In his column MUCKRAKING ON SUNDAY of 3rd December 2006[sunday times-malawi],http://www.mailtalk.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=ind0612&L=malawitalk&D=1&O=D&F=&S=&X=4244D93C0AEA19DE64&Y=malawitalk%40hotmail.com&P=15525
columnist Raphael tenthani open his article with a misplaced title thus "The Babel that is DPP" Quite strange indeed that he quotes several verses of chapter 11 in the biblical book of Genesis where a narrative of a tower built by a united humanity to reach the heavens.
Mr.Tenthani without putting the sacred writings in context then draws misplaced conclusions to the effect that the said biblical narrative refers to the DPP. The writer does not take into account the context in which the DPP was formed and events leading to the construction of the Tower of Babel. For me, there are profound ethical and philosophical reasons to take issue with the writer's general approach on the matter.
But, crucially, there is a more important reason why we should all reject the instincts of out of context arguments like this article-"The Babel that is DPP"
DPP unlike the architects of the Tower of Babel was formed by UDF break away protest group not out of personal wish and greed,but because of the need to challenge the settled orthodoxies of Malawian politics in particular the UDF where the then state of political machinations were made in such a way that an elected president and defender of the constitution could not govern without receiving instructions from a non elected party oligarch.
In so doing,architects of the DPP party were trying to break away from this clueless doctrine which could only work in heaven where they dont need it or hell where they have it already, by coming with an organization where they could not only draw on enduring social democratic principles but also ready to apply them in a rapidly changing world. To the contrary architects of the Tower of babel main objective was to make a name for themselves instead of worshipping the God who created them. Because of this open defiance, God stopped their efforts by confusing languages so that the builders could not understand one another.
As a result, they could no longer communicate and the work was halted. The builders were then scattered to different parts of Earth. By its very nature the author's attempts to draw comparisons between DPP a political organisation in Malawi and the Tower of Babel an accient narrative needing theological contextualisation is not only misguided but moraly inappropriate. The tower of Babel story is used to explain the existence of many different languages and races and not to explain individual differences between dedicated members of the same organization who are committed to serve their country.
The author while not being clear, makes some considerable attempts to highlight some isolated individualistic cases in a party of opportunity, aspiration and ambition.He conveniently ignores that the very fact that opportunities aspirations and ambitions are made available to followers,competition cannot be ruled out. The writer, by contrast, is presenting isolated incidents where believing them would imply constricting human freedom, to direct human energies down specific approved paths, a common occurrence in parties like MCP and UDF where followers surrender their God given intellect to their party leadership based on diminution in individual freedom, a squeezing-out of innovation, difference, diversity and creativity and end in the dogmatic pursuit of targets which recent economic events have long rendered redundant.
The writer suggest that the recent cavorting is because the DPP cadres do not have one root, one voice - but only a common mission - the result is the daily fights we are witnessing nowadays.He further alleges that the DPP was an accident waiting to happen. This according to him is due to the fact that certain members of the DPP party like the likes of Heatherwick Ntaba, Samson Msosa, Uladi Mussa, Green Lulilo Mwamondwe, Patricia Kaliati, Goodall Gondwe, Alefa Wenzulo and the like all in one basket. In a grand contradiction one could ever imagine,the author concludes thus "Like paraffin and water such characters cannot mix."
What the writer will not say is that these people did interact and were at one point working together through alliances and party affiliations way before the DPP was formed. Where does he put his notion of "Like paraffin and water such characters cannot mix" Dr Wamutharika, is of course different from his opponents.So far he has managed to provide inspirational leadership which has allowed our country to renew itself after years of drift and decline by equipping us with the freedoms and national self-confidence to shape the future.
The essence of DPP it seems has always been a belief in human nature as distinct from abstract ideology. And the essence of human nature is adaptability, flexibility, ingenuity. I have no reason to doubt that the DPP policies throughout the last two years have been designed to give these virtues room to grow.As individuals who are experiencing new found freedoms in their quest to fulfill their dreams,ambitions and potential,some of the things rightly mentioned by columnist Raphael Tenthani but wrongly contrasted to an accident biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel are symptoms of a growing democracy.
Wasting our energies and resources amidst getting worried over them only holds us back from making the changes we need to make to respond to the real challenges of Malawi's 21st century.