by Kondwani Munthali, iDigital analyst
The two parties with the majority of seats in parliament joined hands on 12 December 2022 to affirm the Constitutional court ruling of February 3, 2020, by making the fifty-plus-one vote affirmed in the electoral laws.
They both pretend they are, democratic entities whilst deep down their DNA it has leaders among its executives who believe the party leader has to come from a specific region. Looking at the current numbers, it is useless to bet whether the MCP leader will come from region X or the same DPP.
This is where it becomes complicated. DPP had an informal alliance with the UDF prior to the 2019 elections. Atupele Muluzi, then a party leader enjoyed a cabinet post for much of Peter Mutharika’s reign. Several loyalists from the young Muluzi’s camp enjoyed seats in state-run corporations.
Came 2019, the think tanks in DPP decided to ditch Muluzi for its own Everton Chimulilenji. The powers that be, believed he was the right one to use and ditch after the elections. Read The Investigator Magazine now on sale.
The MCP brains have never written a winning strategy since 1994. Losing election after election until a fresh election was ordered by the Constitutional Court in February 2020. To be honest, without the UTM the MCP could have lost again.
The UTM however made a cardinal political mistake, its candidate could have run in the first poll and force a re-run between MCP and DPP. That could have bought them leverage and claim that they were power brokers. Of course, critics could have accused the UTM leader of being arrogant.
The reality is looking at the power brokers in DPP and MCP, none of them can be trusted. And most of the harbour ambition to succeed their leaders. 50 +1 brings them to the fore. It brings severe headaches.
None of the two parties can win an outright majority. Looking at the options, they do have limited options and they will have to look for an alliance partner that can trust them.
UTM is currently weak but an option for the two parties. But looking at the current Tonse Alliance political battles, UTM cannot trust MCP. In the same way, UTM cannot outrightly trust the DPP, especially those that yield power and control of its leader.
The UDF is the third largest party in parliament. It currently lacks a charismatic leader to change its fortunes. It has also not been outspoken outside parliament. It has a political base, and electing a new leader beyond its base could boost its chances. But the powers that are UDF are unlikely to yield to such reasoning.
The third option is an alliance of all parties minus MCP and DPP, which means UDF, UTM and others like Peoples Party, Peoples Progressive Movement, Petra, Mafunde, Alliance for Democracy, Freedom Party and Umodzi coming together and form a working alliance. They need a very powerful candidate, likely Chilima and Muluzi on a joint ticket and start working now. If they can pass and be number one or two, they can be guaranteed power.
There is too much struggle within MCP and DPP that soon voters could be asking for alternatives.
The outcome of this sitting of parliament has compounded an already complicated political ground, that for any of the major parties to have the power they need to start pretending they care for the smaller parties. Unfortunately, very few trust them.