Beware of political androids in Malawi

It is nearly that time, I can self-assuredly say, the elections are around the corner and, with this prospect, comes with promises of political transformation that will meet the social and economic needs of the voters. That time, I show crossness with the shoddy pre-electoral goings-on and voters’ utter dearth of critical mindfulness befitting the socio-political realities.

Indeed, I only need to infer the burgeoning prophetical sightlessness that has characterized the political landscape with excerpts forecasting victors in the upcoming elections.  I am baffled by hypocritical aura of democracy presented by these personalised oppositional parties marred with voters’ collusive, ham-fisted, political performance.

We seem to have been betrayed by a malfunctioning constitutional democracy which is polarising the electorate along identity lines and unprincipled practices. The wheels of the justice system have not been spared from the incapacitating flair of the institutionalised monetary sleaze as evidenced by lacklustre and prejudiced court proceedings.

Be cautious of political androids overhauling their eerie and incarnate masters for the next election is a choice between the second coming of a political monster and sustenance of a budding emancipatory leadership.

I have shuddered at the principal prosecutor’s claims allied with the cash-gate forensic audit findings, quoting obscene figures. With such leaks of financial malpractice, the chief prosecutor has re-sounded the incumbent’s political resolve by intimating that further arrests are imminent.

According to the chief prosecutor’s precursory pronouncements of the forensic findings to the public, as quoted online, over $100 million was plundered with a colossal sum of the loot having taken place before the incumbent occupied the most eyeballed public office.  Though, I would argue, given the circumstances within which the incumbent took over the leadership mantle, she effectively rose to power at a time when the country was deeply entrenched behind a politically sanctioned embezzlement of public funds.  I would want to believe that, the plunder of this scale, of which a minor slice happened under the incumbent’s headship, is a manifestation of the egoistical extremes of erstwhile leaders.

It is common knowledge that the ascendancy of People’s Party (PP) was a direct consequence of the constitutional command. Given the incumbent’s imposed oppositional stand by then constitutionally dislodged ruling party, Democratic Progressive Party, it would make sense to conclude that her ascendancy was overly burdened with significant challenges that it would have been wishful thinking to expect the provisional ruling party (PP) to form a principled government. This in a way gives the incumbent a glimmer of optimism that a second chance to form government is conceivable.

As a voter of critical consciousness, I wobble at the thought that the country was robbed huge sums of money at a time when all and sundry were subjected to zero budgeting. All those forex and fuel shortages were a direct consequence of drying up of donor support, so we were told. Now, the absolute truth has emerged that those we thought were safeguards of the public purse were actually indulging in self-enrichment.  Without any civility, the offcuts of what I believe to be the political conspirators of the uncovered pillage are now self-promoting as a credible alternative government in waiting.

I am mystified by voter mediocre electioneering, seeing the well informed skimming with tried and failed political establishments. Voters’ conduct is in the know that these political formations have a track record of misgovernment, nepotism and skulduggery. The only change seen in these political party formations is that their successive headships, vying for the presidency, have different names, but, under their skins, they hold deep settled clannish and unethical ideals that will only re-emerge once they recoup power. The composition of opposition candidates makes it all truer that power attracts the most corruptible.

I observe that the electorate’s allegiance is flawed and, at times, devoid of bold thinking hoped-for to necessitate reforms, genuine political competition, better candidates and government. Voters are blindly switching parties, misjudging the destructive effects of cash-gate phenomenon and in the know of history of politicians’ duplicity in campaigns and state management.  Some would be voters are acting in defence of ne’er-do-well politicians, propping them up as better choices and oblivious that the rulers across the political divide need power shifting between them to maintain popular trust in the political system.

Assuming the incumbent is the first to pass the post in the forthcoming tripartite elections, the task to govern the country will be harder than before as there are tell-tale signs of voters’ dissatisfaction with present-day political system. The moment you see mob brutality akin to tarred-and-feathers vengeance as a form of justice in the cities, just know that people are losing confidence in the present-day governing framework.

It will be the last chance for contemporary political system and any under par governmental functionality will attract revolutionary resurgence along the radical outlines of the civil goings-on in Egypt and Ukraine. Egypt has presented an unorthodox but effective way of rooting out of state management a failed democratically elected political party. Will Malawi be the next in line to face an equivalent but principled public sanctioned reconfiguration of democracy? It is only a matter of time and, surely, the subsequent ruling party must be prepared to deal with a nascent civil disobedience of transformation.

Being a cynic of contemporary politicking and, appalled by barefaced financial misappropriation in government, I have myself discerning that, the time for radical changes, is not in the distant future. It is here and now we should be sounding out clear transformative demands across the political divide. I mean demands that we will not settle for less but a principled government by whichever party takes power in the next elections.

Perhaps, now, it is time to do the unthinkable; threaten to boycott the forth coming elections to show rejection of the current political system and constitutional order. Now it is time to show the world that we have seen the light and we are neither deluding ourselves nor blindly propping up rotten political system. It is my assertion that a boycott as a form of civil disobedience has enormous power to force true personal, political and constitutional transformations. We should no longer take comfort in voting for lesser evil.

It is time to show disgruntlement and make it crystal clear that the current political system does not serve the interests of the nation. The only way forward is to have nonaligned civil society leading the transformative itinerary and start issuing ethical demands to all political parties, aspiring parliamentarians and presidential candidates.

*Thom Nhlane

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