22 January 2018

Malawi: 'Shithole' Politicians Will Not Add Value to DPP - Analysts

University of Malawi (Unima) political scientists have said that the three former Cabinet ministers regarded a s nomadic politician who on Sunday joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will add no value to the governing party.

The three are Ken Lipenga, Henry Phoya and Brown James Mpinganjira, well known as BJ.

Also joining DPP was former general secretary of the Church if Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod Rev. Daniel Gunya .

Apart from Gunya, the trio of Mpinganjira, Lipenga and Phoya were politicians who have been moving from one party to another. Phoya and Lipenga were also returning to the DPP, the party they ditched when Bingu wa Mutharika died in 2012 while as Head of State. They all were once members of United Democratic Front (UDF).

Mpinganjira, who is also an evangelist, was one of the first members of UDF and served in Bakili Muluzi cabinet before he resigned and formed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which he used its ticket to stand in 2004 presidential elections.

BJ, who came forth during the 2004 presidential election, used to be Muluzi's trusted aide and a senior minister in the UDF government, and was at one time even tipped to take over from Muluzi at the end of the president's two terms.

But relations between the two soured when Muluzi began contemplating constitutional amendments to extend his stay in power.

In 2009 he contested the presidency as running-mate of MCP presidential candidate John Tembo and later joined People's Party (PP) where he was vice president of the party in the south. He dumped the PP after it lost elections in 2014.

Phoya once served as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs during the PP regime under the leadership of immediate past President Joyce Banda before losing in the 2014 elections.

Lipenga served on numerous ministerial positions from the United Democratic Front (UDF) regime, People's Party (PP) and the DPP before he moved to PP after the death of former President the late Bingu Wa Mutharika where his final position was Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development in the two years that PP ruled.

Rev Gunya has also been associated with UDF then NDA and PP. He failed to make it in the Parliamentary race on a UDF ticket in 2009 where he vied for the position of Member of Parliament for Zomba Lisanjala Constituency.

Chancellor College-based political and social analyst Ernest Thindwa, said Malawians should embrace new ideas not recycled politicians.

"They may add value but the value may ot be spectacular in the sense that they are looked as recycled politicians... Perception may suggest that DPP is attracting heavyweights but these are recycled politicians whose value may be limited because they are recycled politicians," Thindwa said.

Another political analyst based at Chancellor College, Mustapha Hussein, said advised DPP to devise practical strategies if it wants to woo more voters during the 2019 elections than using recycled politicians.

"Except Rev Gunda, the other recycled politicians have outlived their political credibility," he said.

Commentators argue that recycled politicians - without a hint of shame - have created a situation where the young generations and those aspiring to join active politics, begin to believe that politics is a privilege of the few like the nomadic politicians or to say the least - 'shithole' politicians who seem to starve once they are left out of the fold of ruling parties.

Speaking at Lunzu Primary Ground in Blantyre at a political where the four were unveiled, President Peter Mutharika said DPP is a party for all Malawians and that those willing to join were free to do so.

Mutharika said as leader of the party he does not and he will never stop people from joining the party as the door is wide open.

"Campaign will start in 8 months' time but we cannot wait until then to welcome people into the party. Our party is ready to welcome everyone who is willing to work with us," he said.

Mpinganjira said joining the DPP party was not by accident but rather out of will.

He said the country has many political parties but their choice of joining DPP was solely due to sound leadership that the party had demonstrated.

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