It does not need a genius to know that Malawians are desperate for change of government. The main signs of this are the mammoth crowds of people who voluntarily flock to political rallies addressed by Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and lately, to rallies by Vice-President Saulos Chilima of the United Transformation Movement (UTM).
The desperation for change has come about because of the suffering and torture by the Peter Mutharika government. For the past four years, Malawians have been complaining about their suffering, but to no avail. The usual response to people’s complaints is that government has no money. Only a child can accept such a response. Otherwise, adults know very well that high figures of money are being stolen from public coffers. If government has no money, where do thieves in government get the money to steal?
The sad thing is that the majority of the thieves are people in high positions in government. Surprisingly, it seems no caution statements are taken from them, let alone, being questioned by the authorities. Instead, they continue to steal and enjoy taxpayers’ money at will as they seem to feel they are under the protection of the Executive.
Meanwhile, it can be said that all the abuses stated above, plus many more out there and while the ordinary people are being ignored, is the main reason Malawians want a change of government. The Mutharika Government seems to have no control measures in using taxpayers’ money.
Imagine, a week never passes without a big fraud story in one ministry or the other, including parastatals. Having a government with no control measures in spending money is like having no government at all. Fortunately, in this country, there are active CSOs and parliamentary committees which are effective watchdogs, and they go beyond this. They expose all the issues which government might plan to sweep under the carpet. If CSOs were not checking on government, one can only guess the level of abuse. It is not exaggeration to say that the country would look like a war-zone.
It is strange that the president and his government look so unconcerned about their poor performance. Instead of looking for solutions to alleviate people’s suffering, they are busy bragging about development. If there was, indeed, meaningful development in the country, people would not be asking for change.
All being equal, the change of government can come. One can only hope there will be no setbacks during the elections. Setbacks usually come in form of rigging. Therefore, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) should not be an agent of rigging. It is, generally, believed that MEC can rig for the party in power as a way of thanking the appointing authority for the leadership at MEC. In fact, MEC should not be suspected to practise favouritism, which can make people lose a chance for change. Josef Stalin of Russia once said “those who vote decide nothing but those who count the votes decide everything”. This shows how important MEC is, especially at counting the votes.
The other thing, which can deny the much-needed change, is the tendency of those in leadership now declaring that leaders from other parties cannot run this country. This is wrong thinking. Provided there is a trusted civil service and hardworking government agents, the government will be successful. No particular people are anointed to be the only presidential material. For Malawi to change for the better, change must be given a chance, and that will be in 2019.