Opinion: Of family political parties in Malawi


Malawi’s democracy can be traced back to the Kamuzu Banda era when Kamuzu forced every Malawian to belong to a single party, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda being allegedly a Chewa by tribe, only dedicated members of MCP were usually from the Central region who had normally a Chewa background.

There was a time when John Tembo, an uncle to the wife of President Kamuzu Banda, Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira dominated most of public positions in government.

Much as Kamuzu Banda did not directly  groom his relatives to be his successor, history has it that John Tembo later became the President of MCP. He even dismally failed to win presidential elections on MCP ticket more than once.

It is also alleged that John Tembo and his successor Dr. Lazarus Chakwera were very much related.

It is therefore  not surprising to watch that the very same Reverend State President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera  who professes honesty and religious fairness is now practicing nepotism.

This is evidenced  by the fact that  Chakwera’s  daughter, Violet Chakwera is in the Malawian embassy in the United Kingdom enjoying  the delicacies of power.

This proves now  the point that MCP is a family party.  They lie  that the party has changed from its diabolical atrocities. Truth be told, they are playing the same archaic party tricks.

Our  next focus of discussion is on the United Democratic Front (UDF). It does not require  a renowned logician to conclude that UDF is a family party.

It is well known that  that the sole sponsor of UDF has been Bakili Muluzi, the founder of the party.

This is why Bakili’s son, Atupele Muluzi, has been at the helm of the party for a substantial period  of time.

It is an open secret now  that Atupele Muluzi is trying  his best to be UDF’s torchbearer  in 2025.

Next, family politics has not spared  the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) either.

Prof. Peter Mutharika, a brother  to the founder of the party, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, was elected as  the party president in 2014.

Furthermore, currently  Peter Mutharika  has also expressed  interest  to stand again as DPP torchbearer in 2025.

In addition, most of the Presidential aspirants  who are to contest at an elective convention are either Lhomwes by tribe or they come from the party’s stronghold, the Southern region.

You can’t talk about family politics in Malawi without mentioning Roy Kachale in the Peoples Party (PP).

Being  a son to the founder of the party, Joyce Banda , Roy Kachale was privileged to be appeased  with a ministerial position in the Tonse Alliance Government.

In an attempt  to avoid  embarrassment as a cabinet minister due to  his dismal performance , Roy Kachale, the Vice President of People’s Party  was summarily  sent  for  a diplomatic mission.

Lastly but not least, Alliance for Democracy (AFORD)  has proved to be following  family politics too.

Chakufwa Chihana being the founder of AFORD, it smacks of family politics when his son, Enock Chihana, is the incumbent president of the party.

It must be emphasised in bold and italic that every bonafide citizen of this country is eligible to hold any political position without  any stigmatisation emanating from  parenthood, race, tribe, creed, region of origin and economic status.

In conclusion, politics  is dynamic. With freedom of association and assembly enshrined in our Malawi Constitution, citizens  are at liberty to form any political party based  on their own ideologies.

Most importantly, forming a political party is an investment.

Members  of the general public are advised  to join  any political party that is congruent  with their  own principles and aspirations.

In case  a member joins a political party inadvertently that does not align with their  aspirations, there are three options.  Agitate from within to change the Party’s constitution or quit  the party or  join another or form  your own democratic party.