A group of ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) followers last Saturday marched along Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre to demonstrate against individuals “wishing President Peter Mutharika bad luck”.
Mutharika, who returned on Sunday, had overstayed in the United States (US) where he was attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by a month, thereby igniting speculation here at home that he was unwell.
So the protesters, led by their DPP regional governor for the South, Charles Mchacha, thought of marching to silence Malawians.
You should have seen the cadets. Most of them clad in party colours jumped up and down the streets of Blantyre; from Chichiri Shopping Mall to the party’s headquarters near Blantyre Sports Club (BSC), singing songs against the press, ‘evil people on social media’ and rumour-mongers while hoisting placards boasting that their leader was in good health.
The DPP cared less that the protest march disturbed traffic in Blantyre and it should not have taken place in the first place.
I know Mchacha is not the type of a man who will read this article, but those who care, please pass on this message.
The protest marches he has launched will soon come to haunt him, his party and the people who granted him permission to disturb the peace in Blantyre on Saturday.
If DPP and its leaders do not know people in this country are going through a lot of economic challenges apart from the irritating electricity load-shedding and water shortages.
Word on the street is that Mchacha should have kept quiet rather than provoking the people who are ‘boiling inside’ and such ill-timed and misplaced protest marches will just unleash protests that this DPP government will not like.
If Mchacha and his followers truly hate lies, then they should be fighting a culture of silence and lies that the party is so good at. He should be fighting the State House team for lying to Malawians. He should be fighting government spokesperson Malison Ndau for misinforming the nation.
By the way, who does not know that DPP is fond of suppressing freedom of expression? Does he think we are not aware that the protest march is one in a series of steps towards trying to stifle the media?
One sure thing that Mr Mchacha and his regime of fear and silence should know is that their antics will not work. In fact, the media and the social media are not to blame for embarrassment that the State House is in right now.
What the DPP did on Saturday will not only ignite the anger in Malawians to lust for protests but will also remind them that DPP only listens when people take to the streets.
In case he has forgotten, Malawians have taken to the streets before and when they do, no government in this country has won the street war. I can remind him of ‘We Want Change’ protests that helped to oust the mighty Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda (may his soul rest in eternal peace).
Malawians also took to the streets to protest Bakili Muluzi’s third term bid—a bid Democratic Front (UDF) Young Democrats thought would be a walk in the park.
Memories are also fresh of a protest against DPP’s abuse of power and maladministration on July 20 2011 when former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika challenged to meet the protesters on streets, the protests in which 20 people were gunned down.
All I am trying to say is that Mchacha and his DPP must not start a culture of street protests again. Protests are not pleasant, perhaps that is why government was so quick to arrest Billy Mayaya on Tuesday. n
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”—Sun Tzu, The Art of War.