Whither Malawi: Keep the "peace" or change the regime?

Recent headlines:

Italy:

“Mr Berlusconi lost his majority amid an acute debt crisis that threatens the eurozone. He promised to go once MPs had approved new austerity measures. Crowds celebrated outside the presidential palace, shouting “buffoon” as he entered. The BBC’s Alan Johnston in Rome says Mr Berlusconi’s last journey as prime minister was an undignified one.

Police struggled to control a large, hostile crowd which booed and jeered as his convoy swept by, and after his resignation he left by a side exit to avoid the protesters. Berlusconi said he felt “embittered” after hearing the insults.” – Italy crisis: Silvio Berlusconi resigns as PMBBC, November 13, 2011

Greece, USA, Italy:

“Violence has broken out in Athens, New York and across Italy as anger caused by economic strife boils over on the streets. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near Wall Street, with some trying to stop workers getting to their desks in the Big Apple’s financial district. There were skirmishes as tempers flared and it is understood several dozen arrests have been made.” – Fury At Sinking Economies Drives Global DemosSky News, November 18, 2011.

Malawi:

“Sooner than later this country (Malawi) will be completely plundered because of government’s misconception that intelligence is a monopoly of those people in power. Lastly Malawians should stand up and say NO to suffering in PEACE.” – Malawians pay high price for being peacefulNyasa Times, November 18, 2011.

Malawi: Now Police state

North Africa vs. Central Africa:

Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans, in what has come to be termed the Arab Spring, recently changed regimes bringing to an end decades and decades of corruption and tyranny. The three deposed rulers, their families and cronies, lived in obscene wealth while the masses were wallowing in abject poverty.

The Tunisians, the Egyptians, and the Libyans were a bit late with their popular uprising; Central African countries, namely Malawi and Zambia underwent something akin to this evolution, in the early nineties.

Give “peace” or “war” a chance?

As far as some quarters are concerned, barely a few years on, Malawi has gone two or three steps backwards. What should Malawians do?

They challenged the regime on July 20. Two of the twenty public demands have since been honoured. The University stand-off is no more, and Mr Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, if he so wishes, can return to Malawi. But still not much else has improved. Should Malawians go further and change the regime or should they let the regime be for the sake of peace?

Some, as implied in Malawians pay high price for being peaceful through the comments say “No! Enough is enough, to hell with Mutharika!”

Others, say 2014 is not too far away, Malawi is poor and can ill-afford conflict, let us hold on and hope for the best.

The dilemma is not an easy one because although even hard-core ruling DPP cadres now agree that Mutharika’s policies are taking Malawi to an abyss, unlike the North Africans; in Malawi we have a constitution which should, all things being equal, give power to the people and after 2014, Mutharika should go.

On the other hand, the constitution is very malleable and Mutharika has more than once already violated it – without getting any sanctions, for two reasons. The first one being that he is immune from prosecution and the second one being that his party has a parliamentary majority and this practically puts him beyond impeachment.

It goes of course without saying that given the parliamentary majority, the loopholes will not be addressed any day sooner. And this frustration is what is driving those that want to use any means necessary to change the situation, nuts. They want to rid Bingu hoping that they can, before another “vampire” comes, fine-tune the constitution and hopefully live happily ever after.

Coming back to those advocating for patience, they argue that the problem lies with Malawians. Even if “St Peter” were to come to earth to serve as the president of Malawi, Malawians would, in no time, mould him into a dictator because of the tendency to deify and heap praises on rulers for selfish and personal gain.

Your Views:

Without prejudicing your thoughts and having – we hope – balanced arguments for and against each school of thought; we at Nyasa Times want to hear your views.

There are two questions, with no middle ground:

1.     Should Malawians continue suffering in peace?

or

2.      Is now the time to say enough is enough, Mutharika stay wherever you are, and do not dare to return to Malawi, after all you have already absconded?

Please, with as much civility as you can muster, support your viewpoint.

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