The primary elections that some political parties have conducted have exposed one thing that is quite disturbing; most political parties which are among the major electoral stakeholders, are not ready for the forthcoming tripartite elections in May this year.
The primary elections have been messy and characterised by violence and sheer disregard for democratic principles. The way most parties have conducted their primary elections does not inspire confidence that these political parties are ready for a much bigger electoral showdown— the tripartite elections which are barely four months away. The primaries are also symptomatic of the sort of politicians and the capacity of the parties to hold it together and conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
They have also revealed that many politicians do not take losing too kindly; hence, they make hasty decisions that could be costly. A disciplined politician whose political morals are not easily shaken would not just dump their party because of losing primaries.
There is so much indiscipline. Then there are others with a sense of entitlement. These are the politicians who have been crying foul over losing the primaries and you can be sure they will also cry foul after losing the May elections. This is quite disturbing.
From the primaries, it is also quite clear we have among us politicians who have no regard for the people’s choice and voice, especially the old guard who think the bread crumbs they have been feeding the people in their constituencies are enough to have them hold the position for a lifetime. They have had a hard time accepting results.
With just a few months before the elections, political parties need to put their houses in order and ensure that they nip violence and intolerance in the bud. The intra-party violence could spill over, a situation any Malawian wouldn’t want to witness. Political parties as electoral stakeholders, need to avoid giving their followers the impression that violence is alright. It is not. It doesn’t matter whether it is a DPP politician fighting a fellow DPP politician.
Political parties may not necessarily help in organising the elections, but they have a bigger role to play in sensitising their followers about the electoral process and ensuring that free, fair and peaceful election is possible.