Saturday, April 13, 2024
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QUICK ASSESSMENT OF THE AFORD 1ST JANUARY POLITICAL RALLY IN RUMPHI

AFORD

Dear Editor,

Last year, I heard of the AFORD resurgence under President Enoch Chihana’s leadership. While browsing on Facebook today, I stumbled upon a live link of their rally on Zodiak. AFORD seems to be reinventing itself into a formidable entity. At this juncture, it seems reasonable to position AFORD as the third force in the political spectrum,  with the ruling MCP on first position and DPP on second position, AFORD occupying third position dislodging UTM now on fourth position and UDF on neck to neck competition on fifth position with Mbakuwaku.

Chihana expressed his intent to convene a party convention this April, signalling a serious approach. He also broached the delicate topic of a possible shift to a federation system under a potential AFORD administration. Quite fair.

However, the personal demeanor of AFORD’s disputed leader, Chihana, appears to mirror an assertive and unmeasured approach, reminiscent of Peter Mutharika’s abrasive and dismissive style that led to public animosity. Mutharika’s hubris and insensitivity alienated many Malawians, a trait that Chihana risks replicating, making it challenging to resonate with the populace.

Humility seems to be scarce in Chihana. His boastful remark about purchasing coffins for the deceased in Rumphi Central, while intending to discourage voting based on such actions, carried an air of arrogance akin to Mutharika’s mannerisms. If he exhibits such insensitivity without wielding state power, concerns arise about his conduct in office.

While a leader should exude confidence, unchecked enthusiasm may yield dire repercussions. That side, I commend Chihana for intermittently switching to Chichewa, enabling a stronger connection with the majority of Malawians on national television, though the effort was not good enough. Yet, caution is warranted for his associates from Kasungu, Machinga, and elsewhere to avoid projecting tribalistic notions or portraying AFORD as a party exclusively representing the Northern region. Any inclination suggesting regional allegiance could backfire, perpetuating the long-standing perception of AFORD as a regional rather than a national entity. While every political party often has a stronghold in specific regions, the strategic imperative for AFORD should focus on nationalizing its appeal. All in all the party is making progress albeit not good enough to clinch power in 2025. Political strategists within AFORD must navigate the careful balance of regional support and national inclusivity to shed the party’s perceived regional tag and stand as a truly national force.

Johannes Mkumba,

Zomba.

 

 

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