Of forming new political parties in Malawi

Nankhumwa Malawi

As 2025 tripartite general elections are nigh, it is not surprising that many new political parties are mushrooming.

A newly registered  party by the name of Mzika Coalition  led  by Christopher Mike Chiomba   has hit the waves of  Malawi politics. This development  has come some months  after  the disgruntled Kondwani Nankhumwa  formed  his own party, Peoples Development Party (PDP),  after a long time  of power struggle with  the main opposition  party, Democratic Progressive Party ( DPP).

On 22 December 2023, another new political  party  was born called Muvi wa Chilungamo Revolutionary Party (MRP) whose  first  president is long time activist Saunders  Juma.

However, some Malawians are of the view that the formation of  new political parties  is not necessary at the moment  because  a small country like Malawi does not need lots of  political    parties.

 It is further suggested that it is high time that Malawians joined forces  with other existing parties to spearhead nation development without just concentrating on politicking.

It is against this background that this article endeavours to elucidate 10 reasons why Malawi   needs new political  parties now.

First, forming a political party is one’s right to exercise freedom of association. Section 32 (1) of the Malawi Constitution stipulates  that ‘every person shall have the right to freedom of association, which shall include the freedom to form associations”.

Second, a new political party is a good strategy to counterattack a strong party. 

For instance, Kondwani Nankhumwa’s party, PDP, will definitely reduce DPP’s votes thereby providing an added advantage to the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

In fact the name PDP is similar to DPP and it will be  easy to confuse an illiterate voter. This confusion was deliberately crafted.

Third, forming  a political party is a good strategy to easily enter into an  electoral  alliance.  

It must be noted that electoral alliances are negotiated at party level. It is impractical to negotiate an electoral  alliance with an independent presidential  aspirant.

For instance, it is easy for Kondwani Nankhumwa  with  his DPD to negotiate an electoral alliance with MCP guaranteeing  that DPD will disrupt DPP’s stronghold in the Lhomwe belt.

It must be emphasized that electorate  alliances have proven to be a determining factor to win presidential elections especially  with the introduction  of 50% + 1 majority.

Fourth, forming a new political party  is an effective  entry strategy into active politics towards  attaining presidency.

For example, Saulos Chilima  easily contested as a presidential candidate in 2019 just nine  months after forming UTM when he had before found it difficult   to be the  DPP  torchbearer. 

Fifth, a  new political party brings new ideologies which consequently  transform the political landscape.

In other  words, new political parties discover ideological lacunas that are overlooked by existing parties.

For example, MRP was formed with a new thinking  of mindset change and a philosophy of realism.

In an attempt to end corruption, Nzika Coalition party focuses on integrity, competence and public service  delivery.

Sixth, a new political party serves as an effective training ground  for upcoming politicians.

Many youths have been singing a political song that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Some schools of thoughts surmise  that it is high time the youths  took over the reigns of power.

The million dollar question  is that are the youths prepared to lead Malawi? Do they have  the political  muscle to compete with the political gurus in the wilderness  of politics?

Of course, there  is a litany  politicians  who simply formed  their political parties  as experimental labs which were later abandoned. They really gained a lot from their unpopular parties.

Bingu wa Mutharika, former Malawi President, initially founded  United Party before being roped into the United Democratic Front (UDF). Kamlepo Kalua established Malawi Democratic Party (MDP) before trekking to DPP.  Recently, controversial John Chisi  has disbanded Umodzi party and he is now  singing Hallelujah with  the ruling MCP.

Seventh, forming a political party is an investment 

Politics  is a profitable business.  Though risky, many politicians gleaned  maximum returns after wisely investing in politics .

A political party can easily  attract sponsors here and beyond with a prospect that  once in power, they will enjoy some favours of winning  government contracts.

By the way, have you wondered where UTM as a party got the money to conduct rigorous  nationwide campaigns for 2019 and  2020 presidential elections? 

Where  did UTM  get the money to buy over 200 brand new  vehicles all at once? Politics is a quick profit making  business.

Eighth, multiple parties ensure competitiveness that later breeds quality political  leadership.

It remains  a fact that Malawi is pathetically experiencing leadership crisis. It is unfortunate that our leaders once voted into power abandon their campaign promises and start feeding their protruded bellies through their  gluttonous proboscis.

Malawi can only find  a patriotic leader if it extends its catchment area far and wide.

Ninth, forming a new political party is the last  resort after unresolved intra-party power struggles.

It is not a new phenomenon  that  disagreements and power wrangles erupt in political parties.

Forming a new political party has proven to be effective in finding lasting solutions  to incessant power struggles in the party.

For example,  Kondwani Nankhumwa formed DPD after a long period of power struggle in the DPP. It is true that peace and tranquillity have now prevailed in the once nighty  DPP.

Dr. Saulos Chilima also formed UTM  after  being disgruntled with the succession plan in DPP.  Examples are numerous.

Lastly but not least, in politics, a political party is an effective organisational and management  tool.

A political  party assists in organising viable party  structures from the grassroots level up  to the national level.

Furthermore, the party is also responsible for marketing  their candidate and even soliciting  funds for political campaigns.

It is against this background  that most independent  presidential candidates always flop in presidential elections.

In conclusion, with the vacuum of  pragmatic leadership  skills looming in  Malawi’s  political landscape,  forming a new political party is highly  encouraged. 

 After all, Malawi electoral system already embraced 50% + 1 majority  as a means of determining  the victor of presidential election.  It is therefore expected  that 50% + 1 majority will justly separate the grain from  the chaffs in any presidential race.


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