As a preamble, prior to the 2014 Tripartite Elections, there were four major political parties, the DPP, MCP, PP and UDF, of-course there were other parties around that spiced up the race and Malawians know them. Political party supporters were principally aligned along these four major parties.
It must be said that the 2014 tripartite elections campaign meetings were mainly issue based, though the Peoples Party learnt this somehow late, as it initially thought bad mouthing opposition members was still relevant with the current electorate, as was witnessed by the behavior of the likes of the Chenji Golo’s of this world! While each group was busy outlining issues contained in their manifesto, naturally each of them were also anxiously looking for weaknesses or gaffes in the other political parties. So, if there was a problem in DPP, then the rest of the three parties would try to make a killing out of it.
One recalls, when one Comrade, argued that APM was not demonstrating a strategy to win the then tripartite elections by going abroad instead of being around to be responding to political dynamics then. Likewise, the Comrade also had no kind remarks for the DPP for taking the PP crooked strategy line, hook and sinker, following the chaos at Goliati rally addressed by the then State President, Dr. Joyce Banda.
As expected the MCP, PP and UDF supporters, agreed with this observation and went overdrive condemning the DPP and its leadership, NOT OUT OF GOOD WILL, but because such an assertion, was perceived to work to their advantage, as it showed a weak leadership in DPP and that the DPP was being portrayed as a violent party.
The DPP under the leadership of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika managed to shake off that assertion and perception, and successfully mounted an enviable campaign that led to its victory. Likewise when the PP hit headlines for presiding over the worst plunder of public resources, that later came to be known as Cashgate, naturally the other three parties, took advantage of such to squeeze any political life out of the then ruling party, the Peoples Party. Unlike the DPP which managed to shake off the negative perception, the PP miserably failed to convince Malawians that it did not mastermind and execute such an unacceptable act, the effects of which are still being felt by Malawians today, as a result, it miserably lost the elections.
Well, one may ask, what’s the point here? The point is that with the exception of a few people changing party colours, not much has changed with regard to the political alignment. It is therefore not surprising that when there is perceived infighting, dissatisfaction, frustration etc in any of these parties, the membership of the competing parties, celebrate such developments, and encourage whoever sounds disgruntled to keep fighting his/her party, this as earlier alluded to, is not out of good will, but the feeling that the competing parties will benefit from such developments. Now, the question to reflect on is, if you keep bashing your party and its leadership and you mainly get applauded from the opposite and competing camps , whose interest are you serving – that of your party or that of your competitors? When one claims to sympathize with a political organization or leadership and yet he/she bashes the same at every opportunity possible, honestly many may not take that claim seriously.
In fact, one needs not proclaim their sympathy or commitment to a party, if indeed they are, as there is an old saying that ‘actions speak louder than words’. In conclusion, this article does not in any way intend to submit that one cannot question or criticize certain decisions and actions by the political organization to which they belong or its leadership, but it does submit that the approach can tell whether the intention is to build or destroy.
Criticism is not bad per se, but unjust criticism only gives the impression that one is being kicked and criticized because it gives the kicker a feeling of importance. By the way, many people get a savage satisfaction out of denouncing those who are better off and more successful than they are. More often than not, unjust criticism reveals the urge to seek the mean-spirited gratification perceived to be gotten from tearing down someone far above us, and that, vulgar people take huge delight in the faults and follies – real or imaginary – of great men. Dale Carnegie, one of the bestselling authors, once argued that any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do, but it takes great character and self control to be understanding.
James Mwangalli, is a regular social and political commentator on social network and online publications