Former President Joyce Banda’s insistence to run the People’s Party (PP) by remote control by among other things addressing supporters through WhatsApp has been singled out as one of the reasons the party will not win the forthcoming elections.
Social commentator Onjezani Kenani has observed that the party is on a fast track towards oblivion because Banda is not in the country.
“Malawian parties suffer a lot from the founder syndrome. Without Mrs Banda on the ground, whoever can become leader will never command as much respect as she does. And without Mrs Banda in 2019, PP will be a spent force. It might retain some seats in Parliament, but only a handful,” said Kenani in a Facebook post.
He added that even if Banda returns it will be hard for her to win the support of Malawians and compete with President Peter Mutharika and Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) Lazarus Chakwera during the 2019 elections.
“The best option she will have is to align herself with either, which, if truth be told, is an option only available to parties that have turned into weaklings,” said Kenani.
Recently, PP Members of Parliament met Mutharika to discuss the possibility of an alliance between PP and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The PP ruled Malawi from 2012 to 2014 after Banda became president of the country.
During her time in power, the cashgate scandal – in which civil servants stole money by mostly paying businessmen funds for services not delivered to government and sharing the loot – broke out.
Commentators including Kenani say the scandal was one of the reasons she was voted out of power in 2014.
Banda is currently in exile but she recently made attempts to come back to Malawi.
However, after informing the Mutharika administration that she was coming back, the police announced that they had been granted an arrest warrant for Banda though they are yet to make efforts to arrest her.