As the count down to the 2014 elections continues, this month is also a count down for MCP and DPP conventions as they are geared to find formidable torch bearers to represent them in the general elections. I had a chance to meet and chart with non partisan NGOs and donor representative asking them their views on some of the candidates that are vying for presidency in the two parties.
Most of the opinions that came out was,time has come for Malawians to know who these possible candidates are, what is the their real motivation to lead or mislead the country.
They said Malawians have the right to know and start weighing these personalities.
It is a fact Malawi is for every body although some selfish politicians are in the forefront to bring regional and tribal cards forgetting that Malawi belongs to everyone.
And here is what this blogger has come across during her interaction with learned people on possible advantages and disadvantages of some candidates in the coming conventions.
Peter Mutharika (72 years)-DPP
Has tribal backing,believed to be a well trained constitutional lawyer,believed to have inherited huge sums of money from his late brother,has adequate educational exposure and can relate in international forums. He also has shown leadership skills by rebuilding the DPP after it hit an all time low rating in April, 2012. He also was already exposed to the masses before his brothers death. With the current economic problems facing Malawi, some people have now appreciated the better part of the late Bingu Wa Mutharika. Some voters may prefer him because of their love for Bingu.
Almost impossible to distance or disassociate himself from his brothers negative part of legacy and policies. Advanced age- over 70 years.
Some people believe he goofed as a minister of education in his brothers cabinet on academic freedom although the personal view of this blogger is that the there was more politics to the saga than academic freedom. He was simply a victim of circumstances. Uncertainty on the outcome of perjury/treason case.
The issue of his marital status (Single) which other Malawians are not comfortable with. Again, the personal view of this blogger is that this is not something that can count as a hindrance to victory if the people really like him. After all he has already proven that he has support and won overwhelmingly as Member of Parliament in the 2009 elections. It should also be noted that Malawians do not care much about family status of their politicians. Some politicians have several wives and girlfriends known to the voters.
Chimunthu Banda (50)-DPP
Youngish compared to Peter Mutharika.
Experience as Min and leader of the house in parliament during minority DPP
Has adequate education. He is also the current speaker of Malawi Parliament.
Lacks tribal backings,he is depending on same thin tribal backing being shared by Dr Joyce Banda through retired Chief Justice Richard Banda,Ralph Kasambara,Mganda Chiume association. Failed to make a decision on members crossing the floor (section 65).
His party members fear that he can easily sell DPP to PP for veep position if elected leader of DPP.
Lovemore Munlo- MCP
Has high education,international exposure.
Has experience as he served as Minister during Kamuzu Banda regime and Chief Justice during DPP regime.
He comes from DPP stronghold.
Unlikely to pull any significant votes for MCP during general elections just as witnessed with Brown Mpinganjira in 2009.
In adequate recent exposure to party administration,he comes from a region where three major parties are fighting.
Bishop DR Lazarus Chakwera-MCP
Has high education
Comes from central region,may use church followers to add votes,has international exposure and can use pulpit eloquence for political campaign.
No political experience,has never held any party position,has never been an MP or government Minister.Poses a great risk on denominational conflict between his church and other denominations.
Attained high level education,political experience as MP and Minister in Bingu’s govt,has age advantage,he could woo a vote from the north.
He comes from the northern region,may not be well known with the ranks in MCP. He is not currently on the ground as his colleagues are busy campaigning.
Attainment of high education.
Political experience during Kamuzu Banda’s reign.Has long time association with MCP and has blessing from JZU. Comes from central region.
Age may not favour him and is believed to be an introvert.
Political observers projects an interesting outlook for 2014 general elections in-terms of how each party may fair depending how they elect their torch bearer and running mates.
For MCP commentators have it that 2014 is probably the come back year for MCP depending on how MCP handles the convention and selection of presidential candidate and ultimate running mate. And all in all the youth will be the major game changers in the elections as they are likely to vote against tribal lines.
But at the end all what Malawians need is a solution from a president who will not divide them. All they need is food,salt and pepper on their table.
So let the best man win in the two conventions.Let democracy win.