By Chalo Mvula
Malawi’s political strategists Humphreys Mvula, this week warned the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) of more damage to its reputation if events surrounding its primary elections are not handled properly.
Mvula was speaking to Maravi Post considering the wrangles in its parliamentary primary elections for Dedza East, which saw the Party’s involvement in declaring incumbent Juliana Lunguzi the winner over Patrick Bandawe, who was initially declared the winner by the presiding officers.
Mvula said the decision taken by the Party to declare Juliana Lunguzi as the winner of the primary elections is a good decision, but one which can easily be challenged.
He said Juliana Lunguzi is a good candidate for MCP, as she has been an effective member of parliament, but is also the face of women, and the youth in the Party.
He described Lunguzi as someone who can contribute a lot to the Party and her presence benefits the image of the Party. However, the political strategist had problems with how the outcome has been conceived.
“This has been a good decision, but wrongly conceived. The process can be challenged as all the candidates involved in the primaries were not called to hear their side of the story, grievance procedures were not followed, and the final decision fell short of conflict-resolution mechanisms,” Mvula said.
Additionally, he cautioned the Malawi Congress Party to be careful on how it resolves conflicts, especially those arising from primary elections. He reiterated that sweeping things under the carpet with the hope that “time will be the healer,” will not help the Party.
“If there is any need for re-run, then re-run the primary elections. We have had reports of grievances like from Nancy Tambo of Lilongwe City South West, which up until now has never been resolved,” Mvula said.
He further warned that the Party risks damaging its reputation further if the trend continues in the face of pending primaries election for Salima North West, which is Jessie Kabwila constituency.
“The only better option now is for Jessie Kabwila to win the primaries. One thing MCP must understand is that both Lunguzi and Kabwila are big assets to the Party, they just can’t afford to lose them now. If the Party is to push for the 50-50 women representation, then women need to be protected,” Mvula said.
He urged the Party president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, to break his silence and speak about the issues arising from the primary elections.
He pointed out about problems with Chakwera’s silence on the internal issues. Mvula felt Party President has been silent for so long and that this has not helped matters.
A lot of candidates have had grievances, which have not been addressed and it could be good if the President himself said something on the matter.
He went further to suggest it is dangerous for Chakwera to continue keeping quiet as a leader; he needs to be seen to be caring.
This is especially on issues involving women in the Party, Chakwera had the opportunity to win the trust of women, who provide a good share of votes by appearing to care and protect them.
Mvula said that current President Peter Mutharika, is scoring poorly on women, as was the case with his cabinet reshuffle; he said the MCP should capitalise on that.
Mvula said it was necessary for MCP to get into an alliance with another political party; he argued that an alliance will be better for MCP.
“MCP has made inroads in the South, which has been its weakest area, but currently that is still not enough,” he said.
He urged the Party leadership to consider the alliance issue carefully, as now the MCP cannot do it alone.
“The option is theirs based on what they can agree, but I can see PP easily working with MCP, I can see UDF easily working with MCP,” concluded Mvula.