Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have launched their manifestos. In general, both manifestos zero in on how the parties are going to change things to improve lives of Malawians. What is pleasing to note is that both manifestos talk about Malawi being for all Malawians. Therefore, they will ensure that there is equality.
It can be safely said that the inequality in Malawi has come about with the advent of multiparty democracy. During the one-party rule under Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda Malawians were all treated as one and that they were equal before the law. In fact, merit was the deciding factor on most things. The President used to emphasise that Malawians should not be divided by tribe. Indeed, Kamuzu being a Chewa by tribe, did not favour Chewas. This is not the case in a multiparty system whereby people who belong to the tribe of the President think it is ‘their time to eat’.
Experience has shown that inequality in Malawi is associated with multiparty. It all starts with the leader of the ruling party, who is the State President, without any remorse he takes members of his party to be more Malawian than the rest of the people in the country.
Meanwhile, it seems to be by policy design that segregation has been practised more by the two DDP–led governments. People have felt more denied of opportunities in their own country. Public appointments into boards and executives of parastatals, government contracts, ambassadors and high commissioners etc have been a preserve of the ruling party regardless of whether or not they qualify. Disregarding merit is one of the reasons parastatals have failed to perform. Even foreign embassies seem to be just there for issuing visas and not attracting investors and tourists to Malawi.
It is common knowledge that the unqualified people are given the task of running government because of the appeasement policy of the ruling party. Leaving the government in the hands of clueless people is one of the reasons Malawi continues to be poor.
Imagine, segregation and appeasement goes as far as giving out loans. When the government gets a loan from outside, it is expected to be paid back by every tax payer in Malawi. However, when accessing such a loan, priority is usually giving to sympathisers of the ruling party. President Bingu wa Mutharika was very open about this. After he has secured some money to give loans to youths for businesses, he openly stated that his priority was DPP youths because they were his own ‘children’. Most people were shocked to hear this from a state President who was supposed to be a leader for every Malawian and was supposed to treat people equally regardless of their tribe or party affiliation.
MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s Saulos Chilima have been saying that once voted into power, they will make sure that every Malawian will have an opportunity to feel that they belong to this country and enjoy the fruits of equality. They are promising that policies will be based on merit and not home-boy syndrome.
Most Malawians are obviously sick and tired of feeling rejected just because they do not belong to the ruling party. Any sensible leader should know that in 1993, Malawians opted for a multiparty system of government, which must be respected. Therefore, belonging to opposition parties is not illegal.
Malawi is desperately in need of meaningful development, which cannot be achieved by a ruling party only, but all Malawians. Therefore, choose a leader that will embrace all Malawians. n