June 4 2020
It is clear that politicians have engaged an extra-gear as we head towards the fresh presidential elections. You can see that from the way politicians are going far and wide to garner votes.
At the moment, a number of issues on the elections remain very vague, obscure. For one, will the elections be in earnest, given that the new commissioners at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will only be about a month old in office?
For that matter, the actual day for the polls has not yet been set. We have seen Parliament proposing May 19, then MEC came in with July 2 before it changed to June 23. Right now, it is not clear when the elections will be conducted.
It is further disturbing to have pockets of violence in this race. This violence is the aftermath of the personal attacks political leaders make on each other. For instance, it is out of order for former President Joyce Banda calling President Peter Mutharika a drunk. It was even out of order for the President to retaliate, calling JB a harlot. Malawi has no space for such verbal dysentery.
Where leaders sink so low in bringing each other down, their followers on the ground are more likely to engage in violent spates. That is why you will see overzealous supporters creating no-gone zones and stoning those seen as being on the other side. It is for this course that you will see journalists harassed, party offices razed and all sorts of sadistic acts.
And while at it, leader for the Tonse Alliance Lazarus Chakwera went to town saying it was not agreed if he will be a single term president if they win the elections. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader also indicated that Cabinet positions have not yet been spread.
That is in sharp contrast to what his running mate and UTM Party president Saulos Chilima who indicated that he would stand for the alliance after Chakwera’s term is over. He further indicated that he would take up the Ministry of Finance portfolio.
Chilima and Chakwera can’t benefit from these acts of pulling in different directions. This can disenfranchise their potential voters and it will be the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that will have the last laugh.
Looking at the MCP constitution, it is quite clear that one can only contest for party presidency twice. John Tembo tried to stand for the third time in 2013 but delegates at the party convention gave a resounding no to the proposal in that election that saw Chakwera taking the mantle.
In essence, Malawians will judge for themselves how Chakwera and Chilima’s relationship is for the good of the Republic or consolidating their personal gains.