Banda’s Party: Killing opposition in Malawi

Atupele Muluzi, left,greets leader of opposition John Tembo.

Malawi’s new ruling party led by first woman President Joyce Banda has now become the new attraction in town with politicians flocking to it like ducks to water

Many,including some former ministers want to join Banda’s People’s Party (PP), which not too long ago was being described as a briefcase party, a party of disgruntled politicians.

According to PP officials over 80 applications from late Mutharika’s party – DPP have been received. From the United Democratic Front (UDF), a party that became popular for ousting the single party rule of late dictator Kamuzu Banda, 98 members including some legislators have joined PP.

PP claims that even former ministers like Goodall Gondwe, Vuwa Kaunda were among the applicants to join Banda’s party but have been rejected,  a claim both dismissed as propaganda.

Malawi Congress Party President John Tembo seems set to join PP if the appointment of his son, John, as deputy high commissioner to London, is anything to go by. Speculation is rife that Malawi’s longest serving legislator is negotiating for the vacant position of 2nd Vice President.

His uncharacteristic actions in the last few weeks indicate whic way Tembo could be going. Last week Tembo was at the airport to welcome Banda, signalling how far he is willing to go to appease the new administration and today he was spotted at State House just before Banda addressed a press conference.

“I have not discussed with Hon.Tembo the 2nd vice president, it’s the media,” Banda said when asked by curious journalists.

But while the PP may be happy with the overwhelming applications, many ordinary people are worried.

“If everyone defects to Joyce Banda, what kind of opposition are going to have,?” wonders Esemy Phiri, a civil servant in Lilongwe.

“This is a clear sign of how greedy politicians are…how they put self before the majority,” says another observer who insisted to be identified only as Joseph.

Samson Chipeta an entrepreneur, is angry that people that never supported Banda and her party when Mutharika fought her, dismissed her from his cabinet, have all of a sudden realised she is a better leader.

“This is what us as a people should be worry about…why join PP today and not yesterday? Its greed thats all and this tells us the kind of leader we ow have,” Chipeta says.

Mutharika, 78, died after a heart attack last month. His party is now in the hands of his young brother Peter but there are doubts whether the US law professor will manage to stir the ship in the face of daily defections.