Written by: Peter Mmangisa Chonga
For some time now, I have been intrigued by the recent decision by Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera the President of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to bring on board the self-acclaimed political Goliath of the lower shire, Al Haj Sidik Mia. I have been curious to unravel intricacies of this widely celebrated relationship from the first day I came to know about it. Truth be told, this charade has brought numerous questions with few implausible answers.
To begin with, what is Dr. Chakwera’s end game here? I ask this question because I have been led to believe that Dr. Chakwera is a staunch conservative Christian whose religious ideology is in sharp contrast with his new bed fellow who happens to be a devout Muslim.
Dr. Chakwera came into politics with what one may refer to as a clean slate. His major appeal was that he is a hard liner Christian who would apply Christian principals to rescue the country from the fangs of greedy politicians. What then has changed in the good reverend? Has the good reverend metamorphosed into a politician with a positive view on the religion of Islam? Or has he taken a consequentialist approach to life which posits that the end justifies the means? It does not matter what you do or who you do it with, as long as at the end of the day personal happiness is fully maximized. My guess is the latter.
What about Al haj Sidik Mia? What is his end game here? He has just successfully pulled an optical illusion in the just ended by-elections. He has made MCP believe that his political prowess enabled them clinch Nsanje-Lalanje parliamentary seat.
Well, here are some facts, MCP could have won that seat whether with or without Al Haj Sidik Mia. MCP did not win because of its popularity or that it is endeared by the majority of Nsanje-Lalanje constituents, no, not at all.
It won because Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made a tactical error by imposing Mrs. Gladys Ganda, the deceased parliamentarians’ wife on the constituents. DPP should have listened to voice of reason from the common people of Nsanje-Lalanje not to field her. But as you are well aware that listening is not a strong suit of the politically powerful. The end result was a protest vote. DPP suffered humiliation of massive proportion.
One of the things Malawians have learnt to despise over the years is monarchical politics. Malawians even those at grassroots now understand that public offices are unlike crowns, they are not entitled to one particular family. It’s not working with the Muluzi’s in United Democratic Front (UDF), barely worked with the Mapwiyes and late alone the Chihana’s in Alliance for Democracy (AFORD). What became crystal clear was people’s rejection of monarchical politics, period.
Furthermore, Mrs. Ganda is not originally from this constituency. Her connection to the constituency was through her marriage to the deceased Mr. Sam Ganda, may his soul Rest in Peace. The constituents made it vividly clear to DPP from the beginning that they did not desire an outsider to represent them. So even if MCP decided to field a goat instead of Mr. Sitolo, there was a strong probability that they would have voted for the goat over Mrs. Ganda as long as it was a bona fide he or she goat from the alluvial soils of Nsanje-Lalanje. It was that simple.
Lastly, DPP has never won in that constituency, it appears there has always been an invisible hand working against the mighty DPP in Nsanje-Lalanje. It’s a phenomenon no one has demystified yet.
Given such an already decisive environment. How can people in their right political mind be duped into believing that a political pendulum swung to their favor because of one person? Here is why. Because Al Haj Sidik Mia is nothing but a crafty fraudster who has taken advantage of a vulnerability of people with insatiable appetite for political power.
The just ended by-elections cannot by any means be used as a yard stick to measure his political influence in the lower shire. It is an optical illusion, this fellow to say the list is a fraud. I seriously think betting on Sidik Mia over the support from the northern region is a huge mistake. MCP is setting itself up for a rude awakening that will culminate into a series of massive heart attacks of its membership come 2019.