Monday, July 16, 2007

An interview with Dausi, Ex MCP vice President

Main opposition Malawi Congress Party second vice president Nicholas Dausi resigned from the party last Sunday. Malawi News reporter Rex Chikoko sought Mr Dausi’s explanation on why he left the party which he has been loyal to for a long time and his political future in DPP. Excerpts:

Your leaving MCP has attracted different opinions some say it was long overdue while others say it is a biggest betrayal of a party which you have served with loyalty. What is your take on this?

I think, people have a right to express their opinion but my leaving MCP is purely on a matter of principle. After carefully thinking and discreet decision I arrived at a very critical and thoughtfulness. Having seen the present trends on how MCP is treading, in most cases when we have acted against the wishes of the people. For example MCP has only just lost three members of Parliament, yet the party is in the fore front refusing to pass the budget at the expense of people’s lives just because of three MPs, whose interest and whose battle were we fighting for? MCP is being used as pawns in a game of poker. MCP must know that it hinges on the ideals, philosophy and the legacy of the late Dr Kamuzu Banda, he first and foremost encouraged development, unity and hard work. These are being propagated at the moment by Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and his DPP. The other thing is the past 10 years of UDF rule, the MCP went through terrible victimization, arresting Dr Kamuzu Banda, expropriating his properties his names were erased it is unfortunate that the leadership of MCP chose to still be associated with such kinds of political friends. Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has restored all what was erased and that sanity is prevailing now. I think it was right and proper for me, a man who cherishes discipline and loyalty and the man who love Kamuzu to leave MCP and join DPP. I would follow anyone who respects Kamuzu regardless the party belongs to.

You have been fighting DPP since its inception and suddenly you have changed heart what would you expect people to make out of this sudden change?

What really broke the Camel’s back was that…well let’s talk about the present situation; you know certain revolutionist of Guinea Bissau once said ‘we must always do things within the context of our time’. Now what are the context issues of our time politically? There are two important issues, the first one is a national budget the second one is section 65, nobody is against all these issues but in life there shall always be priorities and the first priority, in my view, is that let the national budget pass because it is for the common good of the people. While section 65 has to be applied I believe you cannot forsake the national budget, I think it was political suicide and the fact that it was moved by president of MCP, who would have been the leader in propagating the virtues of Kamuzu and that were national development, hard working and self-reliance and discipline, I said I think I need to part ways.
The other thing is the bishops who wrote a statement regarding the political situation in the country saying while section 65 is there, let’s prioritize the budget. I was a publicity secretary of the party and I was told to respond to the bishops statement. I think I cannot do that because I am a staunch follower of the church’s magisterial teachings. MCP in 1992 after the lantern letter had a bad relationship with the Catholic Church, but over the years the church has been advising the political leaders. I think I would not have gone against my conscious to speak against the church, so I said I cannot take it anymore I would rather be used on other things but definitely not against the church.

You expressed happiness when the Supreme Court ruled on the validity of Section 65. Do you still hold the same opinion now that you have changed sides?

What we are saying is that there are two issues, the national budget which was already presented by the Minister of Finance, and even honourable [John] Tembo, honourable Aleke Banda, honourable [George] Nga Mtafu described it as a pro-poor budget, that means it will benefit the poor Malawians. So we are saying first and foremost let us pass the budget, the other things will follow in their order of priority. We are not saying no to section 65, it is a constitutional provision which is valid. But you cannot halt the whole development just because you want to get rid of people. By the way MCP has only three people who left party, these people have never insulted honourable Tembo and for MCP to be at the forefront of wanting to remove these people while others have lost over 30 MPs and yet they are in the background. What is it? Are we being used?

The opposition fears that once budget is passed, government will adjourn parliament indefinitely and subsequently section 65 will not be discussed. What is your take on this argument?

I do not discuss matters that are before the court.

The reasons that you have presented for your departure are political. Is there no provision in political parties that such kind of differences would have been sorted out within the party system?

I leave it to Malawians to judge. Dr Peter Chiona, the first vice president left MCP, Hon Kate Kainja, the Secretary General left MCP, Hon [Bintony] Kutsaila left MCP, Ted Kalebe also left the MCP, definitely there must be something, somewhere, wrong.

What are your expectations from DPP from now till the 2009 general elections? What role do you expect to serve the government, the president, Are you looking for a position or something?

Not necessarily looking for a position. A tooth paste tube if pressed at the middle, it will come out but the best way is to start at the bottom. Dr Kamuzu Banda, in 1993 during a National Executive meeting, once said in politics there is no hurry. There so many brilliant people in DPP those that have built the party. I have just joined the party and you do not expect a new comer to say you are all not this and that and I am this no! I will support Dr Bingu wa Mutharika and DPP to my best of my ability.

There is a strong belief from other commentators that you would like to contest as MP for your area. That means you will have to compete with Hon. Davies Katsonga. Now that you belong to the same party, have the two of you compromised on who should be the candidate or how do you intend to handle the matter?

The advantage of democracy is that people are the best judges than yourself and the other thing is that Hon Davis Katsonga is a relation to me and would not want to drag a family war into the street. I think everything has its own logic and too early to start speculating. I have great respect for Hon Katsonga. Let’s respect other peoples positions.

Several times you have been quoted as denouncing political prostitution within political parties, how would you describe your move to DPP?

I have never used the word political prostitution, it does not auger well with Christian morality. I have been saying nomadic politicians, wandering politicians. I have moved and I think it is my constitutional right. I think it was right and proper to leave MCP and join somebody who subscribes to Kamuzu’s ideologies.

What are your regrets for having been in MCP ?

Certainly nothing. The only thing that holds MCP together is Kamuzu’s legacy. I am missing nothing in MCP. What people must know is that not everybody in MCP loves Kamuzu. I have so many examples of people who have Kamuzu’s badge on their lap everyday but they do not love Kamuzu I do not want to say more.

Do you think MCP is missing anything by your defection?

They have described my move as good riddance. It has been traditional that when one leaves a party trading of bad words follows I do not want to engage in that. I wish MCP all the best God should bless them.

Who are the notable names that are remaining in MCP in the Southern region now that you have left the party?

The regional treasure has left as well…mmm! All I can say is that I only remember one name, Mai Dinala I think she is the only member remaining in the southern region

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