We commend the Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) for holding regional elections in preparation for a national convention.
This is good news considering that most political parties in the country (including the PP itself) have not held grass roots elections or conventions in many years, preferring to appoint their leadership instead of giving members the right to choose.
PP has, thus, taken a step in the right direction and as the party in government, what better way to lead by example than this?
This should serve as a lesson to other parties in the countryâ€”especially those that have representation in Parliamentâ€”that it is only when they are able to practise intra-party democracy that Malawians can confidently entrust them with consolidating the countryâ€™s greater democracy.
It is sad that in recent years the political parties have chosen to skip this important step in appointing their leadership, mostly citing lack of resources, yet we see the parties investing resources in other interests. One cannot help but suspect that some party leaders and /or owners want to hold onto their seats for as long as it takes. This is harmful to democracy.
However, much as we have showered praise on PP for their commendable step, we caution the party to be truly democratic in the election process. The environment and manner with which the elections are conducted should be free to allow eligible members to contest for any available position. A situation where certain seats are left for some â€˜sacred cowsâ€™ would defeat the purpose of the exercise.
The elections should not just be a face-saver, but an indication that PP is a truly democratic institution whose power is in the people, as the partyâ€™s name suggests.