Own goal May

If our country has a leadership crisis, I wrote following Institute for Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) study into political trends ahead of the 2019 elections, it’s unlikely to end this May.

Especially if that crisis is epitomised by the sloppy leadership of the current DPP administration which I reckon as I did then, we’re likely to reward it with a new term.

This was not my wish as much as it is not today, but it was my prediction. And it was an easy call to make because our politicians have become predictable in their obsession with self-preservation, even at expense of national good.

And even back then we could predict they would aid DPP’s designs.

So even when it was clear from the study that mighty DPP was wounded and could be finished off by a united opposition force, our experiences forewarned us that it was wishful thinking—to imagine that Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima would sacrifice personal ambition to work out an alliance to topple their mutual enemy.

So here we are, just some four months away from the elections and the prospect of electing back into office a leader and government which has appeared out of sorts for some time.

And that last point about misrule of the incumbent is backed by the study which found that a combined vote of those seeking a new president were above 65 percent.

If Mutharika is to win the elections, he’ll only do so because the 65 percent can’t agree on who should replace him and the four major candidates vying for his office, can’t sacrifice personal ambition to build a formidable coalition.

The study said Lazarus Chakwera is likely to get as much vote as Mutharika, while Vice President Saulos Chilima getting 16. Atupele Muluzi and Joyce Banda would get less than 7 percent each.

But it’s not the IPOR study, and its obvious lessons, that have been rejected by the opposition. Its reality on the ground and common sense. By keeping UDF in its armpits, DPP has proven a smarter entity.

An alliance between Chakwera and Chilima would’ve spelt doom DPP but if scientific evidence is rejected, it’s time to remember Karl Max’s remarkable words: “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

No after rejecting the call for an alliance so strongly as if a sales pitch for viruses, the opposition have embarked on open hostility. If rejecting an alliance wasn’t just an act of hubris and motivated by self-preservation by two leaders who speaks of servant leadership, the open hostilities demonstrate a flawed strategy too. Whether MCP and UTM likes or not, DPP remains the mortal enemy and in regards to the elections the party to beat.

But while squandering the chance of winning the elections, the opposition whose true character is long masked by our preoccupation with the ruling party, are revealing who they are.

The first part of losing the plot is to lose the head. Blinded by desperation for power, MCP and UTM have forgotten that acidic words alone matter in winning an election, strategy too take people into power.

When Jane Ansah pronounces the winner of May elections and two men who have invested all they got into this business—a Vice President who revolted against his old out of sorts boss and Leader of Opposition having a last go at the presidency, many would look back at the hubris and selfishness of today, if the two falls.

And it will be a shame because the last four years of DPP rule have brought nothing but stagnation for the economy and misery for the citizenry. And if that nightmare prospect becomes a reality, the two principle leaders of opposition, not the poor voters, would be to blame.

And a DPP victory, will partly be owed to DPP’s cunningness. The party was foresightedness enough to kill the election reform bill which could’ve ended the current First-Past-the-Post regime to 50 +1 where winner would only be determined victorious after acquiring half the votes.

But even with the current system, with aid of available data, we know that a united opposition force could’ve sent DPP packing, but instead, the opposition has become a house divided. And deliberately started scoring own goals.

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