Hon. Folks, a lot has been said about last month’s elections that ushered in Government President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)-led Tonse Alliance ticket.
Peter Mutharika—immediate past president lost the election against the age-old adage which says opposition parties “don’t win” democratic elections but governments “lose them.”
In other words, the June 23 poll defined voters’ disapproval of Mutharika’s leadership delivery between May 2014 and May 2019.
Now, weeks after the DPP regime crushed out of government, normalcy has returned now, an indication that Malawians have fully digested and embraced the election results.
Hon. Folks, they say it is the majority that rules in a democracy and when democracy wins, everyone else also wins. Now the burden to deliver hangs on Chakwera and Chilima together with their new Cabinet announced on Wednesday.
It is high time Malawians forgot about the election and started focusing of the future because we have much more work to do together to move this country forward.
Which brings us to the subject for today; the country’s Independence.
Annually Malawi celebrates this day on July 6 and this year we commemorated 56 years since the founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda and other brave compatriots won our liberty from the callous British colonisation.
Of course the government suspended the traditional open celebration that was prearranged to coincide with the official inauguration of Chakwera and Chilima. However, the plan was called off at the eleventh hour due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
As said earlier, 56 years of independence mean very little for Malawi because this country has lost quite a lot in terms of development and other stride in all these past years.
That is why we say 56 years is just a number and should not blindfold our leaders from the fact that poverty remains rampant in Malawi and its ugly effects are still cornering millions of citizens to a tight spot.
In the past 56 years of independence, there have numerous vicious cycles of afflictions, mainly on politics, which have crippled the aspirations for a better Malawi among many ordinary citizens.
Again, in the past 26 years of modern democracy, we have seen many political leaders behaving like kings and queens—deserving the same respects and worship as chiefs—at the expense of the electorates.
Most of such leaders considered themselves to be above citizens and cared little about the plight of citizens whom they regarded as servants the moment elections are over.
Very soon around September 6 or thereabout, Chakwera will have clocked 100 days in office and there are many insights that he must consider while running government to avoid repeating the same mistakes that were committed by his predecessors.
Here are a few examples; between 1994 and 2004, Bakili Muluzi—the country’s first democratically elected president—led an administration whose key achievements included the setting up of legal institutions to govern the country’s new democracy.
Along the way, Muluzi and his cohorts lost direction and started thinking about ways of reversing those strides.
His ambition to extend his time beyond his mandate also reminded Malawians that the nation needs not to relax amid realistic chances of democratic reversal through such politicians.
In 2004, the late Bingu wa Mutharika succeeded Muluzi and he began his term of office by reversing some of the major political and economic obstacles that rendered his predecessor’s administration unpopular.
In terms of governance, the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s eight year rule presented another era in which citizens were relooking at the the direction of the country, following a crisis after the UDF.
This mainly had to do with the country’s sour relationship with the international community, due to, among others, deep-rooted corruption and the integrity of key governance institutions such as the Anti-Coruption Bureau (ACB).
Just like Muluzi and Kamuzu before him, the late Mutharika significantly narrowed the political space and the country recorded more violations and threats to various freedoms of citizens.
I will not dwell on Kamuzu and Peter Mutharika for obvious reasons. Kamuzu’s feats are the wall for all to see while time is still too young for anyone to forget Peter Mutharika successes and failures in office. Now, Malawians do not expect the new government to take us back to these scenarios. All the citizens are looking forward to see is the land of Canaan as promised during the campaign.