Nyasa Times Malawi Chief Justice Munlo retires early, bids farewel

When MCP was drawing closer to holding party convention in August, many calls were made to Hon. John Tembo to consider paving way for new blood. In web news articles, mine was not an exception to such calls. We said that John Tembo should express his love for the party by stepping down if the party is to stand any chance in this year’s election. Though not voluntarily stepping down, statesman John Zenus Ungapake Tembo respected the decision of the convention delegates who said “no” to amending the constitution to make sure that he is prevented from contesting.

The convention was done with Rev. Chakwera emerging victorious. The convention was praised by many political commentators as democratic. However one thing, unobtrusive was erroneous during this convention and its effects shot up lately. According to MCP constitution, all executive positions are elected ones but the delegates with immediate effect vested sole powers in Chakwera to fill the remaining positions through appointments. No one was against such a decision and even commentators never prevised about the consequences of such a decision. Chakwera took time before filling such positions through appointments which made many of us believe that he was consulting, unfortunately after he made the appointments many things did not go well in the party with some appointees pulling out from the list while others calling his leadership autocratic, regionalistic, tribalistic, selfish and non-consultant. To the surprise of many, most people accusing Chakwera were delegates during the convention including some top executive members such as Hon. Joseph Njomvuyalema.

The MCP’s chief executive (secretary general) Dr. Chris Daza and Beston Majoni dumped the party last year saying that it is no longer conducive to be in. One wonders, if Chakwera is so difficult to work with than John Tembo. Chris Daza wrestled with Tembo in that despite being expelled from the party by the party president, Daza embarked on legal battles and came out victorious up until the convention day. I know Daza as fearless politician who does not bow down to any intimidation but his claims about Chakwera left a lot to be desired. Should we say that John Tembo has special political eyes? John Tembo never wanted Daza in the party, calling him as not a true MCP. He also called Gwanda Chakuamba, political vagabond when he sought to reclaim his MCP membership. Tembo also called him political opportunist. The defection of Daza to PP was not any shock to JZU. On the other hand, it is misleading to consider Gwanda Chakuamba as an MCP defector for Gwanda renounced his MCP membership way before 2004 general elections. Gwanda’s defection to PP was/is not any loss to MCP.

Special credit should be given to Hon. John Tembo for keeping the party intact till August 2013. He is a statesman whom Malawians will live to remember. He never wanted to leave the party into the hands of either Gwanda Chakuamba or Chris Daza, if he did; one wonders what would come of MCP. It was made crystal clear that Daza never wanted party leadership in good faith, he would either leave the party in leadership crisis or sell it to PP for his selfish ambitions. Congratulations to Obaba Tembo for blocking political party trotters from leadership.
Having said that, Daza’s defection was not anything for MCP to celebrate about, for in politics, every vote counts and the reality is that MCP lost Daza’s, his wife’s and his children’s votes if at all he has children older enough to vote. During the MCP convention, Daza garnered 90 votes and if those 90 delegates are still devoted to him, then additional 90 votes defected. The 90 delegates may also have influence on others, then, 90 may be multiplied by whatever number they represented. It is also likely that more other people though not all from his constituency will defect to PP all other parties. So, you see that it is not only one vote lost but hundreds.

The same applies to Majoni. Similar to that is when you lose votes by keeping other people in party leadership. For instance, if Tembo though loved by many party sympathisers clung to its leadership, many votes would have been lost. It is common sense that, Tembo is a devoted member of MCP but he overstayed in party leadership and politics. People wanted change which if it didn’t take place; in this year’s election, MCP was going to lose miserably than ever before. His age is also not favourable for active politics if we disregard Bob Mugabe and other autocrats.

Gwanda Chakuamba expressed interest to return to MCP but Tembo rejected him. The rejection was not only on him but also his vote and of those he influences. As politics is the game of numbers though with some discipline and integrity, Tembo should have accepted him, that way, MCP would be guaranteed of some votes from lower shire.

Talking of numbers, I would like to conclude by the issue of retired, disciplined, respected, committed and educated chief justice, Lovemore Munlo. While others are defecting to CPP (Cash-gate People’s Party), I advise Chakwera to consider picking Lovemore Munlo for a running mate soonest possible. Lovemore Munlo is the only MCP’s hope for southern region’s votes. During the convention, Munlo garnered 169, next to Chakwera’s 287. This meant that a good number of people would have loved him to be the party president. This should not be pretermitted; Munlo has a great influence in Malawi. MCP is going to lose more votes if Munlo decides to defect to any other political party.

Great leaders are not cowards. They do not fear their competitors but rather, taking advantage to be close to them and learn more skills. Munlo is a great asset to the party. Chakwera shouldn’t wait for other candidates to start picking theirs. Munlo cannot be any mistake for a running mate but rather a big deal. He will help bonding the party. Losing Munlo to another party will be MCP’s political suicide.

Pick him now and open doors in the southern region together for campaign. By the time other candidates start picking their running-mates; you will have sold each other together and convinced many electorates. Remember MCP was the last organised political party to hold convention, don’t be the last to sell your running-mate, otherwise, you will also be the last ones on electoral outcome. Also consider Hon. Njobvuyalema for a Secretary General or make a reshuffle to make him a campaign director. The man is gifted in convincing electorates. Be careful in your so called cleansing exercise, otherwise you will unknowingly cleanse out the votes. Politics is the game of calculation of numbers my dear Reverend. Also welcome Phoya, Bande and Kandodo as they come, they were just the lost sons and this time they want to return to their father’s house.

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