Politics and elections across the Atlantic have come and gone and the world awaits the cold that inevitably comes with the sneeze of the 240 year old democracy.
But back home, the politics of the United States are too far away for us all to suspend the challenges of our own impending election in less than three years’ time.
The future of the electoral reforms which two years ago we thought would propel us into the big leagues of nations which hold credible elections might not come to pass.
Apparently, the Special Law Commission is still deliberating whether our laws should make mandatory biometric voter registration system. It is the year two thousand and sixteen and the first 6 000 Malawians have just obtained their national IDs and entered their fingerprints into a national system.
Pathetic as that might sound to more ‘advanced’ countries (read Zambia, our neighbour with similar political and socio-economic history), the ID system is so jumbled that if not carefully streamlined, some Malawians will carry around several forms of IDs just to be identified: driving licenses, road traffic card, passport and work ID.
As we celebrate the unprecedented Donald Trump win and mourn with Hillary Clinton, let us spare a thought for our own tumultuous election in 2019.
Let us think about the likelihood of another 24 hours of not knowing who the winner of the presidential election is; the uncertainty of having an unpopular leader who obtains less than 40 percent of the vote rule over us and the high likelihood that once again, there will be the sad demise of another innocent Epiphania Bonjesi or the nameless Mangochi man whose death at the hands of trigger-happy police we have not demanded justice for.
There has been little effort to free Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) from State bondage and the amendment to the Communications Act glaringly leaves powers to order MBC around with the Minister of Information and a hapless board comprising ruling party cronies appointed who jump when ordered to do so.
Certainly we should expect an MBC at the mercy of the incumbent ruling party, a barrage of statements from opposition political parties crying for access and of course unheeded calls from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for the State broadcaster to open up.
Malawians have proven to be an angry and frustrated lot during elections so there will be damage to schools and community property if there are inadequate ballot papers at polling centres and there will be a scared polling staff fearing for their lives and refusing to administer polls.
We will borrow solar lamps from Zimbabwe or Zambia, they will arrive in the country without batteries which we will have to purchase at an extra cost to the already strained elections budget.
Borrowing vehicles from government departments to ferry election-day materials to polling centres will happen again in 2019, the shambolic disorganisation of drivers going deep into rural areas without a lunch allowance will be the order of the day.
Remember that admirable announcement of results in the US, hours after polls closed? It will remain a pipedream. Not if we continue to rely on manual counting by primary school teachers using calculators on old Nokia 3310s; certainly not if tally centre fax machines break down like we did not plan for the elections for five years.
After all is said and done and dubious counting and tallying is completed, politicians will rush to the courts, there will be limited time for the judiciary to adjudicate over the bickering and an order will be made in the dead of the night for the announcement of the results to be made.
Until 2024 as we aim to recover from the shambolic elections which elected a leader with no majority, we will always wonder. All because we failed to prepare.