A few days ago, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held a fund-raising Dinner and Dance at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, which they christened ‘Blue night’. We hear it was aimed at raising funds for its operations.
The ‘Mapwevupwevu’ could not have come at a better time than just after the country witnessed some by-elections in Mchinji, Lilongwe and Kasungu in the central region as in Zomba in the south. The ruling party has basically been given a rude awakening.
The party lost Kaliyeka Ward to Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and only managed to retain Sadzi Ward in Zomba and earned Kasungu’s Bunda Ward.
The DPP flop comes against the backdrop of a massive investment in the election by the party including the President who visited the areas to campaign from the frontline.
I am sure apart from his advice to blue patriots at the ‘Blue Night’ to make sacrifices for the party, its head and President Peter Mutharika was silently reflecting deeply on the results of an election ‘small’ in size (according to DPP spokespersonFrancis Katsaila) but very significant in meaning. An election that offer a preview of the prevailing thinking of Malawians.
The ruling party invested an arm and a leg in this election. Vice President, Saulos Chilima actually took it personal and his team literally camped in the Mchinji West Constituency.
At some point during the campaign, the DPP leadership congratulated its‘s torch-bearer in advance for a comprehensive victory, which the thought was a foregone conclusion.
According to history, ruling parties have won by-elections since multiparty democracy in Malawi and DPP rurers may have this fact in mind when he congratulated their candidate in advance. It turned out that people are not interested in maintaining history anymore, and decided to show DPP who the boss is.
The people of Malawi, through the by-elections, demonstrated to the DPP that regardless its deep resource envelop that allowed it to stage a material campaign by distributing rice and all sorts of freebies, it is still the commoner who holds the real power through the casting of the ballot.
To pretend that things are okay in this country would be a lie and Mutharika and his people know this. Day after day, Mutharika’s presidency is looking more clueless and insipid, without solutions to the common challenges that Malawians are facing in their lives.
The president often appears aloof and far removed from the needs of Malawians. Corruption has reached alarming levels, and government’s lacklustre approach to dealing with the vice has been bogged down by politics. The main corruption fighting machine, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), has suffered massive failure, and appears to have lost its head and behaving like a hysterical rabbit. And one even wonder what job is Lucas Kondowe doing at ACB as its head – shielding corrupt gangster in the corridors of power, perhaps.
Donors are yet to resume direct budgetary support, something that has left Capital Hill limping and failing to provide even the very basic social services. Hospitals don’t have the necessary drugs and pregnant women are being turned back for lack of basic things like water in labour wards.
Education standards have ebbed to their lowest knees in decades and teachers don’t remember the last time they received a full pay in time. Inflation is in the double digits and for the first time in history, Malawi has been called the poorest in the world. We became, in fact, the first poorest country in the world that was not involved in any major war or civil conflict in the last decade.
It is reported that the MK577 billion forensic audit, which was funded by the German government and undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers implicated several cabinet ministers. Mutharika has, however, chosen to do nothing about it, and he is the first one to ‘hide’ his ministers and engaging in a war of words with opposition on the same.
The DPP government has chosen to delay to release the results of the audit opting instead to play mysterious and clever shadow-boxing with the truth-demanding public.
It is now confirmed that the Mutharika government has veered off-course and lost the moral high ground to govern. This fact has also not escaped Malawians as attested by the party’s flop in the just held by-elections. The ruling party needs to do some comprehensive soul-searching if it still wants to govern beyond 2019 because Malawians will simply not accept to continue to be taken for granted.
Katsaila may have uttered some face-saving statements to the fact that this was an insignificant affair, and that DPP is not perturbed by results, and that that life must go on. Silently, he knows that the writing is on the wall and it will not be business as usual. The fact that the DPP deployed vice president Chilima to head the campaign shows that Katsaila is lying and flies straight in the face the Vice President.
The fact is Malawians have spoken.
“I think a failed state is the responsibility of the people who have made that state fail, and those are generally the people of that country.”- Lakhdar Brahimi
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