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“This is a sure way of normalising political party financing and dealing away with the rampant corruption, nepotism and patronage.” – Political Analyst.

In a move to strengthen and rebuild one of the longest parties in the country, the Alliance FOR Democracy (AFORD), the party introduced a K10 membership card last July 2015 in a move that continues to be hailed by most political and social commentators.

Aford only member of Parliament and President of the Party, Enock Chihana was quoted as saying, they thought of the card system as one sure and noble ways of strengthening the party’s financial base. “Current situation is that most of the parties on the driving seat have access and opportunities to swindle from public coffers whilst those in opposition are dry. The ruling parties also tend to suffocate anyone identified to be funding opposition parties. We in Aford, though about introducing the cards to allow our members to be identified with our party and also be able to assist financially to the party’s bid for 2019 elections.” Said Chihana to our correspondent.

Many analysts continue to hail Aford for such a bold move citing that incidences like the cashgate should have been avoided if parties had innovative ways to raise their own funding. Speaking on the same, a political analyst from the University of Malawi, Dr. Chinsinga said, “Aford is setting the right tone to the controversial issue of political party financing. This is the right way for Malawi for parties to survive on their ideology not on the privilege of being in power. This can go a very long way in strengthening a support base for Aford and would also be important as a litmus test to the loyalty of its members in the region. Whichever way you look at it, this is a commendable development.”

Another social analyst speaking on condition of anonymity said: “If you take for example, the current ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), you will see that the problem of rampant corruption, collusion, nepotism and patronage will worsen if parties do not find justifiable means to raise funding for their political party activities. Look at the heavy costs of rallies that go to the expense of the public coffers? One rally can cost an equivalent sum of money to build a school block. The president and his bunch of stoogies receive all the allowances and that is a cost to Malawi. Now you see these political stoogies winning tenders and bids with government departments in the pretext of making donations to the party and seeking business favours.

Already allegations are rife on plunder plans by the DPP through the BEAM Trust and the Mlakho wa Alomwe to fundraise for the party’s early campaign to 2019.

Another renowned social analyst, Bonface Dulani commented to say: “Aford is doing things that the other so-called big parties should have been doing already. MCP should have reinvented the card system with modifications to how it was in Kamuzu’s days. For example, if they get 200,000 members with each one contributing K10 each, that is an automatic K2 million kwacha per month for the party. In 12 months, that is already K24 million! If you calculate that to 4 years to come, if these deposits are untampered with, will translate to K96 million or K100 million in the next 4 years. This is a sure way to go for any forward thinking political party especially one in opposition.

In recent years, many parties have had to go to bed with the ruling parties for the sake of survival which includes to a larger extent the financial woes. UDF became the latest victim when it went into bed with the ruling DPP. It is yet to be seen if Aford is setting another great milestone to Malawi’s democracy having pioneered the change in the run up to the 1993 Multi-party democracy referendum.

By Ellena Moyo.

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