A couple of days ago, MCP’s spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali made a scathing statement that if MCP wins the May 2019 elections, their first assignment will be to fire civil servants in the name of reducing spending. He further added that this massive retrenchment will be extended to all Government agencies including parastatals.
This was an astonishingly crass thing to say in a campaign season. You don’t need to check with National Statistical Office (NSO) to know that in Malawi, Government is the biggest employer. Hundreds of thousands are on the payroll of Government and most of them have their jobs as their only source of income. Trimming the civil service at that magnitude simply means throwing innocent lives into the dungeon. This may lead to serious consequences and put a strain on the recovering economy.
This latest scandal couldn’t come at a worse time for MCP, as the campaign was officially launched on Tuesday, 18 March. Even worse, it will almost certainly cost MCP the much-needed votes from civil servants who made their fury felt at BICC during the campaign launch by loudly booing when MCP leadership walked into the auditorium.
The spokesperson of MCP also confirmed to many Malawians what they have long suspected; that MCP will never change.
I am not a political strategist but if I was, then my first rule for running a presidential campaign would be this: never pick a fight with the civil servants but treat them with the respect they deserve. It’s a fight, Munthali and MCP are now discovering, that you cannot possibly win, not least in the court of public opinion.
For five days now, ever since Munthali made his stunningly stupid statement MCP have dominated the election news agenda for obviously wrong reasons.
To make things worse, MCP have badly misplayed their hand by trying to counter-attack them in a manner which has rightly drawn widespread opprobrium by people on all sides of the political divide.
Instead of wasting their time defending themselves MCP should have recognized the bigger picture and respond to the criticisms with good grace and understanding, not with their usual defensive Alpha male bombast.
I have read Reverend Munthali’s statement and understood immediately the potential scale of its divisiveness. He is a man who speaks in a simple, direct manner which cuts to the heart of anyone who listens to him. He is not known for being cryptic, therefore, MCP should not waste their time defending him that he didn’t mean what he said.
MCP should understand that the agony of losing jobs because of your tribe during their 31-year rule is still deeply and demonstrably embedded in Malawians. Malawians will never forget when thousands of teachers from the northern region were sent packing to teach at schools in their home villages.
I share the anger of civil servants and millions of decent, law-abiding citizens who are being unfairly targeted to be abused by MCP if they are voted into power. Every single civil/public servant whom I have spoken in recent days loathes and detests these murderous medieval monsters as much as other Malawians do. There is self-evidently a massive problem with MCP and Malawians are justified for not voting them back into power since they were ousted in 1994.
Surprisingly, MCP are bursting with self-confidence defying the conventional rules of engagement and simply refusing to bow down even in the face of apparently inevitable defeat.
As DPP moves ahead of MCP and UTM in the polls run by local and international pollsters for the second time, enjoying the traditional pre-election bounce, I am smelling a similar dramatic upset at MCP that always leads them to court to dispute election results. Yes, if my nostrils are correct, then MCP will have only themselves to blame.
So my essential message to Malawians as we draw closer to the elections is very simple; MCP are a very dangerous party full of people who want to do immeasurable harm to us and we have got to make damn sure we don’t give them our vote.
MCP should have recognized this bigger picture and responded to the criticisms with good grace and understanding, not with their usual defensive Alpha male bombast.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication