Malawi: Muluzi Killed Udf, Mutharika Is Killing DPP - the Ugly Face of Dynasty Politics

20 September 2020

The greatest political regret of United Democrtaic Front (UDF) founding leader, former president Bakili Muluzi, could be that Atupele - his son - wasn't over 35 years old ( the entry age of contesting for president ) in 2004.

Muluzi was not ready to let UDF in anybody's leadership apart from himself. Perhaps--in his push for Open and Third Term bids--Muluzi wanted to keep the party to himself until his son, Atupele, comes of legal age to lead.

That is why, one would assume, when those two bids failed, Muluzi settled for an outsider, Bingu wa Mutharika, as a temporal UDF keeper. Once Atupele ripens, he will take over; Muluzi might have reasoned that way.

That, arguably, is the ugly face of politics of dynasties. UDF had several great leaders in its fold whom Muluzi, despite knowledge of them, despised because he never imagined the party in the hands of a non-Muluzi.

The decision to leave party in Bingu's hands was grievous; and grievously did Muluzi pay for Bingu, mercilessly, watered down UDF from a ruling party to the opposition benches. UDF never recovered from that!

Interestingly, erstwhile ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appear to be travelling perfectly well in the road UDF took.

Truth be told, Bingu's political worse during his second term sprung from his desire to keep DPP within the Mutharika family tree.

Hell broke loose when he started going public campaigning for his brother, at the same time, vilifying the legitimate ones that could have taken over from him.

Former president Peter Mutharika must be hailed for resuscitating DPP from that accidental fall off from power after Bingu's demise.

But Peter, unlike his brother in 2012, faces a delicate challenge--he doesn't have another Mutharika to take over. This truth, I know, must be eating Peter off because he knows the party isn't going to be within the Mutharika family tree again.

But I doubt if Peter, without the realization, has accepted this fact. I argue so, because,after losing power, Peter is facing succession puzzle --tired and snoring at his retirement home

Peter is old and his health is waning. The right decision he could have taken was leave the party in the hands of some young and gifted DPP leaders in their fold.

But what does Peter do?

He clings to DPP leadership, and even worse, he has started purging potential successors.

Now, here is what awaits DPP.

There will be a slow death of the party. There won't be much from Peter. The party is on destruction path, with factionalism taking root and the centre can not hold.

These are facts for DPP to ignore, especially, their leader, Peter. His quest to keep the party in the dynasty or Lhomwe belt is their hubris.

I wish DPP learn from UDF!

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