Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeOpinionZ Allan Ntata’s Uncommon Sense: THE RULING PARTY MISCONCEPTION


Mpinganjira, Phoya, Rev Gunya and Lipenga will not add value to DPP – Analysts

Shocking as this may sound to many people, the Constitution of Malawi does not as a matter of fact recognize the concept of a “ruling party” in its framing of the governance framework of the country.

Even a cursory reading of the constitution reveals very quickly that as far as the presidential election goes, the political party’s role in the political governance of the country is to sponsor a presidential candidate with the aim and hope that that candidate will implement its development agenda and policies, and to mobilise voters for that candidate.

Like many other political governance mistakes that are crippling and sabotaging the socio-economic development of this country, the “ruling party” idea is a relic of the one-party system of government that existed before the advent of the multiparty system in 1994.

For Malawi, the main reason for the country’s governance failures is the fact that the transition to multi-party democracy in 1994 was a “transition without transformation”. Many of the ills that afflicted Malawi’s political and economic development during the one-party system of government have persisted. Some have if fact been made steadily worse in the so-called new democratic dispensation.

Women Dancing for Kamuzu
Mbumba of malawi women dance for kamuzu Banda

During the Kamuzu Banda dictatorship, the party was all powerful and the line of demarcation between party politics and executive leadership of the country virtually did not exist. MCP was truly, for all purposes the “ruling party”. It was not all bad however, because the Kamuzu Banda regime, along with the MCP’s strong arm “ruling party” tactics ensured that basic public services were delivered. Politics under Kamuzu Banda was of the patron-client variety, and except for one or two chief cronies, even powerful MCP members were restrained from using the party to advance corruption and patronage. In the current dispensation, the failure of our governance system to truly banish the “ruling party” mentality, which shouldn’t really exist in the first place because the democratic constitution intended to remove it, means that clientelism is overlaid with the effects of vigorous multi-party competition, regular elections and fluctuating civil rights.

It means that whenever a political party sponsors a presidential candidate into government, party members feel entitled to the “spoils” of the electoral contest. These spoils are the public coffers and anything in government that can be acquired for self-enrichment. Ever since the Bakili Muluzi administration in 1994, political parties have used the “ruling party” mentality to create a governance system where once a party wins an election, a corruption “free for all party members” descends, with the so-called ruling party using state resources with impunity to promote their party and their political and personal fortunes. Whatever remained of Kamuzu Banda’s merit-based civil service has been undermined by political patronage and weak rule enforcement. Presidential power has been used systematically to buy political loyalty, substantially reducing the effectiveness of constitutional checks and balances.

There is therefore no reason why we should be scratching our heads and wondering how the president’s State of the Nation address last week could be marred by scenes of unruly and uncouth party cadets dressed in paint, inflicting violence on members of parliament and making noise while the president was speaking. There is even less reason for wondering why after these disgraceful and unpalatable scenes, both the president and his party would simply look the other way and fail to condemn the acts let alone discipline the offending delinquents. These so-called party cadets feel a sense of entitlement to intimidate the police, chiefs, parastatal executives and even parliament officials because they believe that being cadets of the “ruling party”, they are untouchable.

It is the “ruling party” mentality that has created thugs of our youth to the point of becoming hooligans that burn cars of members of parliament that apparently speak against what they support.

Poorest Country Malawi
Malawi Poorest Country in the world -Malawi (GDP per capita of $226.50)

Meanwhile, Malawi remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The country’s development policies remain largely donor driven because the leaders are just way too busy enriching themselves to care. They simply leave the policy decision-making responsibilities to the donors. Very few members of any so called “ruling party” have ever understood the need for economic transformation, let alone the path that can take the country in that direction, and most political leaders are simply more concerned with their own careers than with national development.

The fallacy of the “ruling party” concept is the culprit for the many evils devastating the country at the governance level. Not too long ago, a reporter asked an MCP spokesperson why they just couldn’t hold a convention to sort out the issues in the party. His answer was, “Conventions cost money, and we’re not in government.”

Thus, although the concept of the ruling party is unknown in the constitution, politicians and even the country at large has come to accept that it is in becoming a “ruling party” that a party’s financial fortunes can substantially be improved. As a nation, we have somehow come to accept this misconception and accept the notion that people should suddenly and inexplicably become rich once they become the “ruling party”.

I have written on numerous occasions about the evils of the political party framework to our political governance framework and I have even called on Malawians to carefully consider whether it is not now time to think seriously about having a president that is not promoted and supported into the presidency by a political party.

I maintain that besides protests marches and demonstrations that decry the state of governance of any given administration, the long-term solution for good governance in the country remains a constitutional reform one. Such a reform would ensure that the “ruling party” misconception is fully addressed and no political party actually privately benefits from the fact that their sponsored presidential candidate gets to form the government administration.

Allan Ntata
Z Allan Ntata

As I have always said, the solutions for Malawi’s problems are quite simple. They just require a few good men who are willing to serve the country and not themselves.

Z. Allan Ntata
Z. Allan Ntatahttp://doctorzax.blogspot.com/
Z Allan Ntata is a Barrister of Middle Temple, Anti-Corruption & Governance specialist and author of Trappings of Power: Political Leadership in Africa. Currently an Independent consultant in Governance and Anti-corruption, Ntata has a diverse background from lecturing in law to acting as legal counsel to the president of Malawi.


  1. This an excellent piece, Allan. It should be read much widely and accrosss political parties

Comments are closed.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

James Hastings Chidule on Malawi’ fistula recovery at 86%
WELLINGTON WITMAN MOSELIJAH LUNDUKA on The history of Ngoni Maseko in Malawi
Lisa Frank on Home
azw3 on Home
Define Regtech on Home
Tobias Kunkumbira on Malawi to roll out Typhoid vaccine
arena plus nba standings 2022 to 2023 ph on Home
David on Home
마산출장 on Home
Cristina Thomas on Home
Alicia Alvarado on Home
The History of online Casinos – Agora Poker – hao029 on The History of online Casinos
Five factors that will determine #NigeriaDecides2023 - NEWSCABAL on Leadership Is Difficult Because Governance Is Very Stubborn, By Owei Lakemfa
Asal Usul Texas Holdem Poker – Agora Poker – hao029 on The Origins of Texas Holdem Poker
Malawi has asked Mike Tyson to be its cannabis ambassador - Techio on Malawi lawmaker Chomanika against Mike Tyson’s appointment as Cannabis Brand Ambassador over sex offence
Finley Mbella on Brand Chakwera leaks Part 1
Maria Eduarda Bernardo on The 2021 Guide to Trading Forex Online
Atsogo Kemso, Political Foot Soldier on Why MCP and UTM Alliance Will Fail
Em. Prof. Willem Van Cotthem - Ghent University, Belgium on Malawi army, National bank cover Chilumba barrack with trees
Christopher Murdock on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Samantha The Hammer on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Muhindo Isevahani on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
JCON/SCOAN/BKN(888/8885/8808) on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
Keen Observer on Jesse Kabwila, Then and Now
Francesco Sinibaldi on Advertising in 2020 and beyond
VICTORIA NAMENE FILLIPUS on Is TB Joshua not another religious fraudster?
Andrew Jisaba on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Roseline Ariaga on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Edmore Tembo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Arvind Mohan Dass. T on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Francis zvomuya on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Julius Bolokwe on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Esther lotha on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Okechukwu Cletus Igwe on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Justin sahando on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Samson orubor john on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Lizzie Tendayi on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
AKAMAH ANDREWS on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Judith Wingo on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Hlohonolofatso on TB Joshua Finally Exposed?
Jantie Lupaji Lupaji on