Scrutinising 2014 Malawi presidential candidates

As Malawians count down to May 2014 tripartite elections, aspiring candidates are standing up to be counted. So far, presidential candidates of the main political parties are known. There is President Joyce  Banda for Peoples Party,  Atupele Muluzi for United Democratic Front, Peter Mutharika for Democratic Progressive Party and Malawi Congress Party has  Lazarus Chakwera.

The importance of these candidates cannot be over emphasized.  If Malawians are serious about who they put in power, this is the time to correct the bad habit  of coming up with wrong choices based on the  home boy criteria as has been the case in previous elections.

Malawians must know by now that  it is not enough for the candidates to simply say they are Malawians and  therefore  they deserve to be voted into power.  The most important question is, do Malawians across the nation  know them well to be their care takers? On the other hand are the candidates not strangers looking for votes?

Some people can remember so well that most Malawians kept on wondering who President Bingu wa Mutharika was up to the time he passed on.  Surprisingly, even former President Bakili Muluzi who hand picked Mutharika  for presidency seemed not to know him well. At some point Muluzi had to actually apologize to the nation for his wrong choice of Mutharika.

The four front runners

Mutharika seemed to have taken advantage of being a stranger to most people and therefore was seen to be above the law and  in the process created a lot of fear. No one could dare question him on anything. He gave himself so much power to the extent of calling Malawians chickens in addition to other demeaning terms. In short he seemed so pumped up with self importance while the majority of Malawians could be forced to  just shut up and remain in  their dishonorable status.

This is what it means to be ruled by a person you know very little about. Even his alleged emassing of property and cash in Malawi and abroad  worth 61 billion Malawi  kwacha might have been made possible due to his lack of empathy for the poor people he knew very little about . If it is true that Mutharika did this  then it is a mockery and immoral for a leader to milk an impoverished country like Malawi.

The other important point when scrutinizing presidential candidates is to find out about what they have done and achieved in the past in relation to the welfare of the majority of Malawians. Honestly, most Malawians are sick and tired of political platform promises which mostly have no correlation to the past achievements by the candidates.

Politics aside and calling a spade a spade, President Banda is a good example when it comes to her achievement even before she became a president. Her work in NABW and other national business projects brought her closer to the people and is no stranger to people of Malawi. Her Joyce Banda Foundation has helped countless needy people.

Even when she was an MP she made sure people of her constituency benefited a lot by bringing public services within reach in addition to setting up big projects such as the hunger projects.  Joyce Banda has shown that she  is indeed a woman  of the people of Malawi. Regardless of her position she is not  pumped up with self importance.

Naturally, the presidential candidates are coming up with policies to put in place once in power. Such people should be reminded that if they are genuine Malawians they should not wait till they are voted into power. They can initiate policies at any position they are. It is surprising that some candidates have been MPs for eight years or so and yet they have not initiated any policy. For example,  some of the candidates are busy promising to come up with policies targeting youths once they have been voted into power. Yet  the same candidates have had no input to the same youth policy which had been gathering dust up to August 2013 when president Joyce Banda  launched it.  So many educated youths have no jobs. What are the aspiring candidates doing about this dire situation?

Any genuine Malawian and a sensible leader should not wait to become a state president before making a meaningful contribution to this country.   Experience in Malawi has shown that those who aspire for the high office and have nothing to show they unfortunately just rely on bribing their way into power which is very retrogressive to say the least.

Needless to say,   it is the bribes that usher in wrong leaders who just come in to perfect their art of  of changing public resources into personal fortunes which in short is corruption.  It is very unfortunate that Malawi has been hit badly by corruption from all sorts of people. This has to stop for the sake of the poor majority.

*Emily  Mkamanga,         Email   [email protected]

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