In a democracy, the majority of the leaders are elected into power. After being elected out of many people, such leaders seem to think that they have the monopoly of wisdom.
In addition, power blinds such people so much that they even fail to think and accept that many more people have been in leadership positions before them. Therefore, it is not right for any elected leader to take themselves as very special.
The danger of a leader who feels special is that sooner than later he or she becomes a dictator. At this level, such leaders start claiming that they cannot see anyone who can take over from them. With such mentality they connive with some legislators to change the Constitution to allow for extension of term limits. Former president Bakili Muluzi tried to do that after claiming that he had many programmes and projects to finish. His third/open-term bids were shot down in Parliament.
In Malawi, the term limit for the President is two terms of five years each. This is not engraved in stone that there cannot be a one-term President. This depends on the people who assess the performance of the incumbent.
Naturally, an unsuccessful President does not need two terms. Any sensible President should have a self-assessment on their performance and should stop living in denial that they cannot be a poor performer. The President must always check what his or her advisers are saying about his/her performance. Most likely, the advisers might be deceiving the President, that he/she is a star performer so that they can remain on the job.
Meanwhile, experience in Malawi has shown that State presidents are not willing to groom a successor and the most relevant one would be their vice-president. Sadly, this is never done because they are at logger-heads with their deputies from day one.
All this is a sign of living in denial that no one can be equal to them. It is myopic to think that no one can take over from them. What they fail to realise is that the State presidency position is rotational and no matter what, one day they have to leave. Therefore, being in denial is a waste of time.
For the past 12 months or so Malawians have been pre-occupied in discussing the failed May 21 2019 presidential election which the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) nullified on February 3 2020. This was after President Peter Mutharika had already been sworn in for his second-term.
Obviously, he was not satisfied with the ruling because he thought he had won. He then took the case to the Supreme Court which. unfortunately for him, withheld the ruling of the ConCourt.
To show that he is in total denial, some media outlets report that he claims that the judges or the Judiciary have actually overthrown his government, and he has no kind words for them.
In support of the President, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) organised some demonstrations denouncing the judges. In fact, most Malawians have been living with a mistaken belief that the President and DPP will always be the winners in any court case that they are involved with. The February 3 2020 landmark ruling has proved this belief as a fallacy.
One cannot be wrong to say that after the loss of the election as well as the court cases, the President is in denial. Therefore, he seems to find no reason he should sign electoral bills as soon as possible. For example, people want the 50 percent +1 bill for deciding the winner. His delay on bills makes people desperate. In fact, the President’s denial affects people who might not know which way the country is heading to.
It is obvious that Malawians are looking for a servant leadership who also ralises that no one is above the law. n