onorable folks, the curtain finally closed down on 2020 on Thursday midnight and we welcomed 2021.
Important matters, as everybody knows, must always be dealt with before other things and it is in this very spirit that we wish you all a happy New Year from the bench.
However, Malawians cannot stop thinking about the just ending year in a flash because it was such an eventful year.
From the dreary moments of the Covid-19 pandemic to the political turmoil that preceded the 2019 Tripartite Election, and then to the courts’ nullification of the presidential election result. But the icing on cake for all the twists and turns that dominated the year was Malawi being named country of the year 2020 by The Economist.
It is for this reason that the nullification of the 2019 presidential results will forever remain inscribed not only in the country’s history but the global historical accounts because almost at every corner of the globe people know that a tiny poor southern African country defied all odds and overturned a presidential election result and no blood was shed, something which rarely happens in this part of the world.
At first, the ruling elite in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) thought they had beaten the system and begun celebrating victory as May 19 election results trickled in. However, Malawians smelled a rat and eventually took to the streets to protest what they termed a ‘Tippexed’ re-election of DPPs Peter Mutharika. The protests lasted six months and the election dispute came before the court for determination.
The rest, as they say, is history, but suffice to say when the Constitutional Court finally delivered its judgment on February 3, the country’s streets were filled with jubilation—an indication that the ruling favoured the majority who felt the vote was tampered with.
But the celebrations were shortlived as coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and deaths surged. This spike in infections was partly attributed to the mass political campaigns as politicians and their supporters shelved all Covid-19 guidelines for later.
Hon. Folks, the infection which originated from China’s Wuhan City last year has gravely caused unbearable pain with nearly 2 million deaths and about 83 million cases worldwide. Malawi and all countries suffered economic consequences of the virus that saw international borders closed, hospitals overwhelmed and schools closed.
Nevertheless, as time passed Covid-19 cases started diminishing and everybody thought countries are winning the fight against the pandemic following significant drops in infections only to surge again recently.
Hon. Folks, busy as citizens were in trying to lay their lives together then boom! Another humiliation occurred this time the leakage of the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) exams.
This scandal happened right under the nose of the new Tonse Alliance government and what a blow it was to President Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice-President Saulos Chilima who had shouldered high expectations from Malawians, especially on making the public service efficient. The exams were cancelled are set to be re-administered later this month.
Then there was the re-arrest of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) and his wife Mary in South Africa over criminal charges relating to money laundering, among others. The rest too is history but we can only muse over how the reputable ‘Man of God’ found himself here at home after jumping bail in the rainbow nation.
Until today, no one has come out publicly to explain the mystery surrounding the Bushiris travel to Malawi when their travel documents had been confiscated by the South African authorities.
Dwelling on all the drama that occurred in 2020 could take us forever. The year 2020 was certainly eventful and for lack of a better word we can simply conclude that last year was a weighty year! But then they say let bygones be bygones and today we toast to all of the wonderful things lying ahead of us in this brand New Year 2021. God Bless!