Honourable folks, Parliament’s resolution on Tuesday to set June 23 as the date for the fresh election should hopefully set Malawi back on the path of socio-economic and political recovery and transformation.
A credible election should resolve the political uncertainty that has engulfed Malawi since MEC declared DPP candidate Peter Mutharika as the winner of the controversial 2019 presidential election.
Since that fateful day in May, Malawi has been stuck in an alarming spate of political violence and tribal divisions that have threatened to derail our fledgling national economy and plunge the country into anarchy.
Folks, Parliament has done the nation a big favour by setting the election date and by extension, giving Malawians a chance to elect a leader of their choice.
The 10 days between now and the election date should serve as a period of reflection for Malawians, particularly with regard to the type of government that they would prefer to govern them for the next five years.
It is clear that some Malawians desperately want a change in leadership. The post-elections violence was a manifestation of apparent disillusionment with APM and his DPP-led administration.
In his five-year tenure, APM has presided over arguably one of the most corrupt and inept governments in this democratic dispensation, during which time he stood idly by as corruption got out of hand and drained public coffers of billions of tax-payer and donor funds.
APM has no one but himself to blame if Malawians want to kick him out of office. For a lot of Malawians, APM and his DPP regime are the personification of everything that is wrong in Malawi.
Folks, that is why the public out there is celebrating at the chance to cast their vote and usher in a new era of socio-economic development, peace and prosperity for all. There is a feeling of optimism that a change in leadership will lead the country to prosperity.
Naturally, the opposition Tonse Alliance has used every chance it got to perpetuate that perception.
The alliance has come in brandishing manifestos that promise to govern according to the principles of law and the constitution and use its “servant-leadership” to uplift the lives of Malawians.
Granted, a change in leadership will push Malawi back on the path to political and economic recovery, but it will not in itself usher in a reformed Malawi.
The real problem in Malawi is politicians and the irrational faith and trust we place on them to govern according to the will of the people.
Folks, this is the time to reflect on the nature of the leaders at our disposal and to see whether they have the mettle and integrity to abide by the principles of the Constitution. A closer look at their track record suggests that that will not be the case.
The UTM Party itself is composed of individuals who faithfully served the DPP and partook in its inept leadership. Some of DPP officials who attempted to subvert constitutional law and prevent JB from ascending to power when Bingu died are in the UTM.
Then we have MCP president and Tonse Alliance candidate, Laz, who was disconcertingly silent when deputy speakers from his party were dubiously claiming house allowances despite living in their own houses.
Then there was that unfortunate incident in 2018 when he backed an equally dubious K4 billion allocation to Parliament, which was presumably a bribe to MPs to frustrate the electoral reforms, before backtracking following public outrage over the decision.
Folks, the public does not need reminding of JB’s role in the Cashgate and her infamous speech where she told Malawians that there is nothing wrong with benefitting from the proceeds of corruption as long as one was not directly involved in the fraudulent activities.
The politician’s attitude has not changed even now. To date, none of them has declared their sources of funding or submitted audited reports in compliance with the Political Parties Act, circumventing the same Constitution they are promising to uphold when elected.
Folks, perhaps it is time we realised that most of the problems we are facing now were created by the same politicians who were complicit in creating or perpetuating them. Unfortunately, we do not have a choice since the best we have is not of the requisite standard.
However, the union Malawians have found in their collective disillusionment with a culture of corruption and impunity should create a solid platform to implement governance and institutional reforms to protect themselves from abuse at the hands of politicians.