The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its leader President Peter Mutharika have come under heavy fire from disgruntled Malawians who are convinced that Mutharika’s did not win the May 21 elections.
Following this, Malawi has seen a wave of demonstrations aimed at forcing the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah to resign. The civil society organisations (CSOs) led by the Human Rights Defenders (HRDC) have been consistent with their message that Ansah did not preside over free, fair and credible elections.
In the thick of these calls and demonstrations, there have been several attempts by the DPP-led government to suppress the demonstrators’ constitutional right to demonstrate. The party has used a number of tactics aimed at discrediting the protests and the organisers of the protests—from DPP cadets threatening protesters to stop demonstrating by beating them up in full view of the security officers, to below the par and hurriedly done and poor propaganda messages.
However, it seems the party is not yet done with its tactics and is willing to do and go to any length in order to survive in office. The DPP is now relying on the divide and rule strategy. With this strategy, the party and its leaders believe they can exploit coordination problems among the CSOs and break the concentrations of power by making discriminatory offers.
The newly formed but yet to be registered Interfaith Forum for Peace and Dialogue is one of the DPP-led government’s way of trying to weaken the power and concentration of the existing Public Affairs Committee (PAC)—an interfaith organisation which has been doing the exact things that the new group wants to be doing.
The DPP has been pitting chiefs against each other, activists against activists, religious leaders against religious leaders, women against women—all aimed at creating chaos and weakening the voice of those that oppose both Mutharika and his leadership style.
One would think that failed past attempts like these would have taught the DPP and its cohorts some vital lessons. But this is a party that never learns from past experiences and continues to employ same tactics that are only doing the party and its leaders more harm than good. Maybe its time to give up.
This is not the time for some political pranks not especially from the leadership that is expected to be giving Malawians hope as the country burns. This is not the time for flexing political muscles at each other. This divide and rule strategy, has so, far, only borne discontent and anger and given people the reason to march on.