Malawi has a Constitution which clearly stipulates the requirement for any Malawian who wants to stand for presidency.
It is not up to the sitting President to choose who is to be his or her successor, that task lies with the voters.
Therefore, it comes as a surprise when President Peter Mutharika usually says that it has to be over his dead body for Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to be President of Malawi. This is a completely wrong mindset.
Mutharika should know better that he would not have been President if his predecessors had such a negative mentality. In fact, it will not be up to a sitting President to hand pick the next President. Malawi is a democracy and no leader should try to make it a dictatorship. Such a leader should be rest assured that Malawians will fight against him or her.
It must also be mentioned here that after MCP lost 1994 elections, most people thought that the party would go into oblivion. However, MCP has survived to the extent that it is one of the biggest parties in the country. Whether one likes it or not, it is the failure of running a government by the ruling party and its leadership which has brought MCP to the forefront. Malawians still remember Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s achievements in running the country.
At the moment, Malawians are engaged in the worst street demonstrations about their alleged stolen May 21 2019 stolen vote; hence they are calling for Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah to resign. Meanwhile, it is appreciated that the election case is in court, but that does not mean Ansah cannot resign.
At the moment, she is adamant and says she finds no reason to stand down. Probably she thinks she has done a commendable job of delivering credible elections. According to her, this might be so, but some Malawians beg to differ with her opinion.
What is most painful to such Malawians is that their stolen vote would have brought the much-needed new government. President Mutharika and his government might not realise that the majority of Malawians are sick and tired of a government which seems not to take care of them. People are fed up with a government which specialises in corruption and, worse still, abuse taxpayers’ money for personal gains of those who have power.
It is common knowledge that the media is awash with stories of all manner of bribery taking place. Just imagine, instead of working hard to improve situations that government is criticised about, they prefer to bribe critics with huge sums of money in a bid to silence them; some are also silenced with lucrative positions or government contracts. If they fail to bribe them, they unleash the wrath of the cadets who are a militia wing of the ruling party. In the process of all this, the common man suffers as the economy is on the unstoppable downward spiral.
Being in a bribery culture, it is painful to hear allegations that taxpayers’ money, in billions, was used to bribe MEC officials to have people’s votes stolen.
Lastly, it must be understood that the presidency is not a monopoly for a family, region, tribe etc. Any qualifying Malawian has a right to lead the country.