Who really, is killing Malawi democracy?

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson Jane Ansah should resign. We are not debating whether or not she should go. It is a matter of when. First, because she promised to do just that if the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court (Con-Court), found her on the wrong side of the law. Unfortunately for her, it looks like she is not even good at prophesying; the court has just done that. But the more stinging verdict was that Ansah’s MEC demonstrated total incompetence in the manner it conducted the elections.

With due respect, MEC exists for Malawians. Its mandate to organise the elections is premised on the understanding that it will deliver credible, violence free and fair polls. But for the undue return on the same, Malawians have now withdrawn that mandate from the commissioners. They are a liability.

This is what the petitioners, UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and MCP leader Lazarus Chakwera, took to court. The Con-Court has just affirmed the petitioners’ stand that the elections were a sham.

Secondly, Ansah and her fellow commissioners have to go because they have lost the moral high ground to continue serving as MEC officials. Nobody except those who benefitted from the fraudulent elections would still have trust in this MEC. And now all that Malawians are asking for is that the commissioners should leave honourably and quickly. They should do so quickly to pave way for new commissioners to conduct fresh presidential elections by June 2 2020.

MEC’s commissioners should go because their incompetence has and will cost the taxpayer billions of kwacha. This is from the nullified elections and for the fresh ones to be held in 145 days. MEC will pay the legal costs for the two petitioners, the organisation’s own legal team and will have to find money again to hold the fresh presidential elections. The bill will run in billions of kwacha. It is shameful that this is taxpayers’ money flashed down the sewer line. And this is money that could have been used to buy drugs or build classrooms, pay teachers or school fees for needy students in universities or indeed fund other government activities. The other cost the nation has paid is the loss of business and income during the eight months the country was plunged into a political impasse when Malawians were agitating for Ansah’s removal or resignation for messing up the elections.

And now even with the judgement, it looks like we are far from exorcising the demons.  With due respect to the democratic right that President Peter Mutharika—the chief beneficiary of MEC’s incompetence—he has indicated that he will challenge the Con-Court ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal. In his own words, APM said the ruling is “a subversion of justice, an attack on our democratic systems and an attempt to undermine the will of the people”.

But if truth be told, it is APM’s appeal against the ruling that is an attempt to undermine the will of the people. The will of the people is what the Con-Court delivered on February 3, 2020. Only beneficiaries of MEC’s incompetence and misconduct can dispute this. The country was apprehensive before the court delivered its ruling as it was thought that whichever way the ruling would go, the losers would plunge the country into violence. But the court tackled all issues brought on the table so skilfully, comprehensively and fairly that not even DPP with an entrenched culture of violence found a reason to engage in violence.

The peace and calm the nation has enjoyed after the ruling against expectation that there will be violence is because the judgement represents the will of the majority of people. It therefore beggars belief that someone can be so blind to the glairing truth as to say the judgement “inaugurates the death of Malawi’s democracy”.

Many honest Malawians will agree that the opposite is true. Since 1994 when Malawi adopted a multiparty system of government, it is during APM’s administration—from 2014 to date—that the country has witnessed a wholesale reversal of the fruits of democracy. Instead what has flourished during this period is nepotism, regionalism, cronyism tribalism, corruption, poverty, insecurity, lack of rule of law, crippling of governance institutions, clueless leadership, to mention just a few. And this is why the leadership had no idea about how to get the country out of the political impasse it was plunged in since the May 21 2019 elections. No one was in control.

And it is during APM’s administration that the public broadcaster, MBC, has completely swung south, throwing all caution to the wind and become brazenly biased. Only the other day it referred to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition as gulu la chifwamba (a rebel group). Come on, those at MBC should know that there is always tomorrow. Unfortunately it is the taxpayer who will foot the bill when HRDC gets its cheque as compensation for damages.

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Forgive them
Forgive them
1 year ago

Kaya atakhala chilima president,ife bola dpp ichoke,koma chilima akapita ku dpp ine ndidzavotera mcp coz sipadzasintha zinthu,

Visanza
Visanza
1 year ago

Nhlane, your analysis is completely flawed. APM has been one of the most democratic of Malawi’s post-Kamuzu leaders. Have you forgotten how Bakili Muluzi beat the hell out of the media. How Muluzi tried to force a third-term? How judges were threatened with impeachment. You talk about tribalism, can you explain to us why the judiciary in Malawi is dominated by people from one region? By the way, if you allow yourself to thoroughly read the ConCourt you will realise that it has fundamental weaknesses. Indeed, if you were honest you would be calling for all former MPs to be… Read more »

The Sage
The Sage
1 year ago
Reply to  Visanza

You try to twist things to make sense but you are ignorant. The judges did not say we should use 50+1 out of the blues. They are merely bringing in a solution to a problem that has been rocking us and so they started by redefining the term majority in the right way.
You cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect the problem to go away. Common sense yakupelewelani bambo. Bongo wanu ndi wachisanzadi

GOLOLO
GOLOLO
1 year ago
Reply to  Visanza

BOy dont mistake his dumbness for democratic, apm is so dumb, played by those who sorround him

SAUNDERS
SAUNDERS
1 year ago
Reply to  Visanza

My Brother Steven Nhlane was a Press Officer for Mai Joyce Banda and have fierce hatred for the Mutharikas because Peter removed them them from State House. They are fighting a combined war to remove Peter

Mbonga Matoga
Mbonga Matoga
1 year ago

APM just want to buy more time to let his henchmen steal enough money from govt confers for the campaign……he knows too well that the Supreme Court can and will not overturn the comcourt ruling …. My only advice to APM is that if he had accepted the comcourt ruling and start campaigning now he might have had a chance of winning the rerun, but if he lose the case at the Supreme Court of appeal his base will lose trust in him will disintegrate. He will also end up with a huge bill to pay his legal team for… Read more »

Mavuto
Mavuto
1 year ago

At first the indication was that the concourt verdict was final. But later it transpired it was not, hence the appeal to achieve finality. I see no merit in condemning the appeal or threatening demos to sway the appeal process. The appeal must be heard. Main problem with Malawians is the mindset, everyone thinks the govt has all answers to their problems. It is never that way, the govt is there to promote, regulate/safeguard individuals pursuit of their own development and happiness. There are many in Malawi who were doing well during kamuzu, and continue to stay rich during bakili,… Read more »

Rule
Rule
1 year ago
Reply to  Mavuto

Totally agree with you Mavuto. The problem that we Malawians have is our Mindset. People think government is going to solve their problems. There is the notion that our country is far worse. It is not. Go to Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Zomba etc and see how many people are driving expensive cars and sleeping in good houses. Yes, there are many more poor people. But government is there to create an enabling environment. The problem is that in recent years, we have seen a group of charlatans masquerading as CSO activists telling people change (of governments) is going to solve… Read more »

H E Nyaphapi One
1 year ago
Reply to  Rule

I just left Mugg ‘n Bean. Nice coffee they have. Great service.

kanchenga
kanchenga
1 year ago
Reply to  Mavuto

The basic principle that government provides environment for business to grow is true but DPP did not just fail to provide that but it was actually killing business. Heavy taxes, corrupt bureaucracy, clueless leadership and jungle politics destroyed the little that had survived from Bandas era.

Melody
Melody
1 year ago
Reply to  Mavuto

I agree with you 100%.

Ngwenyama
Ngwenyama
1 year ago

We can say the rest but tribalism and regionalism have always been in Malawi. Look at the MCP leadership and it is obviously a regional party. same thing when MCP was in power. who were the governors of the RBM. it’s a very unfortunate truth. Maybe what should be done is to come up with policies that actively go against tribalistic tendancies. E.g the ministry lands should publish in the papers all the people it has allocated land to in a certain place. As much as it sounds extra, individuals at the ministry will be on their toes.

Sahara
Sahara
1 year ago
Reply to  Ngwenyama

Really? You gonna point out what happened almost 30 years ago instead of pointing out what’s happening right now with the Lhomwes? Are you living in the past?

Kaphiza
Kaphiza
1 year ago
Reply to  Ngwenyama

You have so much hatred for the MCP, I think DPP could be your very good example

Chakuza
Chakuza
1 year ago
Reply to  Ngwenyama

APM is a useless guy to our democracy, his days are numbered.He is going anytime soon.Freedom is coming.

Melody
Melody
1 year ago
Reply to  Chakuza

Unfortunately it may be SKC time . And MCP continues to be the bench who Knows

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