Whichever way you look at it, 2018 has been a year of twists and turns.
Meanwhile, Malawi our motherland, the ONLY one we have is firing on all cylinders towards an abyss.
We are now entering that vicious semester when the very people who have been accelerating our doomed cruise towards the chasm while claiming to be doing us favours will come to us with sweet-sounding ideas on how, if again given the mandate from May 2019, they will fix the mess they have exacerbated.
Makes one think doesn’t it?
Talking about thinking, what better time of the year than the wee hours of the year for us to soberly meditate and as Shakespeare would say, to pause and weigh our value with an even hand?
Blues’ Orators, we all deserve better and better can only come with a State President capable of putting country over party and cronies, forward thinking parliamentarians able to put our interests over their tummies and councillors occupying their humble councils to serve.
The question is: what can we do to hire this dream president, patriotic MPs and selfless councillors when experience has taught us that politicians are birds of a feather?
Let’s start by looking where we are coming from.
It is clear that the old thinking that got us into this mess is that last thing we need to get out of this mess. We need new thinking and an innovative approach.
Look here: in 2012, we had a false start through former Pres Joyce Banda’s ascendance to the presidency.
Sadly, it didn’t end well.
In 2013 fate came calling again: veteran JZU Tembo retired and ushered in a new Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Dr Lazarus Chakwera. Whether it was due to naivety, incompetence or both; Chakwera quickly turned out to be ‘of a feather’.
Fast forward to 2018, Dr Saulos Chilima has come with fanfare. As we speak, he is up and about town and country promising every Jack and Jill a Christmas present.
He has tickled people’s fancy with lots of Santa’s promises and a slogan to boot: Tsogolo Lathu, Lowala, Labwino, Lafika! Literally translated: Come one come all, a shining new bright future is here!
Despite this bold pronouncement, people are wary and with good reason too.
Jog your memory to the expectant jollity at Joyce Banda’s swearing in ceremony back in 2012.
Then add the euphoria when Chakwera quit the pulpit to ‘cleanse’ our dirty politics and the glee when – against all odds – he triumphed over other star-studded MCP presidential aspirants.
Today, what do we have to show for all those expectations?
This is why it will take more than slogans to convince sceptics that in Chilima, we have a “Joshua”.
What needed to happen and can still happen is a revolution. A revolution that will deliver a cross-party grand alliance capable of:
- Adopting a common philosophy, ideology so to speak, that can resonate and reunite Malawians, and
- Collaborating out of conviction that ONLY genuine servant leadership can propel Malawi forward for all, to unshackle Malawi from DPP.
This is a tough call though because it requires the respective party leaders to be brave and to bury their egos for the sake of Malawi.
The thing is: with MCP having lost the 2014 unrecycled mantra which was the selling point that took it to position number two despite cash-strapped Chakwera campaigning only a few months, and with UTM Party being increasingly viewed as ‘DPP Team B’ for obvious reasons, and with Joyce Banda’s Peoples Party (PP) practically on ‘roaming’; Peter Mutharika is the only winner.
I will rephrase: MCP, UTM and PP’s refusal and failure to upgrade into the cross-party crusade I have referred to above gifts Peter Mutharika a second term and since we have been there before, everyone knows what that means.
Look around you and let the reality sink in.
What dent has UTM made on DPP’s numbers down South? Has MCP made sizeable inroads into the Lhomwe Belt? No.
While DPP, in its stronghold, is as strong as ever; MCP’s base is wobbly.
If you think just because MCP has roped in Harry Mkandawire up North and Sidik Mia down the Lower Shire then it has the numbers, you have another think coming. Mkandawire was with PP in 2014, did PP win? Didn’t Mia endorse Atupele Muluzi in 2014? Didn’t Atupele come fourth?
Now check this: If Chakwera, Joyce Banda and Atupele had formed an alliance in 2014, DPP – as we know it – even after roping in the then ex-private sector Chilima would have lost.
It is the same thing today.
Divided as they are, MCP, PP and UTM are as useful as bridesmaids escorting Peter Mutharika to Sanjika. This is why DPP strategists, aware that under a 50+1 framework MCP, UTM and PP would unite around one candidate to unseat Mutharika, fought the 50+1 rule tooth and nail.
DPP knows it cannot win against a united opposition. They also calculated that due to greed, the likelihood of MCP, PP and UTM forming a pre-election electoral alliance is next to zero.
They were right.
Do the math and you’ll see that with the opposition vote split four or five ways, the DPP will win.
My final appeal to Chakwera, Chilima and Joyce Banda is to listen to reason and not to greed and emotion. Forget for a moment about your political minders who are there to serve themselves and not Malawians.
United you win and divided you fall and sadly, your failure gifts Mutharika and his DPP another five years of impunity.
The task at hand, i.e. that of toppling Mutharika cannot and should not be underestimated.
It requires sacrifice. It means doing away with egos and minor differences for the benefit of the suffering ordinary Malawians who – as always – pay the ultimate price.
Please do have a heart: make 2019 a truly happy and prosperous year for your people!
Mere wishes don’t count.