By Richard Chirombo
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has warned its erstwhile ally, the Progressive Democratic Youth Movement (Prodeyom), against meddling in its ‘internal’ affairs, but the youth group remains adamant, vowing to continue showing the party ‘the correct way of doing things’.
This follows Prodeyom’s decision to ‘disentangle’ itself from DPP, citing lack of tolerance, dictatorial tendencies and a spiraling campaign against Vice-President, Joyce Banda’s, presidential aspirations in the 2014 Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
But DPP maintains Prodeyom was never part of its political machinery. The party’s Youth Director, Frank Mwenifumbo, told The Sapitwa Mail there were suspicions Prodeyom was out to cause confusion and discredit the ruling party.
“These youths must be a bunch of jokers. Why do they keep on meddling in DPP’s internal affairs when our official stand is that we only recognize the party’s Youth Morale? It’s good that Prodeyom has come back to its senses and realized that they are not of DPP fold; likewise, we expect them to stop speaking on DPP matters,” said Mwenifumbo.
Mwenifumbo said he suspected that the self-proclaimed pro-DPP youth grouping was being ‘sent’ by individuals who did not wish the DPP well, or wanted to ride at the back of the party attractiveness to the masses to fulfill their selfish political ambitions.
However, Prodeyom chairperson, Joseph Chikwemba, dismissed DPP’s assertions in a separate interview. He accused the party of practicing politics of ‘dishonesty’, revealing that Prodeyom has since its inception enjoyed ‘massive’ support from the DPP, culminating in peaceful matches and fundraising campaigns Prodeyom organized to drum up support for President Bingu wa Mutharika and Vice-President Joyce Banda.
“It is hypocritical on the part of DPP. Anyway, we have made our position clear and will continue to speak on issues of governance in the DPP. We want to show the party the correct way of doing things; the party has now taken the lonely path to self-destruction,” said Chikwemba.
He said, as a ruling party, the DPP should learn to embrace democratic principles, among which are freedom of association, expression, and conscience.
“Democracy is about tolerance for dissenting views, and DPP seems to forget this. We have tried to criticize and praise constructively and the strange thing is that the party never disassociated itself from us whenever we praised, only to turn against us when we raised a warning voice. We will continue to pursue this course,” he said.
Prodeyom’s insistence to continue speaking on DPP matters has also riled party spokesperson, Hetherwick Ntaba, who advised Prodeyom to ‘mind your own business’ and respect the institution of the party.
“We don’t know these people,” said Ntaba.
Ntaba said Prodeyom has never contributed anything to the party’s political triumphs, starting with its ‘overwhelming victory’ in the 2009 elections, and subsequent victories in By-elections held in Mangochi, a United Democratic Front stronghold, and Dowa- which is slowly dripping out of Malawi Congress Party hands.
Since the 2009 elections, DPP only suffered humiliating defeats in By-elections held in Blantyre and Zomba.