Today, 23 years ago, Malawians, including myself braved the chilly weather to go out in massive numbers to vote in a referendum on whether Malawi should remain one party state or revert to multiparty democracy.
This was a turning point for Malawi’s politics, economy and socio life. Many Malawians of voting age turned out and most of them wanted change.
As a journalist working for the only newspaper then, the Daily Times, I knew the fury of the people against Kamuzu Banda and his close allies who monopolised the politics, the economy and virtually all aspects of Malawi life while the majority of the people lived in abject poverty. I knew change was coming because even journalists at Blantyre Newspapers Limited, as it was known then, were hated for working for Kamuzu’s huge commercial empire whose chairman was Kamuzu’s own right hand man, John Tembo.
Come next day, June 15, Charles Kamphulusa, the Blantyre District MCP chairman, now deceased, found a slain black cock (tambala wakuda) on his house door step in Chilomoni, Blantyre, a clear statement to him that the one party era was gone and the new era of prosperity was coming.
Looking back, I think Malawians’ wishes and aspirations after that June 14, 1993 referendum vote have not been met. We are yet to have the freedom of speech. When the opposition criticise the government, they are called all sorts of names for taking their rightful positions and roles as legitimate opposition.
The President does not want any criticism as if he wants to run the country in one party state style, describing journalists as misguided and declaring he had stopped reading local newspapers because it is trash.
The government refusal to be accountable and transparent to the Malawians as evidenced by its refusal to handover the running of governance institutions like Anti Corruption Bureau to parliament, President Peter Mutharika’s refusal to trim his powers on flimsy excuses that he is protecting the office for future presidents, the ruling party continued stance to use tax payers run MBC and its professional and highly trained journalists as cheer leaders for the Democratic Progressive Party.
Malawians accused Kamuzu and a few of his allies of dominating the government but that is exactly what is happening now.
Ministers are sending their wives, children, inlaws to embassies as diplomats ; kodi dziko lonseli anzeru ndinu nokha? This politics of cronyism and nepotism was supposed to end today 23 years ago.
Then the opposition are still behaving like kindergarten children. The Malawi Congress Party and Peoples Party legislators are behaving as headless chickens. They are demanding K80000 daily allowance when they know very well that a primary school teacher or a medical assistant in government does not get nearer to that money as a monthly salary. Who do they think they are?
Even the current K50000 daily allowance is too high which must be cut in these tough economic times. In addition, they get K1.5 million a month in basic salary and K400 per kilometre of their cars for tnt. It is unfair to demand large share of the national cake when the majority cannot afford a meal.
The opposition MPs should stop behaving as lunatics.
Dr Lazarus Chakwera should come out clear and condemn this in his capacity as Leader of Opposition otherwise we would think this is engineered by him and his credentials as a credible leader would be compromised.
A government in waiting does not behave stupidly like that. No wonder there is nothing to celebrate on this day, no wonder it is not a holiday and few people hardly know the significance of the day. Malawi will never move an inch with this horrible mindset!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :