Chisiza’s arrest: Another bad response to the revolution by the DPP

Am writing this article in response to the arrest on stage of one promising Malawian dramatist, Thlupego Chisiza, whose play titled Semo, co-written with martyr student activist Robert Chasowa, has just been marked subversive by Malawi authorities.

According to Nyasa Times, Thlupego wanted to pay tribute to Chasowa, an engineering student at University of Malawi’s The Polytechnic, who was a dramatist as well.

The statement I want to develop in this short item is that Malawi is on the path to a revolution and that by responding with killings, political persecutions and arrests, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has lost the war and it is soon going to be replaced by a new revolutionary movement that is taking the nation to “an important change”.

Security forces dragging Chisiza after arrest

Revolutions are categorized differently by different scholars. The one sweeping across Malawi is a “great revolution”, a revolution that transforms “economic and social structures as well as political institutions” (Charles Tilly). This type of revolution is closely related to that defined in a broad sense by Jeff Goodwin: “any and all instances in which a state or a political regime is overthrown and thereby transformed by a popular movement in an irregular, extra-constitutional and/or violent fashion”.

In very simple terms, I would like to call upon the DPP camp and all its sympathizers to realize that Malawi is on a path to a great revolution and that they have only two options to prevent it: reform or repress.

How do we know there is an impending great revolution? Despite belonging to different schools of thought, many scholars agree that revolutions are caused by “wide spread frustration with socio-political situation” (Jack Goldstone).

Whether one likes it or not, it is a fact that Malawians today are in a state of severe disequilibrium which is in turn responsible for revolutions. Even George Chaponda, who runs night escapades for the DPP, would agree with me that Malawians are today being socially and financially ‘smoked out’. Challenges such as foreign exchange shortages, electricity shortages and acute fuel shortages are brain-cracking threats to any normal minded citizen.

As if that is not already enough pain, the DPP regime has tolerated high order corruption (examples abound, including the Malawi Housing scam), lack of economic prudence, abuse of power, deliberate disregard of the rule of law (I have in mind the arbitrary conception of Section 46 media law, the ‘Injunctions Bill’, the Police Act, the Pensions Bill, the Local Courts Bill, Local Government Elections, and the Protected Names, Flags and Emblems bill).

The July 20, 2011 demonstrations, which saw 20 lives prematurely lost, and several scores others severely injured, should be a serious warning to the DPP regime that Malawians will not sit back and watch when their economic and political rights are being violated. The 20 lives marked its downfall and the beginning of a new era in Malawi politics.

In short, there is now in Malawi a sense of malfunction of all the subparts of the system. The DPP regime has ceased adequately to meet the problems they have posed on Malawians. Malawi is moving like a headless rooster (kumene walowera ndikomweko).

And many people are just wondering why the DPP does not leave the stage as is the case in Greece. Why Greece? Government of Malawi has kept comparing the socio-economic problems in Malawi to those of Greece. But, while their counterparts in Greece have resigned from running affairs of that country, the DPP crew have not followed suit.

All these, including the arrest of toddler Thlupego Chisiza and the killing of university student political activist Chasowa, are signs of an amature government running affairs of the state on a try-and-error basis.

It is very unfortunate that, instead of reform, the DPP regime has decided to respond to the revolution process in a way of repression.

Let me finish by leaving this message to my fellow Malawians: We create our fate. When you say “Ife izi ayi”, are the things you leave to others (like politics) really bad for you? Politicians are like dippers (matewera), they need to be changed all the times! Am not just saying!

*Winfred Mkochi; PhD Candidate in Phonology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

18 December, 2011

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