Once again this is the time we look back at the year that was and reflect on successes and failures. What we could have done better and how we can do better in the New Year as a country and as individuals. There is no disputing that 2020 was an eventful year. It was both good and bad depending on how you faired politically, financially and socially.
At the national level, two main issues dominated 2020. Politically, 2020 saw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and former president Peter Mutharika (unbelievably) leaving the big political stage and being relegated to the opposition status. In the same vein, the year saw the ushering in of a new President Lazarus Chakwera following a court-sanctioned election. The ousting of DPP and Mutharika from government was probably one of the most epochal events in the last half decade.
The High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court annulled the May 21 2019 Presidential Elections and ordered a fresh poll which was held on June 23. Chakwera under the sponsorship of the Tonse Alliance was somersaulted to the top job much to Mutharika’s chagrin and unbelief. To date, over five months after leaving office, the former president is yet to congratulate his successor, Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance for their victory. He is also yet to concede defeat. And like the self-conceited Donald Trump, President of the United States of America until January 20 2020, Mutharika has given a very grotesque and laughable reason for his loss.
According to him and just like Trump, the election was stolen from him. Grotesque and laughable because to date he has provided not even a minuscule of evidence to back his outrageous claim. But this is not to downplay his latest reconciliatory tone towards the new administration. Slowly, it looks like defeat and the realisation that someone else is in charge and sitting exactly where he once sat for six years, has been sinking in. Denial has slowly been giving way to acceptance.
But I still look forward to hearing and seeing Mutharika openly congratulate Chakwera and his former deputy in the DPP administration Saulos Chilima. From dominating news headlines both in print and electronic media outlets albeit mostly for wrong reasons, you now only hear about Mutharika from the courts of law fighting the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) over his frozen bank accounts or tussling with Kondwani Nankhumwa, DPP vice-president for the South over the position of leader of opposition. How things change! Politics has a way of elating and pumping you up like inflating road bike tyres in one minute and deflating and humbling you in the next.
All the same, I wish Mutharika and his family well as they enjoy the cool fresh air from the spattering waves of Lake Malawi at their retirement home in Mangochi. My unsolicited advice to DPP is that the party will do well without Mutharika and definitely not on the steering wheel. Like Jeffrey Grezelder said the other day the old man has done his part. Let others take over. The sooner this is done the better not only for DPP but for the country’s democracy. We need a strong opposition in Malawi to keep the Executive in check.
The second biggest thing ever to happen in Malawi and globally this year was the Covid-19 pandemic owing largely to its disruptive nature. The pandemic has disrupted the way we do things, the way we work, pray, eat, speak, interact, communicate, travel. It has disrupted the way the country runs schools, colleges, et cetera. The only thing that did not change because of Covid-19 is the way politicians hold mass rallies to woe votes. The pandemic has buttered businesses and decimated their profits. It has diddled us and screwed us financially both as individuals and as a nation. Most painfully, Covid-19 has robbed us of our dear friends and relatives, claiming 187 lives nationally and 1 737 748 globally; 6 261 confirmed cases in Malawi and over 79 057 185 globally.
The worst thing about Covid-19 is that it is still around and continues to make us live in fear. You have no idea from whom you can contract the disease. And although the vaccine is currently only available to the richest countries in the world—US, UK, Russia, Germany, France et cetera—in a typical survival-of-the-richest fashion, there is no need to wallow in self pity. We shall wait upon the Lord, pray for divine intervention and take comfort in the scriptures that ‘When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen’ Isaiah 60:22. Wishing you all a prosperous 2021.