Thursday, May 2, 2013

Atupele Muluzi: Immature politically, surviving on selling surname, and youthful age

In the recent past, there has been a new dimension added to politics—inclusiveness. Politics is now as liberal as it has never been imagined before as to include almost anything, thanks to modern philosophies of democracy.

Among others, modern politics’ inclusive nature has, within its core, the empowerment of the youth through their earliest exposure to hardcore politicking. This is partly in response to the fact that progress in the 21st century demands  active and full youth involvement and partly due to the fact that life expectancy has drastically dropped thus leaving the elderly with no option but to involve the youth.

Given the above therefore, it should be little wonder that youthful Barack Obama joined politics in America after catching wind of the youth-and-politics discourse. Locally, we have several young faces in politics—Chris Daza and his I-will-unseat-JZU cries, Kamuzu Chibambo and his renegotiate-Paradin-deal pronouncements, and most prominently, Atupele Muluzi—to whom now the attention turns—and his New Agenda for Change.

The young Muluzi has the tongues of political heavyweights wagging. Arguably, the Peoples Party (PP) seems to be the known aggrieved political party by Atupele’s popularity if media reports are any evidence. 

But, politically speaking, it seems clear to the author (and it indeed is) and perhaps to many more, that the PP and all other parties sharing PP sentiments about Atupele are only making a mountain out of a molehill. That, in pure politics terms, there is literally nothing to fear Atupele for as the lad is politically immature.

Remember, Atupele is the young politician in the regretful days of the late Bingu wa Mutharika who came and started hot on the Malawi political scene like no other. The young Muluzi spoke, breathed, and lived New Agenda for Change. In fact, if there was anyone in Malawi whose blood was national progressive and participative democracy, such one was Atupele.

Then came the ministerial position. What did Malawians hear? It is documented that the young Muluzi went the whole hog announcing to the nation that his New Agenda for Change was not for him to become president but rather to develop Malawi. He left the agenda to die a natural death arguing that fate had taken care of the situation with the ascendancy of the then Vice President Joyce Banda to the presidency.

If Atupele was politically mature enough, he would not dump his agenda that immaturely. He would have known that strategic planning and progressive approach to handling situations is what defines mature politicians.

He would have known that setbacks and pulling of strings are a constant reality, if not the only real things, in politics. Expectedly, he would have therefore excused himself from making the agenda-for-change-not-for-presidency-but-change statements. He would have found a more fitting reason for the suspension of his New Agenda for Change. But he never did. And he missed the opportunity. 

As if that is not enough, Atupele Muluzi is again on record to have resigned from his ministerial post because he could not stomach the insults from the Orange camp. Serious? Horrible as it may be, if ever there is one thing that can be singled out in Malawi politics is insults. And here we saw Atupele Muluzi, a whole cabinet minister, resigning because of insults…what an insult!

Perhaps, and this simply is “perhaps”, he wants to go into the annals of Malawi history as the first sitting cabinet minister to resign because of insults.

It is therefore doubtful if the young Muluzi can effectively run the taxing government business if can fail to move on with a simple senseless insult. You may wish to know that it is elsewhere argued that government is not for the faint-hearted. The author asks you, “Isn’t insults-induced resignation a sign of faint-heartedness?” And now the biggest blow of all, is it not Bakili Muluzi (correction welcome), the young Muluzi’s father, who remarked: “gaffment isi serious bisiness”. 

However, the lad cannot be ignored completely as he has his surname selling him like hot cakes and his youthful age making inroads in the majority youth population. It is upon his selling surname and young age that the author quickens to warn that leaving his politicking unattended to is at owner’s political risk.

Accepted, Atupele is mature enough to be president if by mature it is meant, constitutionally, to be of 35 years of age. But politically, the lad is immature…and thanks to his surname for buying him popularity and his youthful age for making him a darling to the youth. And should he win in 2014, these two would be the magic wands.

Tough Race, Tough Fall: Chimunthu Banda and contest for DPP presidency

Political party conventions—once a luxurious event in Malawi’s nascent democracy—has recently gained number one spot in Malawi politics, thanks to Peoples Party (PP). Today, citeris paribus, we can add to PP such other political parties as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) if their public pronouncements in the recent past are anything to go by.

Such events, as is perhaps normal of a political party events, are not without a fair share of intrigues; the UDF’s Muluzi-Chilumpha molestation of democracy, remember?; the PP’s  Joyce Banda botching of multipartysm, this one should be vivid given its recency, uhh!; and now the forthcoming  DPP’s Mutharika-Chimunthu mad politicking, ooh No, experimentation of democracy on the 17th of April, 2013.

Political and social commentators, academicians, and keen followers of Malawi politics would most likely agree with this author that one thing is clear from political party conventions—power of money.

Perhaps those of the contrary opinion would argue, however opinionated their argument may be, that such is an eternal reality of politics, or most realistically, life in its entirety. 

Accepted, it is however still senseless to assume that dictates of corrupting power of money has insurmountable influence towards peoples’ choices  where such people are empowered educationally, politically, and socio-economically. 

But yet, sadly of course, that seems to be the order of the day in politics elsewhere in the world. And locally, my-vote-is-for-moneyed-candidate mentality has reached crisis levels with those financially-gifted almost always winning not due to articulation of facts but dangling of carrots in the name of coffins and handouts.

It is when you factor in the above that you know, almost with ultimate certainty, that given contestants A and B, A is nine out of ten likely to carry the day because of ‘charitable’ donations to party loyalists and/or delegates.

One does not need to be TB Joshua to prophesy the results in a political party event; all one needs is to analyze the money-thing in candidates. Predictably, that is why the majority saw Bakili Muluzi winning to Cassim Chilumpha. Similarly, it was not news when the sole contender in the PP convention dramatically chickened out of the contest and president Joyce Banda won (got rubberstamped?) as PP’s presidential torchbearer. And the DPP convention is no exception to this arrangement, nor will the MCP.

Cut loose, even a standard one pupil would know that chances are ninety-nine percent in favour of Peter Mutharika in the 17th April DPP convention. 

The ‘because’ of young Mutharika winning is just clear—power of money. For doubting Thomases, probably the recent media reports of some DPP governors giving their support to Peter Mutharika prior to the convention will do. If, and this is only ‘if’, the calm Chimunthu Banda had money and that he too had dangled that-which-has-governors-pledging-allegiance to some notable and influential kingmakers, perhaps then we would have expected an unpredictable outcomes from the DPP convention. But alas, that is not it.

As for the MCP, John Tembo, despite his aging body and political ideologies, would most likely emerge the winner to his contender, be him the media politician Chris Daza or whoever else.  

It is at this point that it becomes clear that Malawian politics, unlike in advanced democracies, politics of names, carrots, and emotionally-charged diatribes is likely to make one a ruler than politics of issues, vision, and measured discourse. Money, in Malawi politics, is the iron fist to hardknocking political opponents, both within and outside political parties.

Regrettably, this political degeneration has found a warm welcome in university corridors where instead of being champions of modern participative and issue-based democracy students have tended to sacrifice their reasoning ingenuity at the altar of masochism and political opportunism.

Consequently, university students have ceased to be the beacon of democratic progress and progressive thinking but puppets of sadists and destroyers of past political gains.
And added to this, the local masses have quietly accepted politics of handouts so much so that the names that ring in their ears are of only those that game them the miserable vote-for-me gift.

Guided by the foregoing and mindful of uncivilized nature of politics, the author hastens to state that in the forthcoming DPP convention, Chimunthu Banda, the contender in the tough race for the party’s highest position against Peter Mutharika, will most certainly fall a tough fall, just like then UDF’s Cassim Chilumpha before him and MCP’s Chris Daza after him. And that the author bets.

You may be asking, “Why would that be so?”  And those in the know would respond, “…because the guys did/do not have money to dangle or a selling name to display”. Chimunthu will lose not that he does not have issues, though it is doubtful he has any,  but  because he has no money.