As it were, all the attention in this month’s elections is on who is likely to be Malawi’s next President.
So far, the presidential candidates have said enough in their campaigns for people to make up their minds on who to vote for.
The competition among the candidates is very stiff. Even being in government, as the case is with President Peter Mutharika, does not seem to be an added advantage. The problem here is that his five-year rule has been full of misery due to allowing corruption, stealing of public resources and general abuse of power. Therefore, all the presidential candidates are starting from the same level.
Naturally, Mutharika would want to be a step ahead because of what he has done for the people of Malawi. He has recently promoted teachers and police officers. These promotions were long overdue and, maybe it is done now for the sake of buying more votes. Obviously, no one can vote for a government which tortures its own workers by not promoting them on time. The government should always remember that it has a responsibility to the people. President Mahama of Ghana once said: “If you vote for someone because of schools, hospitals, roads etc you have a weak mind because it is government’s responsibility.”
This is a reminder to voters. In Malawi, there is a tendency of the Head of State and his/her government to make people believe that all the development done is a favour and due to ignorance some people even think the presidents use their personal money. Because of that wrong notion, they think presidents deserve a special thank you by people, forcing them to reduce themselves to sycophants and perpetual hand clappers for anything and everything.
Presidents must be reminded that any development they do is funded by taxpayers’ money and is not a catalyst to hang on to power. In any case, it is surprising that leaders are not bothered to tell the people that bringing development into the country is, actually, part of their responsibility.
What is stated above is what has been the case for the past five years in Malawi. Hence very little development is worth talking about in the country. Most people were even surprised that during his recent visit to Malawi, Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli commended Mutharika for transforming the country. One cannot be wrong to say that this was more of a diplomatic statement than reality. Probably, transformation is mostly seen by visitors. The change that most Malawians see is that the poor of 2014 have become poorer, the hungry people of 2014 are more hungry now, the jobless of 2014 are now twenty-fold or more and the list of negative changes goes on.
President Magufuli knows best about transforming a country and he is a star in the region. The stories of his transforming Tanzania have really gone far and wide. Most people would wish the incoming President, after the elections this month, could emulate Magufuli, who has proved that to be a selfless President one has to have the welfare of his people at heart.
It is expected that the elections this month will be about which candidate do people feel can genuinely transform this country. Therefore, it is up to Malawian voters to make sure that they vote into office a person who will meet their aspirations. It is time the country is saved from being completely run down by leaders who think corruption, stealing taxpayers’ money and abuse of power is the way to go. Let the power of the ballot speak.