BLANTYRE (Rhodes Msonkho, Capital Radio)- Political parties in Malawi are being accused of not practicing intra-party democracy, two decades after the attainment of the multiparty system of government.
Most observers believe the parties have failed to demonstrate commitment to following the dictates of democracy.
Since the dawn of multiparty system of government, the country has witnessed the establishment of many political parties.
Records show that at the moment, the country has over 50 registered political parties.
The question of whether all of these are adding any value to the democratization process is a subject for another day.
Over the years, political parties have been criticized for failing to adhere to democratic values.
Some of them have failed to flourish due to what they describe as founders syndrome, where certain individuals view themselves to be important than others.
Today, most parties are facing a face similar problem. Some of these parties include the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, Peoples Party and the United Democratic Progressive Party.
The Executive Director of Center for Multiparty Democracy (CMD), Kizito Tenthani is the of the opinion that the new political party Act, gives political parties the powers to regulate their own affairs.
Malawi is a multi-party state system. The country began as a one-party state in 1964, with the MCP being the only party until 1993. A movement called the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) under the leadership of the late Chakufwa Chihana grew, calling for the end of Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship.
Due to this internal and external pressure Banda agreed to hold a national referendum in 1993 where the nation voted to become a multi-party state.
AFORD became the first registered opposition political party and other opposition parties formed thereafter.
The first multi-party elections occurred in 1994 in which the UDF won votes as the first administration under a multi-party system under Bakili Muluzi.
Elections in Malawi have been held every five years since 1994. Past election years in Malawi were in 1994,1999, 2004, 2009, and in May 2014.