In this interview, Our Staff Writer James Chavula engages Citizen for Transformation (CFT) movement leader Timothy MTAMBO on his new lease of life in politics. Excerpts:
How do you rate your few months in politics?
It’s a success. The benchmark of this rating is the objective that drove me into frontline politics.
The short-term objective is to replace the Mutharika accidental presidency with an administration that inspires hope for a prosperous collective destiny. The country is surely getting rid of the DPP administration in the forthcoming fresh presidential election. The long-term objective is to orientate the citizenry to their mandatory responsibility to participate in governance not only by voting but also demanding what is due to the nation and holding public administrators into their lane.
You left the civil society at the height of calls for Jane Ansah to resign. How do you feel that she has finally gone down?
I feel angry that she has, all along, wasted Malawi’s time. Had she resigned at an appropriate time, when calls for her resignation just began, especially after being found incompetent by both the High Court and the Parliament, we would have had new MEC leadership at the moment. This country has wasted a lot of time and has been thrown in a crisis because of her clinging to power. I cannot thank her for that.
Is her fall enough to guarantee the electorate polls everyone can trust?
No at all. It is not even a slight guarantee. Our demand has been consistent: There is need to flash out all current officials at MEC. They were all found incompetent, so they lack legal and moral standing to preside over any national election.
Under HRDC, I led a resilient fight for the resignation of Ansah and all commissioners. The real objective of the fight was to ensure electoral justice for the people of Malawi and the preservation of the peoples’ right to elect a leader of their choice in a credible, free and fair election. As long as the commissioners and chief elections officer and others in the top hierarchy are still at MEC and the elections management system remains unadjusted yet, the Ansah’s resignation is effectively useless.
Apart from new and impartial personnel at MEC, we require cleaning out the polluted data and adjust the results management system through expert audit by independent IT practitioners under the observation of IT experts from all electoral stakeholders. We need a system and human resource that can be trusted by all.
We cannot be so stupid to accept these incompetent and fraudulent commissioners, the polluted voters roll and the compromised management system in managing these presidential elections. If these people think they will manage this election, then they are joking big time.
From civil society and detention to politics and all those crowds, you seem to go where not many Malawians want to go. What keeps you going?
It is the love I have for my country and the support that I get from the people of Malawi everywhere I go. You have seen what happens everywhere I go. Malawians love their country and aspire for change. They have always stood and fought with me. Besides, the shared love for this country, I have faith in God. I keep going knowing God is leading the way.
I have a conviction that God did not condemn Malawi to poverty, stagnation and suffering. I am convinced Malawi is suffering due to irresponsible and unpatriotic political leadership. I verily believe that Malawi has capacity to do better and my philosophy when addressing issues that affect people is that the people must be involved in the redress process. A real power is in the people and my approach has always been engaging with the people. In this way, the people feel valued and they return love and support.
If you are offered a political office in case the MCP-UTM alliance win the presidency, will you take it?
Well, I have never thought about the alliance government offering me a political office. That has never crossed my mind because for now, I am busy fighting together with Malawians to kick out the corrupt, nepotistic and cruel regime of Mutharika and his DPP. If DPP will be defeated, that will be my biggest reward. That is what will make me happy and I will be satisfied. My role, thereafter, will be to keep working and fighting for and harnessing a better Malawi. My main aim is to serve Malawians. If I were, for example, given an opportunity to serve them through a political office in the alliance administration, I would first of all assess whether I would serve Malawians better in that capacity than in the place where I am.
What three things will you strive to change as a matter of urgency in case the alliance you endorse wins the fresh poll?
I wish for them to, firstly, declare an immediate war against corruption by, among other approaches, making quick investigations, arrests and prosecutions in all corruption crimes. Corruption is the deadliest monster that has robbed this country its progress. Money that would otherwise be put to deliver well on public service has been drained off by corruption activities.
Secondly, I would like them to end nepotism, tribalism and cronyism by ensuring that only competent and deserving people are employed in government and all public institutions. Further, the new administration should ensure that there is equal distribution of resources and development in all regions across the country. This will translate into effective public service delivery in the areas of road infrastructure, electricity and clean water, thriving hospitals and public schools among others. This would also result into economically empowered Malawians and stable country’s economy.
Thirdly, I would like the new regime to emphasise and walk the talk on the rule of law. All governance and public service institutions, such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Malawi Police Service (MPS) and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), must operate in strict accordance with the law without any undue political influence whatsoever. This is very possible just as the Office of Ombudsman has demonstrated over the recent years. There has to be a settled culture of constitutionalism and respect of human rights in Malawi. On the heels of all these, I would want to see a unified Malawi. I would want to see a healing Malawi. All in all, I want to see a capable and democratic State driven by its people and that is why the CFT is billed as the People Power Movement.
What’s the source of funding for your political activity?
CFT is a movement that is sponsored by Malawians both in the diaspora and within Malawi. This movement has a huge diaspora family of Malawian origin who are equally committed to the struggle that we are championing. We want it to remain funded by Malawians themselves because we do not want to be influenced by agenda authored by outsiders. We want Malawians themselves to author their own agenda and destiny.