Don’t let old guard rule Malawi, says NGO head

One of the leading human and political rights campaigners has described the country’s politics being at a crossroads, saying what Malawians need is to redefine through thorough analysis about where they are coming from, where they are, and where and how far they have to go from now.

“The greatest challenge is that we as citizens forget our role and we tend to become beggars instead of becoming masters of our own destiny,” Billy Banda, Executive Director of Malawi Watch told Nyasa Timeson Friday when he analyzed the general political landscape in Malawi.

Peter Mutharika: Old guard

“This is where political leaders take advantage over us because they think that they are masters when voted into power and citizens think that their mandate end at the ballot,” he said.

Banda observed that Malawi is going through turbulent times socially as well as politically and that it is Malawians themselves that can esolve the prevailing status quo by holding those in  power accountable.

“Let us tell all people who aspire to lead us to be visionary, focused, duty bound and committed so that they should never take us for granted but fulfill what is expected out of their masters not them turning themselves into be masters.

“We need from our leaders the commitment that should transform our lives for the better and not the leaders making us slaves. We must end the culture of heroism and hero-worshiping, which reduces us to being mere beggars.

“We need to have a new generation of political leaders who will not become indispensable when people they lead cry out loud and clear for basic life necessities, freedoms and birth rights,” said Banda.

On this note, Banda said Malawians must realize that it is ideal to entrust the affairs of state to young and energetic leaders who are committed to their call.

“The fear we all have gone through is that old-timers’ levels of passion go below levels of recognition. We need Malawians to begin entrusting power with people whom we can hold accountable even after they leave office than giving responsibilities to people who have out-lived their prime time.

“The fear is that they may not face the long arm of law when they are old as they would claim they are being persecuted through prosecution because they are too old. So, Malawians must desist from entrusting the old guard but we must give power to new blood, which is the young generation. They may be too guilty to offend the law,” Banda opined.

Most of the current presidential hopefuls for the 2014 polls in Malawi will be above 70 in 2014, except Atupele Muluzi, son of the former Head of State Bakili Muluzi, who is 33 now.

John Tembo, the apparent Malawi Congress Party (MCP) flag carrier, will be 82 in 2014 while the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) endorsed 2014 presidential candidate Arthur Peter Mutharika will be 74. State Vice President and leader of the People’s Party (PP) will be 65.

Atupele, who aspirers to lead the former governing United Democratic Front (UDF) in the 2014 polls announced his presidential bid on September 29, 2011 at Sunbird Mount Soche in Blantyre, with a call for intra-party reforms where women and the youths are given enough room to operate.

“If we are really serious about changing our politics in this country, we must start from our political parties. That process begins by promoting Women and the Youth. We need to intensify efforts and actions to redress the existing persistent gender disparities in our country, which hamper the full participation of women in our society.

“We need to inspire young people; give them the confidence to challenge what they see and to dream great things, and empower them to influence their own lives, their own futures,” he said.

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