Under the Microscope: The Chilima conundrum, but has the hour come?

Like most Malawians, I had been waiting for Vice President Saulos Chilima to tell the nation whether he is ready to bid for the presidency come 2019 elections and I am glad to hear that he will.

Chilima : For presidency in 2019

Having set that matter aside, my attention and I believe that of most Malawians, is to see whether his proposal for moving this country forward is viable. 

From what he says, he seems to imply that the challenges facing this country cannot be solved by changing or maintaining ruling political parties because the problems are actually perpetrated by political parties, themselves!

According to him, a movement of the people, like the Transformation Movement that he ascribes to, is the only way to save Malawi. 

My understanding is that the proposed Movement is supposed to offer a new leadership mechanism that will undo vices that inherent in the traditional political structures. 

I am not very familiar with the movement but it is no secret that political parties in Malawi are built and exist surviving under total capture of founders and funders.

Specifically, nepotism continues to thrive in these parties as the founders’ funders’ try to sustain their grip on the structures mostly for purposes of protecting themselves from consequences of corruption and abuse of power committed during their reign. 

This, in turn only leads to more and more corruption by the anointed replacements who, in turn, go on to protect themselves through more nepotism and so the cycle continues. 

In the final analysis, the only that grows out of this –  exponentially for that matter – is corruption. Granted, political parties cannot exist without someone founding and/or funding them, but its very nature, democracy demands openness, transparency and all other attendant virtues. 

While founders are naturally disclosed by default, political parties ought to exercise total openness on funding. This was a deliberate design of democratic mechanics appearing as an intelligible foresight and I will tell you why:

The secret space between political parties and their private funders is one of the areas most vulnerable to the corruptive influence of money. Ordinary Malawians have no access to information regarding the private individuals, corporations and foreign governments (if any) that fund and influence our political parties. 

What we do know is that such funding shapes our politics and the decisions political parties make on behalf of the people. Secrecy breeds corruption and the secrecy surrounding sources of private funding of political parties is no exception. 

When these parties get voted into power, the will of the nation represented by voters gets outweighed by the bank balances of the secret financiers whose interests normally come into conflict with our own. 

A ruling political party gets into power on the back of its supporters and it needs to keep rewarding its rank and file with continuous tokens of appreciation for the rest of its term if it is to remain in power. 

But because a political party is a NINJAS (No Income No Jobs or Assets), the only way to support rank and file is by taking from the state kitty through fraudulent means, popular amongst them being false invoicing and demanding big payouts in exchange for government contractors such as supplying food packs to the Malawi Police. 

While the DPP has taken this to another level. The very nature of politics of patronage, where a party has to take care of the people that voted it into power, will affect each and every political party that will come into power – be it MCP, PP, Aford. It is the nature of the beast – you reward the people who put you into power.

So if that is the nature of things, what hope is there for Malawi? Well, I have one answer for you: 1993. Yes, 1993. Cliché as it may sound, 1993 taught us that even Malawians who are considered to be peaceful (which is polite for docile) do get fed up and when they do, they cannot be stopped.

In short, 1993 showed us that when Malawians are fed up, they have a tendency for losing their fear of pangas and pistols and will take their power back and get things done on their own terms.

As things stand, today, any well-meaning Malawian will tell that they are fed up not with just with DPP but with the way government and government come in with promises only to use the trust they are given at the polls to enrich themselves. And as years go by, ruling parties have grown bolder in their effrontery, boasting about being untouchables, showing off their ill-gotten wealth and spitting in the face of voters.

As a result, most Malawians feel helpless and are practically disillusioned at the political system that allows the very same people they entrust with their vote to hold them hostage. And that was exactly how Malawians felt about the one-party rule. And then 1993 happened.

There was no warning. No years of planning. No army or weapons. No Napoleon or Ceasar to lead them. It was just ordinary people led by ordinary leaders –a little known (but a giant of a man) Chakufwa Chihana, ordinary Catholic Bishops followed by ordinary politicians – Bakili Muluzi and many others. Just ordinary people. But within a year a system that had been built over a period of 30 years and was propped by an efficient and ruthless police came tumbling down by screams of ordinary people.

I am not saying that 1993 is here again. I am just saying that if it is, there will be no lightning or thunder. If it is here it will not be moved by a special person. It will be moved by a voice, calling for well-meaning Malawians to step forward and save their country. And if it is here, time will not be a factor.

And I wish it is here. Because if it is not here then we, as a people are doomed. Personally, I do not think Malawi can stand another 5 years of looting. 

There may be very little left but it is time that we took back our power and entrust it into the hands of only those who have the capacity and nerve to demolish the entrenched system of abuse and build one that will stand the test of time.

Just as it was the case in 1993, the time has come for people to withdraw the power they gave to politicians; give to a new set of hands with a clear mandate to clean up the mess once and for all and ensure that politicians should never again have a chance to abuse the people’s trust.

So for me, it does not matter who makes the call whether it is Chilima or you the reader or even myself (why not?) I will come. 

I have voted 4 times since 1993 but this time I want my vote to mean something, to change a direction. I do not want to vote for a party or a person, I want to vote for me; I want to vote for my future.

And it is for that reason and that reason alone that I will give Chilima a chance and listen to what he has to say. If the hour has come, I will know. Because, you see, I know the feeling. I was there in 1993.

 

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Popapo
Guest
Popapo

Even if the movement does not succeed come 2019, i am sure it will come to hold in the years to come. Those for movement do not lose heart, Akuba ngakupha chenjerani mvalani zilimbe. But stop praising him too early, Kamuzu turned into Lion because of such worshiping words, gestures.

Bwana Kassim
Guest
Bwana Kassim

interesting comments, the good thing I see here , regardless of who will lead us is that we’re talking about it. Next is, what are we going to do about it, firstly as individuals then as citizens.

Panganani
Guest

Grace, you have said it well. Malawi is in serious INTENSIVE CARE OF CORRUPTION perpertrated by DPP. My worry is each arm of government-starting with the executive, legislature and judiciary are IN DEEP CORRUPTION QUAGMIRE. When I read through the weekend communication amongst the lawyers, it just dawned on me that we collectively need to reset the button and start all over again. PALIPONSE PAKUPWEKETA driven by greed and engrained corruption. The Elderly and ANALOGUES have done us in and we have no hope. Regardless of how sweet their manifestos will look, they have failed us and we should not… Read more »

Napoleone
Guest
Napoleone

This is poor piece of presentation by the writer. The writer is likening the 1993 to the current situation which is wrong. The 1993 was a fight from one party system to democracy. We can’t have the same wind of change blowing at the moment. The Chilima movement is totally different to the 1993 wave of change. The writer should know that it is not only Chilima movement operating, we have the Manganya group wodya Zake Alibe Mulandu which is also promoting youth leadership. But do we really think a youth leadership can change the nation. Let us borrow an… Read more »

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

The 1993 fight was for change for the better and it just so happens that the one party state wasn’t delivering. Today it seems to me, DPP isn’t delivering hence the need for another “revolution” of some sort. political leaders are elected and as citizens we are responsible for the type of leaders we put in power. perhaps this is our time to reflect on how and who we elect to the leadership positions (president, MPs to Councillors). Malawians need to wake up and we slowly are waking up again just as it we did in 1993.

Pempho Langa
Guest
Pempho Langa

You are right bro!!! Life is a learning process. And leadership is very paramount in whatever happens to our lives here on earth and it comes from God. God the Almighty puts everything in its rightful place and time and he never misses. If the person at the top sets the right tone, you know what happens. Just take a look at Kamuzu. He never tolerated corruption and built everything for the future and it still stands solidly today. He was a dictator and never tolerated an opinion different from his. A good example is the 1964 cabinet crisis. Just… Read more »

Sikusinja
Guest
Sikusinja

Has anybody ever asked SKC why with the history of Bingus looting, the DPP K266billion cashgate, the Lewis Ngalande led DPP youth wielding Pangas in the streets, the DPP connected death of Chasowa and May 20 shootings, he of all parties felt that DPP is the right party for him? If we can answer the question of why he was attracted to the DPP then we can also know what kind of character he is. Politicians when they want to be in power will say all the right things, drain the swamp, there is corruption etc. Didn’t Peter say he… Read more »

pundit guru
Guest
pundit guru

Very well written Gladys….. I hope the docile will wake up once again and soon. Be it DPP or PP or UDF, all are same, all with rotten thieves. Time has indeed come for transformation…..and we all Malawians have to do collectively for our future, for our kids future. These aging thieves don’t have Malawi or Malawians at heart, as they don’t care about the common citizens whether they are alive or died bcoz of gross negligence by the ruling DPP govt. Republics constitution has to be redefined and putting it right in peoples favor. Remove the immunity for presidents.… Read more »

oMachemba
Guest
oMachemba

Quite a forceful presentation, so it seems … until I read the very last paragraph: “… that I will give Chilima a chance and listen to what he has to say.” The basic premise of the presentation, it appears to me, is that the political systems (in Malawi, and elsewhere I dare say) are set up to reward supporters of the winners. And the writer seems to have no qualms about this ( to wit: “… be it MCP, PP, Aford. It is the nature of the beast.”) A fait acompli and nothing we can do about it! Is that… Read more »

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

You may be right that Chilima isn’t the change champion we all have been waiting for. However, there is need for change….we just need that change champion to rise amongst us and very soon. The fact that private funders are able to manipulate politics of the day, is a manifestation of a greedy and manipulatable populace. The general premise is that the general populace is manuipulatable and therefore can be bought by a “loaf of bread”. Unfortunately with the level of hunger we have in Malawi, the general populace would be prone to manipulation through handouts. The question of poverty… Read more »

Pempho Langa
Guest
Pempho Langa

Mindset change does not happen over night. It takes leadership to change mindset. A good example is our spiritual life. It is bent on changing us and it is a life-long journey that presents us with new experiences and challenges everyday. Its leadership comes from God, Himself who is the master of change. Likewise, we need leadership as a country that can spearhead the much needed change. Let’s pray hard that 2019 God gives us that leader who is going to change to course of our country just like in 1964 when Kamuzu come.

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

Gladys, you have nailed it. Well articulated

Grova
Guest
Grova

Quite a forceful presentation indeed, as Malawians we need to define what we want, how we want to be achieved and who has the quality and capacity to lead us to achieve what we want. This is why transformation leadership is required to change things towards our destiny. Any leader who wants to take us through should demonstrate his or her capacity on how he/she will take the country through with evidence. Ntchito za mmanja anu zichitire umboni

Pempho Langa
Guest
Pempho Langa

Chilima has put this aptly well by saying that we need 3 things: What we want as a country?, How are we going to get there? and then who is going to lead us there? So leadership is on number 3. 1. Vision, 2. Strategy and 3. Leadership. Just like Joseph in Egypt, who else is more qualified to take the leadership position.

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