As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate in the just-ended elections, Peter Mutharika, begins a second term as President of Malawi, he would do well to remember that the majority of voters did not choose him as their leader for the next five years.
Ego aside, the fact that only 38 percent of the votes cast were for Mutharika should remind him of the illusion that the win was a ‘DPP landslide’ and make an attempt to reconcile himself with the fact that only a small population agree with his administration policies.
Mutharika is a beneficiary of the long-accepted voting pattern that has kept Malawi Congress Party (MCP) out of power for the last six elections: relying too much on the support of a tribe or region where the candidate originates.
If it were not for the unquestionable loyalty of his kinsmen in the Lomwe belt, Mutharika would also not have been enjoying the inauguration he enjoyed yesterday.
It is not just the knowledge that 62 percent of the votes cast were not for him that should keep Mutharika on his toes, what should keep him and the DPP administration awake at night should be the millions of eyes and ears tuned to every little action that they take going forward.
Once the partying at the Njamba Freedom Park is over tomorrow, the DPP should conduct a postmortem on why the majority of Malawians had no trust in their ability to lead this country.
DPP should wonder why promises of turning Malawi into Singapore, Germany or the whole Europe did not excite them.
Deep down, the DPP knows why their support has not increased much despite the myriad of development projects ‘across the country’ as their campaign had us believe.
The nepotism that DPP has practised these past years did not endear them to a lot of Malawians, for a good reason.
One appointment after another, the DPP spat in the face of Malawians who pointed out that nepotism should not be practised in a country whose tribe sensitivities simmers and can erupt with enough provocation.
Corruption has become so legalised that people do not bat an eyelid when given evidence that their president is in the pocket of a group of business people who pay him kickbacks in the form of millions and vehicles when he auctions this country to the highest bidder.
Sadly, the corruption does not begin and end at State House, it has become so systemic and normalised that those who partake in it know they are morally and ethically dead but do not change.
Mutharika must know how those who are close to him have illegally enriched themselves the past five years. He cannot be so clueless as many believe him to be, but if he does not have control over this government, then Malawians are in bigger trouble than imagined.
The new Mutharika administration would also do well to reign in the impunity of his followers that has characterised the DPP for a long time. No person should be above the law just because he wears blue or is ‘ana a dad’.
The obvious inequality in this country should cause him to pause and act. Mutharika benefits little by keeping the majority of people in poverty because their poverty did not give them the landslide victory that his DPP imagined they would get on May 21.
The people have spoken and they have told the winner of this election that they deserve more than a few crumbs to the poor in the name of community colleges and Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
These have not endeared APM’s government to the majority of Malawians and business as usual going forward might just cost the DPP the support that his successor will desperately need come 2024.