The official campaign is earnestly on and it will end just two days before Polling Day, May 21 2019. Every institution, even MBC, has promised to be neutral although it continues to ignore the opposition. While the itinerary of the DPP presidential candidate is liberally aired and repeated free of charge, even the press conference jointly held by MCP and PP is shunned.
Didn’t we say, MBC cannot and will not change? MBC will never accommodate everybody. MEC knows this fact. The DPP knows this fact. The MCP and UDF and minor parties, like the UTM, and their candidates know this fact. Media monitors know this fact.
We once challenged this federal republic to alert us the day MBC becomes politically neutral in tone and angle, balanced in voice and placement, and thorough in content so that we retire this expedition and disband its membership. Anyway, as the people of Tumbukaland say, ugly people don’t die early we will live long enough to see the changes at the MBC.
In this year’s campaign, there are over 500 parliamentary candidates claiming to be independent and having no party affiliation. Our local lawyers, sorry, our local learned legal minds, disagree. They argue that all candidates have an affiliation. Those claiming to be independent are affiliated to ideas opposed to positions advanced by registered political parties. Or they are just disaffected with established and registered political parties. Political independence is therefore a political position.
If one gets voted for as an independent, it means the voters have agreed with one’s anti-establishment position, that is, the voters, too are against established and registered political parties and their ideologies (if they have any at all). Such MPs and councillors should not be allowed to switch sides while serving as MPs or Councillors because they have a strong anti-establishment constituency that should constitutionally be protected.
We have hired three lawyers, one from Ghandiland, one from the United Queendom, and the third from Ayatollahland to draft a Voter’s Bill to be presented in the first sitting of the next Parliament and assented to by the President by the end of May 2019. The proposed bill shall be called Independent Members of Parliament and Councillors Bill of 2019.
Professor, Dr Abiti Joyce Befu, MEGA-1 and MG 66 and we, her subjects, have decided to push for such a bill because since we reverted to multiparty democracy politicians have short-changed us, voters. They have behaved like that fable character, kalulu, the hare. At times like these, during campaign times like this, they come to us voters and pledge to go to Parliament and to the council and work for us voters.
When the elections are over, all of them (except who?), leave their constituencies and live in gated compounds with huge tall razor-wired and electrified perimeter fences, password protected gate chimes, and guarded by huge man-eating dogs from Hitlerland managed by an army of muscular Izozo.
In the living rooms, verandas, and yards of these posh compounds new political partnerships and alliances are mooted in our absence. Because they know that we voters have no voice beyond our ballot papers, because they know Section 64 was strategically removed from the Constitution, because they know that we are too politically polarised to assume our collective active citizenship, the MPs and even councillors don’t bother coming back to us, the interviewers that gave them the lucrative jobs of representing us in Parliament and the council chambers.
All we hear is that MP for Machinga Solola is now independent; MP for Thyolo Thaveni is no longer independent but has exercised his right to freedom of association and joined the ruling party. What? We ask. Joined the party we rejected?
So, to tether all Members of Parliament and Councillors to the issues, parties and positions they are promising today, a new law is being drafted. It will be the first bill to be debated by the new Parliament in May. This bill will contain sections borrowed from the current Malawi constitution on crossing the floor, a Fatwa on voter betrayal that includes a minimum punishment banning any member of Parliament or council that deserts his or her constituents to declare himself or herself differently during the lifetime of the parliament or council.
And what is Fatwa for a president who abandons his or her people? Presidential Defections Bill, 2019 has the answer. n