It all started with the great expectations that people of Malawi had about the May 21 2019 elections, to use their ballot to bring the much-needed change of government.
The wind of change has been blowing across the county for five years or so. In fact, it is human nature that if something goes wrong, there is urgent need to make it right. As it were, the majority of Malawians have continuously been saying that President Peter Mutharika and his government are failing the people; therefore, there is need to bring in another government.
It is obvious that the failing of the Mutharika government came about because of running out of ideas on how best to control corruption and total abuse of taxpayers’ money, with extravagance of spending public resources. In the process, Malawians continue to be perpetually poor.
Unfortunately, due to condoning fraudulent activities, people’s votes seem to have been deliberately stolen by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), to maintain the Mutharika government. This has angered Malawians. They do not want to stay idle, but show their bitterness even though the election dispute case is in court; hence, the widespread demonstrations.
What happened on July 4 and 5 2019 had not been done before. Demonstrators were calling for the resignation of MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah. Slowly, but surely, the demonstrations turned violent. Very likely, people were expecting the President to address the nation on the first day so as to stop the violence. But he was silent as people went ahead to destroy private and public property.
Obviously, his silence might have been taken as if he does not care. One of the most famous American Presidents, John F. Kennedy once said those who make peaceful revolutions impossible make violent revolutions inevitable. Therefore, it goes without saying that if President Mutharika had responded positively to the previous peaceful demonstrations, people would think twice before getting involved in the violent demonstrations.
What is happening with the silence of the President boils down to lack of genuine advisers for the leadership. If the President has meaningful advisers, they should always advise and alert him to what is about to happen in the country. Therefore, he can have ready solutions all the time. When things such as violence happens in the country, naturally people expect an assurance from the President that he will ensure everything and everyone is safe.
With all due respect, the idea of having genuine presidential advisers cannot be over-emphasised. Experience has shown that in this country those who are appointed as advisers to the President feel favoured and some even behave as if they do not qualify even to suggest anything to the Head of State. As a result, they reduce themselves to just being figure heads, whose main task is to spy on critics to the President regardless of their portfolios.
In such a situation, it becomes difficult for advisers to be genuine, instead, they just join the bandwagon of praise singers. In fact, the President should know better that his best advisers are Cabinet ministers and Principal Secretaries. These additional personal advisers just create contradictions and are just a waste of government resources. Just imagine, we now have Hon Joesph Mwanamvekha as Minister of Finance while Goodall Gondwe is financial adviser to the President. Whose advice would Mutharika take? Such arrangement just brings animosity for nothing.