11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.—Jeremiah 29:11-13
Promises of a new national order of unity and building bridges coated the nomination papers presentation speech of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera.
Chakwera unveiled Saulos Chilima, who is also State Vice-President and UTM Party leader, as his running mate. Chakwera is leading an alliance of nine political parties.
In his speech, Chakwera promised to create a Malawi that is favourable to all people.
But even after Chakwera’s brave face and encouraging words, and the pomp of Thursday’s nomination papers presentation of Mutharika, a dark cloud shadows Malawi as political violence rocks the nation amid the rising numbers of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic cases.
The latest political violence occurred on Monday when unidentified assailants petrol-bombed a UTM office in Area 22 in Lilongwe, injuring seven people. Three have since died from the injuries they sustained.
Surprisingly, when President Mutharika met Public Affairs Committee (PAC) recently, he gagged them not to speak out on political violence, allegedly perpetrated by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Instead, his statement was full of tirade against PAC.
It is crucial that someone informs President Mutharika that the title State President, entails that he is president of all Malawians.
A timely reminder must go to all the candidates: your campaign promises are never so far away in the hearts and minds of the people. This is particularly true when the country is hit by a crisis. Malawi is currently facing Covid-19 pandemic, a health crisis fraught with social and economic implications.
During the meeting with Mutharika, PAC advised that there is need to stop politicising the fight against the pandemic.
As Malawi moves into campaign period, a gentle reminder for candidates is that they should be aware of events on the pandemic.
The time is ripe for Malawi leaders to stop listening with their pockets but they should pay attention to drumbeats of interest groups and countries that aim to manipulate their choices.
There are some great developments in Africa. There are reports that Ethiopia, the seat of the African Union, this week opened its country to a team of Chinese doctors to help it fight the pandemic.
This is the first time Chinese doctors are helping another country. Italy and South Africa invited Cuban doctors. Cuba has lots of doctors. Malawi has diplomatic relations with Cuba and several Malawian medical students are studying in Cuba. Malawi should look to these countries before approaching China.
The good developments on the continent for candidates to consider include discoveries and inventions etched by African researchers and manufacturers. The first is the Senegalese test kit.
One wonders, has anyone on the Presidential task force on Covid-19 thought about placing an order for this kit? Or is the Task Force waiting for donations from the North? Malawians must no longer look to receiving handouts; some have come laced with abortion, sterilisation, or killer elements.
Therefore, any person seeking a position of leadership should certainly be looking for means to get their hands on these inventions.
Waiting for donations from the North will only lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases and needless deaths.
Long live genuine democracy!n