After a long unsuggesting silence, Karonga central constituency legislator Frank Tumpale Mwenefumbo was, on 4th May in Lilongwe, officially welcomed to the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) family.
Mwenefumbo has waxed lyrical on playing a vital role for Aford to emerge victorious come 2019 general elections.
But an interesting question volunteers itself in curious but wondering Malawians, especially northerners, if Mwenefumbo will ever sail through rough waters of politics under the old-age canoe of Aford; the party which every nonpartisan Malawian knows that time is retiring it into nonexistence.
And the rubble of the party’s glory pointing to its prime time of late Chakufwa Chihana cannot be pointed at by the generation of today’s youth who happen to be the biggest percentage in the pie chart of electorates.
Even if Aford could afford to survive the shift of political power since multiparty democracy, the northern region if not Rumphi party seems to lack enough shelter to comfort, strengthen or, let alone, accommodate any big-vision political fugitive of Mwenefumbo’s height.
One would want to know the interpretation that the Royal family of Aford bases on to canonize a prodigal Mwenefumbo as a saint; the son who stripped himself of Aford faith when the party had all its feathers and dived into greener exile for 13 good years while professing and championing the cause of ruling parties of the respective eras.
He now shows up to his parental party which does not look to take a shiver down the spine of their safety.
It is surprising to note that Mwenefumbo, after testing the sweetness of Aford, United Democratic Front (UDF), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and People’s Party (PP), declares to the attentive public that Aford is the sweetest and politically viable of them all.
Wow! This time, before critics and appraisers take out their pens and notepads, someone must be wise enough to separate hallucinations from Mwenefumbo’s aspirations in his joining Aford just two years to the polling day.
Which bird can criticize the eagle for hallucinating at the sight of the fish down the lake? Or which hungry predator will despise the size of a prey?
Mwenefumbo could have seen what most of us might not have seen; or he might have been hungry enough for party positions.
But still the smell of his political steps can be interpreted or can reveal the real himself hidden in Aford jacket.
Mwenefumbo, after he had won the 2014 Karonga central constituency parliamentary elections on independent ticket, became quiet unpredictable of his direction unlike before 2014 when he was being hoodwinked into any direction as long as he saw some incentives there.
Similarly, this time, most onlookers expected him to rejoin DPP the party which he had wilfully ignited cold relationship with on the eve and in the aftermath of former President Bingu wa Mutharika’s demise. It is against this background that his political insight signalled a disaster ahead of him had he joined DPP of Peter Mutharika.
In the run up to the 2014 polls, Mwenefumbo walked long distance like a silhouette pursuing the shadow of PP with tangible hope to catch up with the favour of Joyce Banda in case PP had come conquerors in May, 2014.
That was another of Mwenefumbo’s nightmares if you exactly know what became of PP later on.
Albeit that the Karonga legislator had still big joy; he was reconnected to mainstream politics and the nation’s administration after he had controversially ousted out the then Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Cornelius Thomson Mwalwanda.
Now Mwenefumbo’s homework assignment was: Where they say two move further and stronger, should he keep the company of himself?
He needed the affiliation of any giant family. But which? Until this month of May, that “which” was what kept Mwenefumbo dumb silent.
Though prior to Mwenefumbo’s decisiveness to join skeletal Aford, the rise of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) under the so called prudent and dynamic leadership of Dr Lazarus Chakwera instilled confidence in the major North with a crude estimation that is arguably putting Chakwera above the support that the former President Dr Joyce Banda had under PP.
MCP in Karonga Central Constituency
As the current leadership of DPP is sinking or wallowing in the plight of corruption and venting its audacity into regionalism, tribalism and other evils, Chakwera continues to sweep corners of northern Malawi with unprecedented vote of confidence.
But how does that link to Mwenefumbo’s voyage to Aford? Well, Mwenefumbo’s biggest nemesis is his political opponent Mwalwanda who is now MCP.
Mwalwanda may be politically weak but the colour of his MCP might be trickier than the strength of Mwenefumbo as an individual.
A big threat—Mwalwanda
Mwenefumbo must have had mysterious thoughts forewarning him to say politics has powerful wings to fly above one’s personal affluence and charisma. Voters at the very last moment before ticking for the vote could develop sympathy for the weak son just because the godfather is MCP; or Mwalwanda can become very popular on the ground that he has stepped his feet in the popular direction.
That could be the eminent scare behind Mwenefumbo’s uncertainty for the moment.
Nevertheless, Mwenefumbo could have been still a huge force to be reckoned with if he had remained independent because his constituency’s engrossed electorates do not take a big blink at party colours particularly when it comes to parliamentary candidates—those who have been to that soil like myself can testify to this. But you do not have to dare bringing a rejected colour in their sight. I am afraid to write here what would get ahead of you. That soil had the worst and best politics Malawi has ever recorded.
By the way, there is a lot trekking to our open ears besides the popularity of MCP in the north; there are seen thick threads joining PP and MCP in the same six districts of the northern part of Nyasaland so that the score from this side should be predetermined. [Giving Chakwera double strongholds]
The possibility of that scenario in the merging of PP and MCP is provoking sleepless nights in the blue camp; calculatedly, the blue party would love PP to be independent and feature some candidate to compete in the 2019 race, with the sole aim of completely hacking MCP in the north and elsewhere. If I can wrongly or rightly suspect that wish from DPP, PP might have known it before.
DPP would still look for an alternative but loved party to destabilise MCP in the north. Therefore the best and left alternative remaining is the very same unravelled Aford.
Unfortunately, Aford is but existing name without heavyweights on the steering wheel, save for the party president Enock Chihana alone. Hence the need to coax big names from the same north to marry the saying that if you want to divide strong family use internal forces, and Mwenefumbo is no doubt an internal force, in this assumption, to snatch away the followers of MCP.
In this puzzle, the blue camp cannot coax Mwenefumbo into joining and representing DPP in Karonga because that would mean placing the seasoned politician in the frontline troop amidst fierce battle. Mwenefumbo may have feared the looming casualties of that fierce battle. It would also be an absolute invention of a double edged suicidal sword of a decision, with Mwenefumbo and DPP coming towards the sword from either directions of it.
But politics has its own camouflaged battles and Mwenefumbo will only reveal his concealed commander-in-chief when he will be soon airing out the contents of his notepad. However we all know that venom is never concealed when it lands the victim’s intestines. Mwenefumbo could be the victim.
That said, Mwenefumbo might have joined Aford on the mere political strategy to tilt the seesaw, between him and Mwalwanda, towards himself on the fact that Aford was the most loved party in Karonga before the birth of this present young generation. He therefore wants to successfully capitalise on that and counter Mwalwanda on one-to-one cancellation strategy after fearing that Mwalwanda may squeeze his way through to Parliament with the mighty flag of MCP.
To wrap it up, if Mwenefumbo has joined Aford on the pure lines of his sentiments that he is seeing a victorious Aford in 2019, surely he is the second Jesus of Nazareth born in Karonga-Mwenilondo. We will all join Aford for the betterment of dying mother Malawi.
Report by Kaitano Simwaka