“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”—Plato
On Tuesday, June 23 2020 Malawians will be going to the polls to elect a President. This follows nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election results by the High Court sitting as Constitutional Court (ConCourt) due to what the court called “widespread and systematic irregularities”. This fresh presidential election is a watershed moment. It is a second chance for Malawians to elect a leader of their choice and also a chance to voice out their concerns through the ballot.
It is, therefore, important that every Malawian should go out and vote. Voting not only enables one to vote for their preferred leader, but it also shows that you realise and understand the importance of citizenship.
There are some people who have said they may not vote despite registering to do so, because they think their vote will not make any difference. Well, every vote counts. It does not matter whether your preferred candidate has won or lost, every vote counts. What more with the 50 percent +1 voting system that will be in place during this fresh election? You cannot afford to sit home and let others decide on your behalf. A nation’s political foundations are built using elections.
One cannot begin to say they are for a democratic Malawi and yet refuse to take part in elections. Voting is very important in a nation because it provides people with an opportunity to voice their opinion and vote for what they believe in, it holds elected officials accountable for their behaviour while in office, and it prevents a minority from dictating the policies of the majority.
Apart from being a fundamental right of every Malawian citizen, voting is a basic process that keeps a nation’s governmental system under check and enables the citizens to choose their representatives.
By voting, through the representatives you choose, be it at local government level, parliamentary and presidency, a citizen can also have a say on important issues that affect one’s daily life.
If you registered to vote, make every effort to vote. Many people dismiss this responsibility by saying that they do not care about the issues on the ballot or that they are unfamiliar with the candidates up for election. However, by failing to use your privilege to vote, you will essentially allow other voters to make decisions for you—to let their voices be heard over your voice—because you didn’t make any effort to go and vote. Imagine five years with a leader you detest and do not agree with in terms of their policy direction. Imagine five years with a leader who does completely the opposite of what you believe in. This is why you need to vote for a candidate that you feel addresses what you want and believe in. Five years is a long time to be ruled by someone you detest.
The outcomes of elections can impact one’s personal freedoms, taxes, and other aspects of daily life that are often taken for granted. Because of the far-reaching impact that an election can have, you as a responsible citizen, have the duty to cast your vote if you want a say in how your future plays out.
Your vote is a powerful weapon that can put a stop to the corruption that has scarred Malawi. It’s a powerful tool that can correct some of the social ills that have come to characterise Malawi. If you want change, go and vote.