Yet another season of arrests: A win-win story for good governance and democracy in Malawi

Whatever the outcome of these unprecedented arrests and the subsequent trials – assuming trial wills materialise; democracy consolidation and the rule of law will emerge the victors.

Scenario No. 1:

If DPP continues to languish in the opposition wilderness for the foreseeable future (i.e. after 2014), it will genuinely see to it that the constitution and rule of law are upheld and respected at all times by the executive, with a vengeance.

This will do the ingraining of democracy in Malawi good.

Scenario No. 2:

If PP loses the election in 2014 (to whatever party), any laws that it has not complied with, and any abuses /crimes committed by PP officials while in power, any corrupt liaisons with shady characters happening now; will be visited upon its leadership in arrears with interest, complete with a good dose of cardiac arrests, jail collapses and all that jazz.

Peter Mutharika: Alleged coup plotter
Peter Mutharika: Alleged coup plotter

This, again, will benefit Malawi’s democracy and will be yet another milestone on the journey to a better Malawi.

I am not – in any way – advocating an eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth, and I am not the one who set the stage way back either. I Invented neither tit-for-tat nor have I ever lobbied for it, it just happens to be the sad reality in the politics not only of Malawi, but for a better part of Africa.

Flames of fire roaring:

Just as they say iron sharpens iron, through the hard way, with a bizarre cocktail of sporadic bursts of brilliance followed by unadulterated blunders, via painstaking schemes turned into follies by accidents of fate, in seasons of madness and during some rare stretches of well planned, orchestrated and executed courses of action,

Malawi’s democracy is continuously going through “the baptism of fire”.

Wherever the bush is still standing, seems to be this fire’s favourite direction – and woe unto the bush that refuses to bend over and give way!

Career talk:

For my colleagues who had the wisdom to study law; this is a very good time because all the win-wins above, translate – for lawyers – into fat bank accounts, and all the attendant luxuries currently beyond the wildest dreams of the ordinary woman and man.

I would urge the youths amongst us; currently busy “clapping hands” for whichever side today, to consider studying law.

Practicing law is by far a more lucrative undertaking than hand-clapping because as observed by Lucius, “andale ndimizu yakachere” – tomorrow they will be drinking tea together.

Yesterday it was “Free Ralph!”; today it is “Free Peter!”, and tomorrow?

For fellow Malawians – currently traversing the length and breadth of Malawi delivering “Free Peter Petitions” to District Commissioners, I wish them better luck, especially when Peter is finally freed, as he must be soon.

Last time I chanted “Free Somebody! Free Somebody!” that “somebody” was indeed freed.

But trust me; my contribution towards his freedom is why today you are chanting “Free Peter!”

The person whose release from incarceration I and many others innocently and selflessly fought for is not only the legal brain behind your current chanting, but is costing the tax payer billions through poor and sub-standard legal advice to the government.

The ultimate question:

The question we should be asking ourselves, or rather the issue we should be grappling with, is: whose freedom should we really be fighting for?

As a person once beaten and now twice shy, my studied response is that the only freedom worth fighting for is for my people, viz. the common man and woman in the village, on the street, the marginalised, the often cheated and taken-for-granted masses. Full stop.

Look elsewhere at your own peril, go ahead and “fight” for these politicians who only need you when they are in trouble or need your vote – like Ralph for instance. But brace yourself for disenchantment when you have swallowed hook, line and sinker, their cheap podium talk.

The point is: after all the sacrifices people make to prop up many of our leaders, there is very little at national and even individual level to show save for the leaders’ immediate families and cronies. Have you ever asked yourself why?

Malawi, and I believe this, is not poor. I further submit that if Malawi’s leaders are able to amass unimaginable wealth during their time in power, it does not require a miracle to elevate the poorest amongst Malawians to decent living standards, even without donor money.

Long live democracy in Malawi, the future is now, not tomorrow!

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