The Tale of Malawi’s Renowned Political Strategist, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma

Analysis by Alfred Mthandizi

Generally a strategy is direction and scope of an organization (Political Party) over the long term which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configuration of resources and competence with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations.

Political strategy deals with politics but from a strategic viewpoint idea. Generally political strategies are developed by masterminds in order to attain predetermined strategic objectives that may in one way or another be in agreement with government or the State.

The world has produced numerous strategists who carved out a niche for themselves through individual attainments or by help from political gurus.

Ten top and well-known political strategists in the world are:
Song Wu – Very few people have heard about him but he was one of the shrewdest political pundits and a commander who led his Chinese nation to victory despite having lost both of his legs to a previous war the king incited.
Hamilton Jordan– an American political strategist during Carter’s administration and a torch bearer during Carter’s career.
Leon Trotsky- a Russian Marxist revolutionist theorist founder of red army Cicero – A Roman influential political strategist in history of the world and his strategies were rooted in European literature.
Chanakya – Indian political acumen, he is regarded the best and greatest strategist the world has ever witnessed till now.
Sander Patel – Indian known as Bismarck next to Chanakya when it comes to political strategizing theories.
Aristotle– is also regarded as the greatest political commentator whose strategies are still being used up to now.
Max Weber– a German socialist often cited along with Karl Marx for social and political science.
Niccolo Machiavelli – an Italian and author of the book The Prince.

Malawi, as a country since the early 60’s has produced renowned political strategists like Orton Chirwa and Kanyama Chiume that have left a legacy that exists still today.

In the multi-party retro, Malawi has also shaped political strategist
Dr. Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma – Bingu’s retro, Bright Malopa – Peter’s retro and Humphry Mvula- Muluzi’s retro.

These three renown political strategists are the best of the times looking at their personal achievements in Malawi’s political arena. Many refuse to recognize them simply out of petty jealousy or lack of information for what they have achieved for themselves and a country as a whole.

Politicians have tried to sit on their accomplishments but to no avail. Almost every Malawian knows what these political wizards have done that dynamically changed events for the common good of Malawian and of course themselves.

A lecturer at Chancellor College of Malawi Dicks Mfune, in faculty of Political and Administrative Studies concurs with the writer on the three strategists and cited Dr. Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma as one of the best in strategy formulation. He smoke screened his political maneuvers and skills and this man was able to succeed in spite of many people’s expectations.

He knew when to join a party and when to back off and maintained his clean record and smart adaptations. He is indigenous Malawian and owns one of the leading printing houses in Malawi, KZN Printing and Packaging. Many suffer after politics, but he did not.

His main achievements, which many still refer to up to today, is the strategy he applied when their party UP did not do well in the elections in 2004. During that time the then UP leadership Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika did not understand him, as he clearly advised them in advance of the severe loss in the elections. He minced no words and bravely and vividly told Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika and NGC that the party will not do well in the elections and the entire NGC and leadership rose against him.

Immediately after results came out, the leader of UP then, Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, indeed failed miserably in the elections to a point that even Kamlepo Kaluwa, Mwana Chee, beat him in the elections. This did not fare well in the UP camp that Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika together with his legal advisor Professor Peter Mutharika had to call Dr. Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma back from suspension. He was given a mandate to redesign the strategy for them in order to do well this time around. He instantly recommended dissolving them party. It was unpleasant pill to many senior members and they thought he was making things worse. It did not take long when we heard the party had been dissolved and that Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika had openly conceded defeat and he was the first party president to congratulate Dr. Muluzi for winning, in very controversial elections at that time.

Dr. Zikhale Ng’oma with assistance from the sister of Muluzi, mother to Dr. Muluzi and uncles, Hon. Kaphwiti Banda, Hon. Jafu and One Indian popularly known as Mapeto managed to polish Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika to become close and the most favorite within the shortest period ever. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was to succeed him after end of his term, leaving out all his loyalists: Dr. Cassim Chilumpha, Uladi Mussa and Dumbo Leman out of the race of the hot seat. Muluzi even left his own right-hand man Justin Malewezi.

He managed to get Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika into Reserve Bank as Deputy Reserve Bank Governor. Later, he managed to get him into UDF NGC, despite the adversarial arguments that emerged between Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika and Dr. Bakili Muluzi over COMESA dismissal. Having been chased out of MANOBEC house in Lilongwe that made him seek refuge in Mr. Namondwe’s house in Area 15 plot no: Mr. Namondwe is still enjoying the fruits of keeping Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika in his house up to now as an ambassador in China.

What makes Dr. Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma unique is that he also rescued the serious tension that erupted between Bingu Wa Mutharika and Bakili Muluzi over the issue of asking him to put Atupere Muluzi in Cabinet and Bingu refused because Atupere looked young to handle matters of state.

In the process Dr. Zikhale Ng’oma registered a party which the president Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika announced to have joint Anti-Corruption Bureau day. This occurred on 5th day. The same day the father of Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma was being taken for burial in Area 18 cemetery where Bingu repeated his damping of UDF.

Dr. Kenneth Reeves Ng’oma became the first secretary general of this newly born party, which if observed properly was a continuation of UP in another form and name and it worked. This man is indeed great, brilliant and deserves the honor. Actually DPP is UP in another name. More details can be sourced from his book which is yet to be published.

Funny enough this great strategist did not work long with the party. He worked for a period of 1.5 years and during his time of stay in government; Malawi registered good governance and restored donors’ confidence which was lost during Muluzi’s regime. Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika and his chief of staff whom people nick named him Prime Minister and was the first and last Chief of Staff of Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika regime in the state House. They were given HIPIC benefit as well.

Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika liked him so much that after leaving DPP he was called back to be given the position of Minister of State but President Bingu Wa Mutharika died in the morning of the same day their meeting was scheduled at 4 pm. This information is in the inquiry report spearheaded by Justice Singini.

Atupere Muluzi through Parliamentary committee wrote a letter to Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika. It was delivered through Mr. Matabwa, who was a chief secretary together with Mr. Msaka. Parliament is going to discuss Dr. Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma if he is not removed from service for holding two positions both in the party and government (Chief of Staff and Secretary General of DPP). He was forced to exit government and continued with the party role until when he resigned from the party and was replaced by Hon. Joyce Banda.

Joyce Banda Abiti Mtila decided to sideline Dr. Zikhale Ng’oma during his two year term in office as a president, for fear of his unpredicable transactions as he was persistently advocating for Khumbo Kachale to be a running mate. This made Joyce Banda mad, for she and her newly appointed strategist Mbereka, achieved nothing in the end.

She lost the presidency. They opted for Sostern Gwengwe whom the country objected as a novice. Surprisingly enough she lost with votes from Mzimba where Hon. Khumbo Kachale hails from.

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