Honourable folks, MCP presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera, alongside his running mate, UTM Party leader who is also the country’s Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima on Wednesday submitted their nomination paper to MEC ahead of the fresh presidential election on July 2.
Folks, judging from the crowds that thronged Mount Soche in Blantyre City to witness the charismatic duo, this is a political alliance to be reckoned with. It is a political union Malawians hope will usher in a new era of change.
It is an open secret that a majority of Malawians do not have any confidence in APM and his DPP-led administration to govern with integrity and prioritise national interests above narrow personal ambitions and political aspirations.
Laz and SKC know Malawians are fed-up with the DPP’s perceived culture of impunity, corruption, nepotism and political malfeasance.
Presumably, that is why Laz’s speech centred on rooting out that toxic culture, which has for the past 14 years or so, only benefited a privileged few, and set a framework for a prosperous future that benefits all, regardless of political affiliation.
No one in his right mind would argue with the former Reverend that this is not what Malawi needs. But unfortunately, I am disinclined to agree with his implicit suggestion that all the rot will stop once the governing DPP is out of power.
Laz erroneously assumed that all the corrupt agents in Malawi are in the DPP and corruption will stop once they are out. He cannot be further from the truth. Institutionalised corruption existed in Malawi long before the emergence of the DPP and will likely continue if, we as a nation are not careful.
While a regime change would be a significant step forward in rooting out institutionalised corruption, it remains only that. One step. There will still be a journey of a thousand miles to go before we get to the promised land where merit reigns supreme over political connections.
Malawi has a track record of regimes that have risen riding on the wave of public disillusionment over its predecessors. UDF, DPP and PP all emerged promising to stamp out corruption, only to turn out worse than the regimes they replaced.
Folks, recent history will reveal that some of the “corrupt agents” that presided over some of the worst atrocities during the DPP’s reign have successfully infiltrated the Tonse Alliance and are repeating their unfulfilled promises to build a better Malawi.
Former DPP officials who are implicated in the murder of former Malawi Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa and former ministers who abused their power during the height of the DPP power to send their children and relatives to diplomatic missions are now in league with Laz in his bid to reform Malawi.
Even some from the infamous “Midnight Six”, who tried to subvert constitutional law and usurp then State vice president Joyce Banda from ascending to power.
Not to mention PP, which presided over one of the worst plunders of public resources and cost Malawians billions of State funds after donors disillusioned with the rot decided to withdraw budget support.
Folks, Laz and SKC talk a very big game about changing Malawi for the better, but their willingness to wine and dine with some of the people implicated in corruption and other vices does not inspire confidence.
More so when he is so keen to admonish corruption in the governing DPP and is conspicuously silent when some of his newly-acquired political bedfellows have not been cleared of the same.
SKC in October 2018 told the BBC’s Zainab Badawi that selective application of justice in the prosecution of in corruption cases would not benefit Malawians.
He said at the time:
“If we are to selectively pursue corruption cases, then we are not leaving up to our commitment. We need a situation where from top to bottom, everyone who is suspected of corruption must be brought under investigations, and if the case is proven, prosecuted and sent to jail.
“That is the only time that we are going to be seen as really living up to our promise. Otherwise, it’s just rhetoric, and some of us are tired of the rhetoric. We think we need to take drastic action.”
Folks, 16 months on, Malawians are still fed the same rhetoric and zero action. Which begs the question, are we, as a nation ready for change? Or will be fed the same nonsense under a different regime?