mwenefumbo and Atupele

By Richard Kayenda

What would be described as strange and unprecedented has turned out to be normal and common.

Unlike in the past electoral seasons where the same usual faces were the ‘expected’ as the political victors, in 2019 the electoral reality has proven otherwise.

Most of the faces that Malawi used to see as the first choice on the political pitch will go into hiding in the few years to come.

For the next five years or so, Malawians will miss the political scenes of the likes of Atupele Muluzi, Frank Tumpale Mwenefumbo, Grace Obama Chiumia, Henry Mtengo waminga Mussa, Dr Jessie Kabwira Kapasula, Harry Mkandawire, Lucius Banda, Patricia Kaliati and Moses  Kunkuyu who has not made it for the second time in a row.

Atupele Muluzi, who has served his constituency for fifteen years in a row as a parliamentarian can boast of leading his UDF Party as a president, but also as a cabinet minister who has served in various portfolios, but he is entering the parliament again.

In his 2019 UDF presidential bid, Muluzi joined hands with Frank Mwenefumbo as his running mate, but both of them have not seen the light of the day in their respective constituencies.

Worse still, the party has not performed even better as compared to 2014 polls. Unlike then when the party managed to send fourteen Members to parliament, this time round, it has only sent eleven members.

Frank Mwenefumbo shocked many a Malawian when he accepted the running mate offer from UDF, since  the past two years, he was fighting battles for the presidency of the virtually defunct AFORD Party. However, Mwenefumbo put up a gallant fight as a UDF second bencher during the presidential running mates debates.

Grace Chiumia and Henry Mussa, the DPP loyalists, have also failed to maintain their seats in Nkhata Bay and Chiradzulu districts respectively, in spite of their noble services as Cabinet ministers.

Known also as an  iron lady in the public domain because of her boldness, Dr Jessie Kabwira has also been shown the exit door after serving her constituents in Salima for only one term.

Kabwira who entered the parliament on MCP ticket has exited as a UTM loyalist after fighting incessant intraparty battles  in the mother of all political parties.

Despite her loss, Kabwira is well known as a charismatic and courageous woman who fights hard for the rights of children and fellow women as a feminist.

Another big woman parliamentarian who has also missed the post is Patricia Kaliati. Popularly known as Akweni, Kaliati who has been in the parliament for thirty years since 1999, has a vast experience as a Cabinet minister. She entered parliament on UDF ticket and she existed as a UTM loyalist.

Lucius Banda who can best be described as a seasoned parliamentarian will also be missed in the Assembly. Banda  has been well known for his people-centred principles and loyalty to UDF.

It is why in 2017 he announced his plans to vie for the presidency of the party when Atupele Muluzi seemed to dump the party for a ministerial position in the DPP led government.

However, Banda changed his plans when Muluzi woke up and start to walk with the party as the legitimate leader. In 2018 Banda left UDF for UTM.

Harry Mkandawire and Moses Kunkuyu who are  MCP top gurus have not been successful in parliamentary bids despite their political popularity.

The two who once served as Cabinet ministers have not been permitted by their constituents in Mzimba North West and Blantyre City South respectively.

But what could be the recipe for this unprecedented political disaster? George Allan Phiri, a political commentator at University of Livingstonia thinks that the voters have different reasons for putting leaders in power.

“Some people are convinced by handouts that they receive from the politicians whilst others are completely void of principles when it comes to choosing leaders,” he argued.

“Other voters do not know the issues of good governance and sound leadership as such they vote will nilly; so long as they have put someone in a leadership position,” he further asserted.

Concurring with George Phiri is a Mzuzu based social commentator, Emily Mkamanga who thinks the electorate is just disappointed with the political leaders.

“Most of the parliamentarians easily lose touch with their constituents as a result, they do not know the problems of the people. No wonder  people do not want to repeat leaders who are not performing,” she said.

Mkamanga then advised those parliamentarians who have been voted into power for the first time to remember the needs of their constituencies and the people.

Indeed, 2019 elections have brought in the house new faces who do not have names in the game politics, but voter have opted for the very nameless for the betterment of their communities.

As a matter of fact, Malawi does not inspire any hope in as far as socioeconomic development is concerned.

The poor continue to remain the same whilst the few rich ones continue to amass wealth as public service delivery  shrinks by the day.

Lately, the World Bank rated Malawi as the poorest country in the world.

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