Malawians, resist rigging and protect your vote

Robert Mugabe will on one of his high days fume and froth at the mouth against perceived British and American interference in the internal affairs of his country. The man, who has single handedly bankrupted his country and pauperised his people will accuse everybody and everything for his problems but he. Literally, he has condemned his country to zero political moralism in addition to regional and international irrelevance. 

The man is an undiluted, shameless hypocrite, who when cornered to account for his political deficiencies invokes the nationalists card often pregnant with vitriol and racial undertones unbefitting of a head of state to escape scrutiny and accountability. He is such a weird mixture of domineering, wiliness, conman, fatalism and paranoia who sees himself on the frontline of a perceived battle against a ‘new world order’.

He is an uncontested despot with no equal under the sun who takes pleasure in the suffering of his fellow country men and women. Sadly, it is very demeaning that a nationalist of his eminence celebrated with liberating his own people and country has now turned a vile dictator superintending over the destruction of a once prosperous country like Zimbabwe and shamelessly happy to govern fraudulently through stealing elections.

Mugabe and Banda: Two of a kind?

Mugabe and Banda: Two of a kind?

For us that know Mugabe well, we dismiss his rantings as empty squeals of a tired, deranged, bigoted, senile, oldman. He is just a power hungry, forked satanic tongued fake who seems not to know when to get off. He has simply turned Zimbabwe into a personal fiefdom and to him any Zimbabwean trying to give alternative leadership can go and hang and not even dogs will sniff his or her corpse so he seems to think.

The man is hell bent to die in office with a collapsed Zimbabwe tightly squeezed in between his legs with no sense of shame whatsoever. The guy is delusional which delusion is now bordering on insanity while he hopes he will one day grow younger and remain at the helm of the country.

For our own President to then befriend and associate with such an outcast let alone solicit for his help in running our elections beats the mind. It is bereft of any common logic to say the least.

William Clement Stone an American philanthropist and businessman once said “Be careful of the friends you chose, you will (may) become like them”. We can only be sure of one thing. Joyce Banda is a willing apprentice of Mugabe and she is preparing take this country down the same destructive path that Mugabe walked Zimbabwe on. It is mind boggling what it is Joyce Banda wants to learn from a liar and zealous vote thief like Mugabe. So strong a liar he is so much he even believes his own lies.

For a very long time now we have been getting media reports that Joyce Banda and her Peoples Party (PP) have asked Mugabe and his not so desirous Israeli friends at NIKUV Projects International to rig on behalf of PP the forthcoming elections in May. These reports have become so common in our media and regional media and are getting louder by the day to the extent they are now very difficult to ignore.

Like Steve Duwa my learned friend at Malawi Election Support Network (MESN) l would also like to know what it is besides the tents and the gas lamps Joyce Banda is also borrowing from the Zimbabweans.

The salient point to make here is Mugabe cannot have his cake and eat it. He cannot accuse the British and Americans of interfering in his country’s internal affairs while he is guilty of the same trying to influence a sovereign country’s’ national processes through abetting rigging their national elections and expect us Malawians to keep quiet and smile about it.

The long and short of it is Mugabe should keep his filthy and blood dripping hands off our national processes and allow Malawians to peacefully and orderly make a determination as to whom it is we would like to have as President without undue influence. Bluntly, he has no business whatsoever interfering in our national processes. He should stay away.

This very unintelligent move by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and Joyce Banda to solicit for help from this despot has severely tainted the forthcoming elections and severely compromised the independence of MEC to deliver an impartial election with acceptable outcomes to the losers.

The Zimbabwe electoral body ZEC has never in its existence ever run a clean credible election. For all elections run by the ZEC it is either Mugabe wins or there is no outright winner as they withhold election results for months on end while doctoring and sanitising the same forcing winners into unsavoury governments of national unity just to prop up and perpetuate Mugabe’s waning (mis)rule.

In any case, MEC has a better record of running elections than ZEC and one wonders which particular lessons of running elections they want to learn from a discredited body like ZEC. There can be only one lesson here. Rigging.

If the truth be told Joyce Banda and PP are damaged goods beyond redemption who knows very much well that that their chances at the polls are very remote. Cashgate and Jetgate scandals have severely tarnished their image and it will not be surprising if we heard of Maizegate and Cowgate scandals. The private media is not only prodding hard on this distribution of cows and maize which looks scandalous on face especially where state resources are being used to prop up a waning partys’ support through these not so charitable activities under presidential handouts. The source of the funds used to buy the cattle and maize is highly questionable and our media should get to the bottom of this.

Joyce Banda is neither a breath of fresh air in Malawi as we are made to believe. She is nothing new but an old degenerated and backward-looking clique retarding the progress of Malawians. She is completely empty and has no clue on the way forward for Malawi. She is completely otiose on tackling the sundry issues confronting Malawians. Things are worse of now than before, insecurity and lawlessness high and poverty the norm. Corruption, embezzlement, pilferage of state resources has become monstrously hydra more than in past administrations and she seems not to give a hoot about it. She is a complete disaster to this country. This is one president amongst all past three state presidents since independence who is acutely incoherent and inarticulate of the vision needed for this country.  She is a national tragedy.

Retrogressive cliques like Joyce Banda who continue to retard this nation should be kept away from the corridors of power. They continue to saddle Malawians with dullards and dunderheads who hardly know their right from their left and all they know is loot the treasury.  She is uninspiring nor reassuring we need to see her leave as quick as she went.

Malawi has sharp brains. The brightest and smartest of Malawians are amongst the contesting crop and we deserve to give them the chance to have a go at the presidency.

In the foregoing, it is common cause therefore that no self-respecting Malawian will cast their vote for a bunch of uncivilised, uncultured looters and plunderers that unashamedly skim the treasury clean of billions of Kwachas of state funds with such impunity as displayed in the Cashgate scandal and hence they (PP) have to resort to the unethical to remain in power. In fact, anyone who will be voting PP deserves to be ferried to the nearest psychiatric ward for prompt mental evaluation and assistance.

These rigging fears are real and true. Malawians will only have no one but themselves to blame for doing nothing about it. The electorate must rise up and take back their country from these looters and plunderers by voting in the right people into power who will advance their interests. We deserve better as Malawians and this is a call to re evaluate our criteria for electing people into office. Let us not judge good leaders by the number of mealie-meal bags we get from them or by the number of three-legged cows they will give to their close relatives otherwise bought of looted Cashgate state funds.  We can do better than this.

We cannot afford three years or worse now five years of systemic mediocrity. We cannot continue to endure social maladies, political malaise, inequities, injustices, and economic deprivation like Cashgate, and most of all international scorn such as the withdrawal of vital donor support all because we choose to be led by self-centred, clueless, and unintelligent leaders.

We need leaders that will advance sound, coherent and sustainable national social and economic policies to transform our country, our lives to the benefit and prosperity of all Malawians and generations to come. We need fresh innovative and energetic minds to stir this country away from the precipice. By the grace of God, let us all pray that Malawi is seeing her last weeks of arbitrary non-accountable, corrupt governance – the type that has turned Malawi into a republic of thieves, looters and plunderers.

Our voice – the vote – can no longer continually be taken for granted. The coming ballot is our only and effective weapon of choice available to shoot down incoherent, clueless leaders. We should use it wisely for our future and that of our children. We should identify with quality leadership underpinned by soundness and sustainability of their policies not by their position on the ballot paper donations of cattle or maize. We have been there before, we know them. Let us forgive the past and forge ahead with the future.

To this end, we need to vigorously resist any and all rigging attempts and protect our vote come May 2014. Joyce Banda should be made awares that we shall not brook any rigging and she should be prepared to face the wrath of the masses should she decide to temper with the ballot.

Malawi is not Zimbabwe and Joyce Banda should not think Malawians will sit, watch and smile at her rig the elections like Zimbabweans do with their Mugabe.

It will not be enough for Malawians to vote and go home. Political change demands citizens register to vote, cast their votes, and police the votes insisting that their votes not be stolen. If citizens vehemently resist rigging there will be no rigging and at worst vote thieves like Mugabe and NIKUV and their Joyce Banda will know that they are in a high risk and high stakes business which could cost them their freedoms and worse still their lives when people decide to turn the heat on them.

We should therefore stay out and protect the votes until MEC announces results that are a true reflection of the outcomes of the elections.  The peoples choice should be respected no matter what.

Selling our voter certificates will put money in our pockets for a day or two, but ultimately, we are selling our future and that of our children. We should hold the politicians, the electoral commission, the judiciary, the media, the political parties, the security services and each other accountable. The power however lies with us. We know the Odillos have been severely compromised by the Cashgate and chances are he may not play ball this time around should we seek the support of the security apparatus. We are on our own. We must vote according to our conscience. No violence. Nothing whatsoever justifies any violence.

All fraud should be reported promptly and opposition parties should by now start advertising their Electoral Fraud Hotline numbers to which Malawians should report all electoral fraud activities they would have witnessed in their communities. The hotlines can include Whatsapp and Facebook social media platforms which are cost effective. Call operators manning these hotlines should also be able to receive Call-me-back requests and immediately call to receive details of any purported rigging which should be widely documented for any court challenges that may ensue.

Opposition parties will have to invest considerably in cheap handsets like Nokia 1100s that can store power up to 48hrs at a time to be distributed to their polling agents who can call dedicated Party Election Command Centre Hotline with results from their polling stations who will quickly tabulate and collate by constituency and compare with what MEC has announced or is going to announce immediately pointing out any irregularities.

We had already heard that MEC is borrowing Mugabe’s results transmission forms and this is one way of rigging where genuine election results are swapped for inflated ones especially at the MEC Results Collation Centres thereby completely distorting the actual election results in favour of the riggers.

Opposition parties should have a strong presence at the collation centres where from all results being delivered will have to be compared against what they would have gotten from their polling agents. Where an infraction of the ballot is noted, party agents should immediately advise their chief agent at the collation centre who should immediately raise a red flag and protest to MEC.

Also polling agents should be dissuaded from signing any blank paperwork or forms and only do so when they are presented with the correct polling centre results. Some unsuspecting opposition agents are made to sign result forms well in advance which forms are used to alter the election results lodged with MEC while the originals which they are again made to sign are destroyed. Once lodged, the signatures are authentic while the results are fraudulent thereby diluting any prospects to appeal against any fraud.

The more opposition parties stay away, PP and MEC are likely to use the cooked results to come up with a winning result for Joyce Banda who may be immediately sworn in the following morning with no recourse whatsoever for the opposition parties.

Unless Malawians are serious about bread and butter issues, development and strengthening our democratic space, we will be wasting our resources and time come May 2014 if we don’t protect our vote. We are sure not get the development we so badly need unless we elect people whom we believe can deliver on their promises in power.

We should unite and resist election rigging to ensure that our votes are protected. Otherwise there is no hope for Malawians as long as we don’t stand up and protect our votes. Change is now or it’s another five years of self-appointed misery.

  •  Majoti Chimuzanga is a concerned Malawian and writes for Nyasa Times in his personal capacity. He is contactable at [email protected]
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