Questions over APM comeback

Former president Arthur Peter Mutharika recently announced his intention to contest for presidency in the September 2025 elections.

This is not the first time the man fondly called APM has expressed the urgency to return to power.

However, the recent announcement

has brought widespread debate. 

His desire to stand has had negative effects on the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), where those who openly express the state to contest for the position face reprisals.

The decision also has a broad impact on national politics and democracy.

 APM’s decision to contest again has already impacted the DPP’s internal democracy and generational leadership transition.

For a 20-year-old party with numerous young and potential leaders, Mutharika’s return has curtailed these new voices with a heavy hand.

This led to frustrations and created a leadership crisis.

This month, sacked DPP vice-president responsible for the South, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who was once a potential party presidential aspirant, has formed his own. 

This move has weakened the DPP and undoubtedly hurt the party’s chances in the 2025 General Elections.

Already, this DPP is being seen as a vehicle for the former president’s ambitions rather than a political entity responsive to the needs of its membership and Malawians as a whole.

Malawians must note that allowing former presidents to re-enter politics after serving could bruise our democracy. 

When former presidents return to political power, it could block chances for emerging leaders.

This practice could also concentrate power within a small group as we  see in DPP.

This ‘capture’ is detrimental to the promotion and entrenching of democratic values within political parties.  

Former presidents often leave office with a particular legacy. Therefore, re-entering the political arena risks tarnishing their legacy.

This might be the case with APM.

He must protect his legacy as he might be perceived as having nothing to offer, but just bitter that he is no longer President.

The comeback campaign portrays him as power-hungry.

Mutharika’s return could set a precedent that detracts from the democratic principle of leadership renewal and might encourage a tradition of former leaders running for office again.

It is important to remind Mutharika that Malawi is a people’s republic, not a personal or family estate dedicated to serving Malawians’ interests.

Allowing a former president returning to power could undermine this principle and suggest a regression to dynastic politics—a far cry from the republican ideals.

Mutharika must appreciate that there is life after presidency in which he could celebrated and engaged in noble forms of public service.

This could include participating in global diplomacy, peace missions and conflict resolution as do other former presidents such as South Africa’s Thambo Mbeki, Mozambique’s Joachim Chissanu and Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo.

These engagements have demonstrated that leadership and influence extend beyond presidential office and inspire respect and admiration for former leaders in their new roles.

APM should not look at the presidency as a career, but as a temporary service mandated by Malawians.

For him, the post-presidency period could be an opportunity to safeguard his legacy and allow for the emergence of new ideas and leadership styles that reflect current needs.

While Mutharika might have the right to run for office again, the broader implications of such a decision must be carefully considered as the 2025 elections are a litmus test for Malawi’s democracy.

The post Questions over APM comeback first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Questions over APM comeback appeared first on Nation Online.