As it were, no political change comes on a silver platter. People have to literally fight and make sacrifices for change to come. Malawi has gone through a number of political changes.
In 1964, the country became independent from the colonial rule. The road to independence was not easy. Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda and other leaders who were advocating for change were once imprisoned by the colonial powers.
This did not discourage them as they expected it as one of the sacrifices they had to make in order to bring independence to Malawi, which they finally got. Kamuzu got into power under one-party rule (the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Three decades later, Malawians got fed up with one-party rule, which made Kamuzu a dictator.
Once again, people had to be to make sacrifices and fight for multiparty democracy. In the process, people like the late Chakufwa Chihana had to be imprisoned. People did not stop agitating for change. Kamuzu called for a Referendum, which proved that, indeed, Malawians wanted a multiparty system of government and Bakili Muluzi came into power.
That was the genesis of economic problems as most companies were sold and many Malawians became jobless.
When Muluzi wanted a third-term, Malawians fought tooth-and-nail not to allow him any extension, mostly because there was no need to have another version of dictatorship. In fact, his rule was not economically successful.
Meanwhile, Malawians are being called out, again, to fight for a change in leadership of the country. With all due respect, the Peter Mutharika government has not achieved much to write home about. It is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of Malawians have suffered a lot in the past six years.
All this is because Mutharika’s rule is riddled with corruption, stealing and general abuse of government resources, bribery and political violence which has made security in the country a complete nightmare. What is surprising, though, is that the leadership has failed to control these malpractices—whether it is deliberate or not, only government can tell.
It is the suffering that Malawians are going through that probably forced Vice-President Chilima to come up with his own party, the UTM, to join in the fight for leadership change.
To make sure that leadership change happens, opposition parties have formed an alliance under the leadership of Lazarous Chakwera, the MCP president who will be the torch-bearer in the July 2020 presidential fresh election. People have sacrificed their positions in order to save Malawians. Just imagine, Chilima has sacrificed the position of being a UTM torch-bearer and he is now a running mate to Chakwera. Even Sidik Mia has made a sacrifice by giving up his running mate position to Chakwera. These sacrifices and many more out there are being made so as to bring change and free Malawians from the shackles of suffering. Sacrifices cannot be complete without mentioning the various activities such as the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) members who were allegedly petrol-bombed in their houses and offices just because they are calling for change.
Experience has shown that Malawians are very resilient and will continue to fight for change till they get it. The only advice is that people should continue making sacrifices and vote for change. They have made changes in the past and there is nothing to stop them now.