“We must all mobilise together to deliver the killer blow and put an end to this regime,” – Alioune Tine, Coordinator of the Senegalese opposition June 23 Movement (M23)
The above quote by the coordinator of the June 23 Movement (M23) named after the June 23 anti-government demonstrations in Senegal gives hope to other opposition forces on the African continent that unity remains the best remedy for Africa’s dictators.
In the face of a stubborn despot in Senegal, the M23 coordinator and failed presidential candidates in Senegal’s recent presidential plebiscite have called on their supporters to ‘prove their patriotism and put aside their personal problems for the superior interest of Senegal and rally behind a single opposition candidate Macky Sall,’ the presidential aspirant who polled 26.6% of the vote second after incumbent Abdoulaye Wade’s 34.8% forcing him into a runoff on the 25th of this month.
On the other hand Fadel Barro Co-founder of the Fed Up Movement another Senegalese anti-Wade outfit, in showing support for the second runner up Sall said: “We are calling all young Senegalese to vote en masse in the second round and to ignore the Wade Ballot because for us he is not a candidate.”
The Senegalese opposition candidates has seen the light and rallied all opposition forces against Wade by fielding the second best candidate Macky Sall to contest with Wade in the runoff slated for toward end March. Even world renowned Senegalese star singer Youssou N’Dour has thrown his weight behind Sall and the people in Senegal today are not with the dictator Wade. The writing is on the wall for the old man that his time is up. It is exceedingly unlikely that he will win a free and fair election as things stand. All indications are that he will fall and fall with a big thud come the runoff elections.
Malawi’s situation is no different from that of Senegal. Malawians like the Senegalese are sick and tired of their President who like Wade now exhibits tell-tale signs of senility and dementia. Like Senegal, our country today is the hub of stinking corruption and nepotism where press and other civil liberties are severely curtailed. What cheek Bingu thinks he is different from Wade.
Despite his (Bingu’s) denial that he does not want to perpetuate his rule, it is evident he seeks to rape and circumvent our constitution and perpetuate his rule through his kin Professor Peter Mutharika turning Malawi into a Mutharika fiefdom. As like most dynast-like power transfers, such transitions have proved more often to be a continuation of the older order since the legatee – be it a son or a brother as in Mutharika’s case – invariably inherit the benefactor’s authoritarian tendencies and thus the status quo is maintained. Malawians are doomed if Peter assumes the presidency in 2014.
Malawians today are unanimous the source of their social and economic ills are none other than Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Despite being their darling yesteryear, today Bingu is Malawi’s No. 1 enemy. The rule of law and democracy has been seriously eroded; security of the citizenry compromised; the economy on its knees as it takes knocks from evidently self-inflicted punches; the future of the country bleak; and Malawi almost a pariah state with her international relationships severely thawed.
The struggle to unseat Bingu and DPP cannot and will not be fought in isolation. His recent pronouncement that those who think DPP will lose elections in 2014 better have a rethink goes to show that he is slowly become entrenched and more than ready to up the game.
Every Malawian of good will and intentions will have to fight from the same corner of the boxing ring if we are to stop this dictatorship. Malawi is not monolithic. It is made up of diverse groupings belonging to different political persuasions, ethnic groups, different localities, and religious groupings. But nonetheless we are in unison that today than ever before there is evil, rot and wrong doing happening to our country worse than in the one party state era of Kamuzu Banda.
Everyone committed to democracy and good cause of our country should immediately start coordinating efforts to bring an end to this stinking dictatorship and stop the rot and madness being visited on Malawians and the country by Bingu and his DPP cohorts. Now is the time for all progressive opposition forces to join hands and defend the dignity of Malawi against the tyranny threatening to destroy our very own fabric as a nation. We need unity of purpose, unity of the opposition backed not with political idiosyncrasy but by the wishes of Malawians who want to see the back of Bingu and the DPP.
This calls for our opposition leaders to start in earnest to try and find common ground to confront this dictatorship come May 2014. Twenty seven months is a lot of time for our opposition leaders to start negotiations to field a single candidate to wrest the country from the jaws of this dictatorship. Forming alliances in the dying minutes will not serve the interest of the average Malawian but simply perpetuate the evil tyranny of Bingu and his DPP.
Resistance to political compromise will be our undoing as it will inhibit possible change from the current rot despite that the majority of Malawians unanimously agree it is a necessity. In the end, it will bias the political process in 2014 in favour of the status quo and perpetuate DPP’s rule.
Malawi needs an alliance that will work come 2014. It needs an alliance premised on national interests and not personal interest. I stand here to be corrected – as long as our opposition parties think they can go it alone – Bingu and Peter Mutharika will be smiling all the way back to Sanjika come 2014.
We know, l know Tembo and MCP would want to get back into government because him (Tembo) has not ruled the country before; Atupele wants a go at it simply because he feels young, energetic and buoyed by the large mass rallies thinks he can pocket the presidency; Enoch Chihana on the other end thinks because his late father did it why can’t he do it he thus will want a run at it too; and lastly Joyce Banda has a bone to chew with Bingu for she feels used and ridiculed by Mutharika for throwing her out of government and feels it should be her turn so that she may take revenge. This is all well and good but does not serve the interests of the ordinary Malawian suffering from fuel queues and foreign currency shortages let alone drug shortages in the hospitals. It will only serve to perpetuate the status quo and propagate the suffering of Malawians, period.
Our opposition leaders will have to put aside their differences and place national interests before self interests. Now is the time for them to make bold concessions and formulate a working coalition. It is not time to explain or justify the need for a coalition. It is a necessity if the country is to move forward. Despite our different political leanings, the only best option possible for the opposition is to come under a grand alliance and fight Bingu and his cohorts making sure they are sent packing into political oblivion come 2014.
The opposition should, starting now surface critical issues which are very important if they are to find the compromise that can give them a united front in 2014. Alliances have no set formulae. Every alliance is unique in one way or the other and l will thus not endeavour to prescribe any formulas for such an agenda but leave this to our opposition leaders to trash out and come out with a common position beneficial to the nation of Malawi.
But however while so; this does not stop me at hinting on a few critical issues that the parties can start discussing now to come up with a compromise for the coalition. For instance, firstly, the selection of the leader of the grand alliance will need to come from the largest opposition party in the current parliament, with first and second deputy presidents chosen from the next in strength in that order but with emphasis on covering all our major three regions; secondly, both the campaign period and governance phase after the alliance defeats DPP should be reflective of all parties; thirdly, the leader of the alliance should be term limited to one term only and will neither seek support nor support any candidate in subsequent elections; fourthly, the cabinet will be reflective of the alliance with a lean cabinet shared equally amongst all the alliance members; and lastly, the transitional period will focus on restoring our democracy through whatever amendments that can be !visited on our constitution. Briefcase parties like the Nyasaland Federation or African Party or Chipani Chafungo Langa and many others whatever they call themselves will have to spare Malawians the comedy we are into serious politics now.
The prospects to unseat Bingu are extremely bright. It is possible. Atupele can cause trouble in the South; Tembo as usual give Bingu m’bebe (a running tummy) in the centre and Enock Chihana or Joyce Banda can makesure Bingu satola kanthu (will pick nothing) in the North. As a transitional arrangement, the grand alliance can choose a President from amongst them assisted by two deputy presidents reflecting our regionalised politics. This will ensure that all presidential potentials are accommodated. Should this arrangement not suffice – resources permitting – the grand alliance can introduce the office of the Prime Minister with deputies selected from the very junior members of the alliance. This will ensure that we have no candidates standing independently in the race and that there is one common enemy. Bingu wa Mutharika.
Our donors, like Malawians want to see the back of this evil, demented president and l am very certain 100% once approached with a sellable grand alliance that unseats this man, they will be more than too happy to fund it and our country post Bingu wa Mutharika and ensure Malawians reclaim their country and enjoy their freedoms. The opposition parties will have to summon all their diplomatic skills to win over the support of the donor community.
Not having a united front against Bingu in 2014 will without a doubt will be the final nail in the coffin of opposition politics in Malawi. Opposition politics will be dead for a long time to come. Soon we will be a failed state the likes of Somalia. It will and it is not conceivable that Malawians get stuck with this DPP hegemony for yet another decade. God forbido!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :