An approved list of Parliamentary candidates released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) shows that we will have 1 333 aspiring candidates in this year’s parliamentary polls.
The campaign period will kick in earnest this month. It is a period the whole country will be in over drive as these aspirants will go out to all corners of the country to canvass for votes.
On the streets, the view is that we are a nation in the process of short-changing itself. That is why today, we on the streets want to rally all Malawians to resist being swept in the wave of mediocrity the 1 333 will be spreading across the nation.
As we all know, Malawi is in reverse gear. Nothing matters except today. The poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. Those at the top plunder at will, and lawlessness is getting worse. We will not bother you with statistics, because as they say, you do not need proof when an egg is rotten.
But on the streets, the cries for change are loud and clear.
People want leaders who want Malawi to progress. They want leaders who want this nation to progress beyond restoration. “We have never seen good days,” they cry.
They want to see someone restore our sense of pride and national dignity. They want to see a leadership committed to zero unemployment, zero tolerance to corruption; and realistic policies on how to achieve economic prosperity. The citizenry want leaders who are committed to see a more efficient and performing government. They want to see someone who will stop the rot at Capital Hill.
My Kenyan friend Fidel has no moral ground to laugh at us Malawians, but he does because he believes Malawi is often worse than Kenya on corruption. “Your President,” he often mocks me, “lacks ambition. He is too old. Look at our Uhuru [Kenyatta], he is full of energy and verve. Malawians you can do better.” Fidel has his own way to pull my legs, but on this one, he is making a point. We, on the streets, deserve better.
We surely need leaders whose ambition and vision are bigger than Malawi. This nation, with all its resources and human talent, deserves leadership that is committed to an immutable and material transformation of the lives of its own citizens.
If, we on the streets are to be raw, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been holding this country hostage. Donors have run away with their money because of the way they loot and manage State coffers. And investors, apart from the Chinese, do not take us seriously. That we continue to survive economically is a miracle because when you visit public facilities such as hospitals, the reality quickly sinks in that Malawi is doomed if we will operate at this level for the next five years.
As the lies from the 1 333 aspirants start to pour out packaged as party manifesto’s, we plead for some sanity. Malawians deserve more than the lies. The country cannot thrive on lies. At 55, Malawi should grow up as a nation and start thinking about bigger plans.
This election should not be about aspirants’ tummies but about the nation as a whole.
The truth, as everyone in politics knows, is on a sliding scale. If every lie told by politicians were to be an offence punishable by hanging you wouldn’t find any politician walking on the streets. So go on spewing the white lies, but we are watching and after election you will be held to account. n