Malawians will indeed live to tell the story of challenge from president Peter Mutharika to President Lazarus Chakwera.
Though the actual transition was peaceful and smooth it was the process of change which was nail-biting and challenging. To start with, the majority of Malawians got tired and fed up with the Mutharika government because of rampant corruption, abuse of power and stealing of public resources, which brought untold suffering.
The anomaly to this was that from time-to-time Mutharika would talk about how best his government had performed and corruption was just casually talked about, without any solution. In fact, there was an obvious resistance by his government to leave power. In the process, it created a lot of fear by using DPP militias known as cadets, who showed no mercy to those organisations and individuals calling for Mutharika to stand down.
Fortunately, despite all the resistance by Mutharika, the majority of Malawians used the ballot sensibly and brought in the much-needed change. Mutharika was denied a second-term. President Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), under the Tonse Alliance, became President.
Honestly speaking, the change started with a lot of challenges. Expectations were high that the Chakwera administration was to urgently reverse the wrongs of the previous administration, especially in decisively dealing with alleged corruption and loss of public resources.
Meanwhile, it is appreciated that Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima started at a very high note. Various alleged suspects in the previous government were arrested and taken to court. Obviously, most Malawians were excited by this that, finally, justice is taking its course. However, some DPP leaders were reported complaining that the Tonse Alliance is just aiming at destroying them by arrests. What DPP might have forgotten is that they were once in power and could do anything without thinking about the law. To them, power was enough to protect them.
At the moment, what is not appreciated about the Tonse Alliance government is the fact that the steam it started with is suddenly dying down. There are no more new cases of suspects being taken to court and even old cases are at a standstill. If the government has decided to remain silent, there are repercussions. People might conclude that the would-be culprits have been forgiven.
Such action would show that corruption and stealing of public money and property is silently legalised. In the process, people might stop trusting Chakwera’s government. What is worrisome is that if the government is deliberately taking its time, the stolen money and property by the suspects will disappear into thin air. The poor Malawians are more interested in getting back their money and property.
When Chakwera was Leader of Opposition in Parliament, he once narrated countless outstanding issues to be brought to book. This ranged from tractorgate to cement import gate with a number of cashgates and mysterious murders in between.
Now that he is power, Chakwera is expected to start sorting out these cases one-by-one, without fear or favour. One might think that the government is worried about future repercussions once it is out of power. There is no need for such fear. Instead, the government should just aim at instilling the spirit of rule of law to all people, including those with political power. Justice must always be available.
Lastly, Chakwera and his government must face the challenge without any fear or favour, but live up to his promised ‘servant leadership’.