The Chronicle (Lilongwe)

25 January 2006

Malawi: MPs Defection Detrimental to Democracy - Kadzamira

Lilongwe — Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City Central constituency, Boniface Kadzamira has described the tendency of coaxing MPs from other parties into one's party as a "politics of cowards", declaring that it is "detrimental to democracy." Kadzamira said this in an interview commenting on the allegations that ten MPs are to defect from MCP to Bingu wa Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and that thirty nine in total are threatening to follow suit.

While strongly arguing that the Malawi Congress Party is solidly intact and that the allegations lack base, Kadzamira said such kind of politics "is not recommendable for a civilized politician." "If you woo a dozen MPs from one party and a score more from another you confuse millions of people. If the government wants to destroy the opposition, where is democracy then?" he queried.

But DPP publicity secretary, Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, denounced Kadzamira's accusations as being 'naïve' and that he (Kadzamira) doesn't know what he's talking about. "How can one be so naïve? Movement of MPs to another party doesn't kill the other party, it is after all part of democracy. If this is the way he (Kadzamira) thinks then he's not a politician. Where was he when MCP was the only party? That's when there was no democracy," he scoffed.

The Lilongwe City Central legislator further challenged that a genuine MCP Member of Parliament cannot defect to another party because he said MCP is a party that believes in unity. "We, unlike other parties, solve our differences through dialogue or a convention. We don't solve problems through quitting or through the papers. If there are indeed some ten MPs defecting from MCP to DPP, I condemn them and they are not genuine members of MCP," he said.

When contacted for comment, the Kasungu North North West MP, Rodger Sithole, who is on record as having quit the MCP said he could not discuss anything with his party seniors because there was nothing to discuss. "There was nothing to discuss and there was no quarrel. I don't have any grudges against MCP and I just decided to quit and become an independent MP and to also, run my businesses efficiently," he said.

Sithole added that there might be some MPs planning to dump MCP but he said he doesn't know them by name.

But Kadzamira dismissed the alleged stampede as a big joke and stressed that under no circumstances can thirty-nine MPs move to another party at once as claimed in media reports. "Take my word, that kind of thing can never happen in MCP. Ten MPs, maybe - though I very much doubt it. But thirty-nine! It can't happen, and if it does," he challenged, "I'll resign from politics!" Kadzamira further blamed the defection syndrome on big politicians whom he described as "senior defectors". "We've senior defectors who shamelessly move from one party to another, hoping by doing so they would solve their problems. But the problem is not with their parties: they are the problem and they're infecting the new generation in politics with this defection syndrome," he said.

He said DPP should leave MCP, the grieved party alone. "We are a grieved party. We were robbed of victory but we maintain peace and calm. Now they are still provoking us in our grieving camp. Give us a break," he said adding: "Patience has got a limit."

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