The age-old saying, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ has to apply in the case of the first phase of the voter registration exercise which ended on Monday.
The blame for failing to prepare rests on so many shoulders but at the top of the list is Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which knew fully well and backed by history, that to win in 2019, the people of the Central Region would have to register en masse.
Politics of regionalism cannot be ignored and MCP’s base is and has always been Central Region since 1994.
MCP should blame itself for being docile and expecting Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the poorly-funded civil society organisations (CSOs) to enter its backyard and start tilling.
Resources notwithstanding, MCP has the Members of Parliament and councillors in the region who should mobilised people in their stronghold; visiting hospitals, churches and markets pushing people to the centres.
The consequences of Central Region voters staying away from registration are dire. Such action means another five years of the incompetence, theft and thuggery of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Supporters of the DPP are just as tribalistic as those of MCP, even more so. Chances are high that Peter Mutharika could win the 2019 election, especially when there is no better alternative to the people of the South.
The people of Salima, Kasungu and Dedza have unwittingly handed DPP a win by staying away from registration centres.
Right now, it is well and good to foam at the mouth because MEC refuses to heed calls for a repeat of the exercise but that will not take voters to the registration centres in the remaining districts under phase two.
The low turnout observed at the centres should propel the opposition political parties in this country into a time of reflection. A citizenry that is fed up with the kind of leadership experienced in the past four years would rush to register to vote, knowing full well its the only means to change things.
If people are unwilling to register, citing zero benefits they get from political leadership then Malawi has bigger problems than poverty and disease.
However, MEC cannot conclude that people have chosen not to register, that would be sweeping under the carpet all the challenges experienced in this first phase.
There is evidence that equipment malfunctioned and people willing to register could not wait when they had businesses, families and livelihoods they had put on hold.
As it stands now, thousands of voters have been disenfranchised and MEC has shown little interest to redo this exercise for the simple reason of funding.
The opposition should remember that funding for this election is almost 85 percent from the government purse and this will dictate what happens in this election cycle: He who pays the piper plays the tune.
The DPP has little to lose when thousands of disenfranchised voters in the Central Region who would have voted for the opposition anyway are out of the picture.
MCP is on its own and it has little time to put its house in order and rally the masses, its historical voters to go and register.
Can MCP for once act like a government-in-waiting, instil hope in the citizenry and stop with the docility that has characterised it for the past four years?
This incumbent administration is winning this election without even trying too hard. Wake up MCP, there is still four districts to go.