Political analysts in the country say Malawi needs more political parties as this is what Malawians wanted when they voted for multiparty democracy.
This is coming at a time when Malawi which has over 50 parties has had a new party, Alliance for Change spearheaded by controversial land rights activist Vincent Wandale.
Speaking to Malawi24, political scientist Wonderful Mkhutche from the Chancellor College said the country is in need of more parties as that’s what it means to have multiparty system of government.
“Systematically, we need more parties as in June 1993 we voted for multiparty democracy, this is what is happening and the good news is that our political party system has remained as we wanted it to be,” said Mkhutche.
He added that the challenge is coming with quality of ideas from the parties as they do not have distinct ideologies and they merely copy from each other on what they want to implement if they get into power and their manifestos explain a lot on that but in the end we have quantity not quality.
Mkhutche further said that the country’s political party system was a three horse race as between 1994 and 1999 Malawi Congress Party (MCP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and AFORD had the potential to be in power but in 2002 the system fragmented into what it is now.
According to Mkhutche, this happened in opposition to President Bakili Muluzi’s third term ambitions and that is the real Genesis of the many political parties.
He also said that having many political parties as compared to the United States of America depends on history of the two countries and political culture both of which have a great influence on the number of political parties a country has.
“American political party system is based on ideologies whilst Malawi’s goes with the want to assume power and politicians are not the ones to blame but the system they happen to be in,” he said.
He further said that old parties have lost people’s trust due to tendencies like dictatorship and failure to adapt to the ways of liberal democracy.
Concurring with Mkhutche, political analysts Humphrey Mvula said there is no problem in having many political parties since the constitution does not provide restrictions on the number of political parties.
Mvula told this reporter that the challenge is that Malawi’s political parties are not demand-driven and are not based on pursuance of a specific ideology.
He added that in other countries, parties pursue ideological opportunity either as Republicans or Democrats or socialist or any other such ideology.