United Democratic Front: 1992-2011 (Rest in Peace)

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Malawi's ruling party will soon just like the Nyasaland African Congress, find itself in the dustbin of History. This is the party tha governed Malawi in the first democratic decade of 1994-2004 and failed to change, as the voters were changing.
The party is now close to a political comedy that characterised the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) between 1996 to 2002 when eventually its President Gwanda Chakuamba fell from the seat of power, marking the end of its national identity and to be reduced as a minor opposition party about six years later.
The UDF first mistake is well documented, its first elected President Bakili Muluzi's decision to run for a third term and later his attempt to extend his influence beyond his constituional limit after he sidelined the official process to hand pick Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika as a candidate.
The same arrogance displayed by Muluzi was extended to 2009, when he single handly decided to "thank you" all his parliamentarians without subjecting them to a democratic primaries process. The party was reduced to a mere 13 seats, with several independents coming back to swell its position to 15. This is a party that had almost 90 seats in 1999.
Dr. Bakili Muluzi remains an excuse for the comedy of factions and wild allegations that have characterised the party. Today on Zodiak, Dr. Nga Ntafu is busy accusing Friday Jumbe of consipiring with Professor Peter Mutharika, Jumbe's counter claim is that State media, notorious for shunning the opposition has now a freind in Ntafu faction.
The truth is that both Jumbe and Ntafu are power hungry, greedy and want the parliamentary funding for the UDF more than they want to save the party.
The period the UDF was headed by Jumbe elected undemocratically by Muluzi was supposed to be the re-building process. Where meetings were to be held every week, constituency, district and regional elections held and the Parliamentary leaderhsip hold its own election.
The process could have ended with a National convention, open to everybody without some strange rule about who can run for the party presidency.
The convention should have been held in 2010 and now should have been harmonising.
But Jumbe created room for a "monster" as he puts it to rise. There was a vacuum especially at grassroot level for many who were used to Muluzis handouts. They were hooked by a few coins thrown at them, today you hear everybody supports Ntafu and very few big wigs support Jumbe.
Electing Dr. Cassim Chilumpha a chair is not a solution nor MP's declaring Ntafu a leader at a press breifing. Jumbe lacks legitimacy to run the party just as Ntafu lacks one too.
The solution, just like in Tunisia and Egypt to allow all the leaders go, starting with Dr. Bakili Muluzi, followed by Jumbe and Ntafu. Having the three will never be able to reconcile the party.
Dr. Ntafu has never been an effective leader, he is great as a nuerosurgeon but not administration of Government. Jumbe too has many challenges as a leader, they cannot revive the UDF let alone pass the national scrutiny that a President will be subject by youthful voters in 2014.
Again parties tend to forget the changing political landscape that Malawi is no a youthful nation and querrelling elders are not attractive to Youth voters. I dont believe youthful UDF members want Jumbe or Ntafu, they can not watse time joining politics which is not talking of job creation or empowerment.
This does not also guarantee Atupele Muluzi or Lucius Banda a top UDF seat. They need to work hard with the grassroot.
There is only one solution to the UDF. Jumbe and Ntafu should resign immediately and Makwangwala should try to be nuetral and head a committee that will organise a convention within the next ninety days.
I do not think Peter Mutharika views UDF as a threat to warrant his alleged consipiracy with Jumbe, nor do I believe Ntafu is justfied to bring more confusion to an already battered party.
Perhaps Fahad Assani can come in an start rebuilding the party. Otherwise we can star writing the orbituary as the UNIP of Zambia wrote its some years ago due to squabbles. MCP might join the UDF soon in this new political cemetery.


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