It is said that in Malawi, the election campaign starts immediately the winner of the presidential race is announced.
This might have to do with the fact that the winner is fully aware that the majority of the voters would not have chosen him if they really had a choice. Getting elected by 36 percent of the electorate will make anyone insecure.
It is therefore not surprising that a semblance of campaign speeches reached fever pitch this week, with the Head of State himself holding up traffic in the already congested Lilongwe City to address his supporters.
The opposition on the other hand converged at a hotel to hit back at the supposed inaction by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to address the increasing levels of poverty, the majority of Malawians are experiencing nowadays.
The bickering could not have come at a worse time: an angry mob torched a police anti-riot vehicle valued at millions of kwacha over very strange reasons. Apparently the police erred in transferring a murder suspect from a police unit to a police station.
As if to add salt to injury, recently the United Nations (UN) told us what we have always known for many years. We are too poor. Or to be more specific, more Malawians continue to live in acute poverty which according to the UN Human Development Report, 56 percent of the Malawi population is multidimensional poor while 27 percent live near multidimensional poverty. Never mind the vague sounding words, it just means Malawians are poor.
Now poverty is not measured by how much money a person has but can access basic services such as food, education and health. So, yes, poverty is rife in this country, more so in the rural areas.
But to hear the politicians this week, one would think people eat politics, they find politics at the health centres or sit on politics in schools.
In fact, President Peter Mutharika expects these desperate Malawians to be grateful for all his government is doing, to appreciate instead of bad mouthing his administration.
In his own words, anybody who complains is either a fly, blind or is residing on planet Jupiter.
To call Malawians ungrateful for being beggars in their own country is one insult too many.
You can only stand on a podium and rant to your heart’s content about the history of your fellow politicians and the ungratefulness of the citizens if the people you are talking to are happy and satisfied.
If the events at Kaphiri are anything to go by, the Malawian citizenry is a bomb waiting to explode as it did on that fateful July 20 2011. Rioting and burning down a police vehicle for such flimsy reasons should have the government really worried about the state of mind of its people. People are not happy.
The Malawian in Hewe or Namadidi does not want to listen to history. The tobacco farmer who has his two bales at the auction floors waiting for a miracle do not give a hoot about crocodiles of the Malawi Congress Party. After all, that will not change the prices at the floors any better than 80 cents per kilogramme he is being offered after months of toiling in the field.
At the end of it all, this useless bickering, both parties cannot come to Malawians with clean hands. Given the choice to elect clean leaders, this country would have no one to lead it.
When sprouting the political rhetoric, President Mutharika, DPP politburo and the opposition politicians should keep in mind that they are talking to people with no money, people barely surviving on businesses crippled by high interest rates and banks that do not give them a second look, people eating one meal a day and barely able to afford a half kilogramme of meat.
That kind of people can only tolerate mediocrity for so long.