When former president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda lost the multiparty election in 1994, Malawians breathed a sigh of relief.
Due to the excitement of getting freedom after three decades of dictatorship, some people could even openly say “never again should MCP be in power”. All this was said because people had suffered a lot with political atrocities.
However, people did not know what the future was holding. Undoubtedly, people thought that their lives would be much better. Probably they even assumed that the economy would improve as opposed to a one-man show in dictatorship.
Unfortunately, this was not to be the case because of greed. For the past 25 years the Malawi economy had been on an unstoppable downward spiral. Those people who were doing well during Kamuzu’s era have slowly, but surely, joined the poor.
In general terms, Malawians have economically suffered more in democracy than during the dictatorship. This has been one of the main reasons for crying for the return of the MCP government. One can only hope that the MCP government, under the Tonse Alliance, has realised this as well, that Malawians want a better life.
Despite running a failed government, it was surprising to hear president Peter Mutharika on several occasions declaring that as long as he was alive, MCP or Lazarus Chakwera would never rule Malawi again. Honestly speaking, this was myopic. As it is, MCP is back in power under the leadership of Lazarus Chakwera who defeated Mutharika by a very wide margin of votes.
Meanwhile, Mutharika should have known better that it is up to the people of Malawi to chose a president and that it is not the duty of the incumbent president to decide who should rule the country. Therefore, Mutharika’s comment about MCP not rising to power was irrelevant. Naturally, and more likely, Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are now searching to find out what went wrong for them to lose to MCP. The bottom line here is that Mutharika’s government failed to lead the people and the country.
Some of the obvious reasons that made Mutharika to fail are that he allowed corruption, stealing of public resources and total abuse of power to take place without any control.
Furthermore, he had no time to listen to anybody, including his huge team of advisers who seemed to have no real power to advise him but just to run errands. In the end, Mutharika’s government had nothing to offer as the president watched Malawians suffer.
Meanwhile, Mutharika’s campaign for the fresh election was a total flop as he was naïve to talk about changing Malawi to look like USA, Canada or Singapore. It made no sense that Mutharika would be able to transform the country so much after his first six years were a flop. He failed even to provide basics to the people of Malawi.
His promises for development were not fulfilled and the best he did was just to do things in half-measures such as not completing roads and bridges. He also had a bad system of merely planting foundation stones for projects he pretty well knew he would not accomplish. This gave false hopes to people who later on might have found out that it was just a way of torturing them.
The other thing that made Mutharika fail was his idea of having armed militia youths known as cadets. They would go round and beat up people and destroy property at will. Indeed, people started disassociating with the DPP because of these untamable youths.
After declaring that MCP would never rule Malawi again, one wonders what Mutharika is thinking now that MCP is back in power. No condition is permanent and the advice is, in politics, ‘never say never’.n