For the past five or so weeks, we on the streets have grappled to understand the roots of the Pro-Chilima campaign initiated by the former first lady Callista Mutharika. Our dilemma was worsened by sentiments made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) national director of youth Louis Ngalande, who claimed the widow, is not alone.
As days went, we indeed saw some more faces joining the campaign. Among them was Bon Kalindo. However, we doubted the credibility of his stance considering that he has had a cold blood relationship with the party’s senior officials. The power of ethics.
Other comments such as that of Blantyre East Member of Parliament (MP), Noel Masangwi, who ingeniously avoided endorsement by only arguing the party’s president Peter Mutharika cannot win the next year’s elections, also compromised the growing momentum. A week or so later, the campaign took a new direction after DPP cadets harassed Mulanje West MP Patricia Kaliati and blocked her way into Parliament.
To us on the streets, this was the moment for more voices behind the campaign to make noise, but alas, evidence still shows it is a movement of the few. Don’t you agree?
Those who have theorised organization of campaigns and social movements hold one strong argument that promises no future for the pro-Chilima campaign. Through the resource mobilisation theory, the theorists say people join campaigns when they share the grievances being advocated for.
While many of us think the genuine reason could have been underperformance of the president, those behind the campaign insist the incumbent president is challenged by age. Unfortunately, most party leaders are not young. We on the streets believe Callista and team missed the tactic here. The latter excuse could have worked better.
The raised grievance can hardly be shared by many, especially in the National Governance Council (NGC), the hub that can easily affect leadership positions if majority supports the campaign. This means, if we are to go by theories, we can challenge you that the campaign has no future. It lacks a strong support. If it exists, then it will die silently more so that everyone is now busy strategising for the forth-coming elections.
Furthermore, we on the streets see the campaign dwarfing further from this week onwards. The revelations that some of the proponents are piqued members trying to get favours from the first citizen, is a final nail to the campaign. No one wants to sweat for someone. Someone should be raising questions now if indeed they were fighting their own battles. That is the dangerous part with politics. You dance to someone’s tune and sweat from nothing.
Now, the files on the streets shows Callista, Kalindo and Akweni are disgruntled party members feeling neglected. Chief Ngolongoliwa is on record that Callista feels dumped by her in-law. We saw the cold blood that exists between the two when they held parallel memorial ceremonies of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
On Kaliati, we have chosen to believe Mgeme Kalilani, the presidential spokesperson, not only because he just conveyed the message from the first citizen that she was seeking favours, but because both Callista and Akweni earlier argued that Mutharika is a good man. We can argue and argue and we can also borrow lessons from the recent convention by the DPP’s neigbour. They smartly threw into the bin the noise makers and you cannot guarantee the safety of Pro-Chilima supporters.That’s how dirt politics is.