking at the composition, it is an exciting time for the supporters of the DPP originally from the North, although there really is no pride to be given NGC positions because of where you come from.
This, considering the same constitution, says the president of the party has to come from the South as well as not so lofty sounding positions of national directors of elections, social services, operations and of course women.
With the position of president fully secured after Chilima left the ground for President Peter Mutharika to play on by himself, the fight in the South and East is for the position of vice-president in the belief that a runningmate will be secured from these regions.
It is for this reason that the resuscitation of former vice-president (East) Yunus Mussa is apparent, coming to challenge the incumbent Bright Msaka who for a brief period was considered the successor to Chilima, merely to counter the supposed eastern mass movement of MCP.
The DPP constitution makes the leadership of the party cosmetic, it is not real and it cannot be the wish of those in the party right now but any attempt to change it will be definitely be thwarted.
The individuals seeking seats in DPP do not inspire confidence at all, but that is for the delegates to decide. Here is to hoping after the convention, the running of DPP will be done by the NGC and not a few lucky individuals kneeling at the feet of the president at State House. n