Political Desperation Retarding Democratisation in Malawi

Democratisation is the process followed in order to achieve democracy in either an organisation or a nation. Desperation is such a state in which all hope is lost or absent. It is the act of despair. Any action that is done as a result of desperation commonly brings annihilating results. It is when you desire to own something by dubious means just because you fear losing it due to incompetency. Most politicians in Malawi are in such a state thereby frustrating efforts to achieve total democracy that Malawians fought for in 1992-1994.

One thing that characterise political desperation is intimidation. Politicians who are not confident and focused tend to intimidate their competitors for fear of losing their hot seat instead of taking it as a chance to show their strengths. We saw that during MCP, UDF and DPP when some people who spoke against the government were arrested and detained without trial, some lost their jobs and property while others lost their lives. During MCP we talk about the loss of Matenje, Sangala and Gadama and others. During UDF we talk about Evison Matafale, some chiefs and pastors beaten up and others. During DPP we talk about Robert Chasowa who died mysteriously after criticising the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s government. All these were aimed at silencing those people with alternative ideas. Such cruelty was influenced by political desperation in order to keep their position undemocratically. It is good that we haven’t heard of death or imprisonment without trial with the current government though it has its short falls also. It should be noted that there is no victory without competition. An award is given to those who go through competition or race and have shown their capability by overcoming others.

Malawian politicians are also characterised by hate speeches and character assassination apart from few civilised ones. We saw that during UDF against John Tembo and others by people like Patricia Kaliati and DPP with the same Kaliati and othesr who are even calling the president stupid and mandasi seller. For sure, what is wrong if the president was a mandasi seller and now God has elevated her? Or people who have poor background are not qualified to rule Malawi? May be Callista Mutharika and Patricia Kaliati can answer these questions. During DPP a programme called Makiyolobasi was established to castigate opposition leaders particularly John Tembo to gain political mileage which they succeeded in 2009 election by out casting him. This was also influenced by political desperation. In People’s Party, Hon. Uladi Mussa has been on a helm of hate speaking. He has been speaking against young Muluzi saying that presidency is not chieftaincy or for toddlers. I wonder, does our constitution deny the son/daughter or any relative to the former president to contest. If Atupele Muluzi who has turned 35 before next year’s election is a toddler and not qualified for presidency, can Uladi tell us the constitutional stipulated age for one to contest on presidency?

He also spits bad vocabulary against Peter Mutharika due to his marital status. I wonder, has Peter never married before? If he married and lost a wife, is it a crime in Malawi for him to remain single. Is marriage one of the qualifications of presidency in Malawi? Does it mean that there are no single men or women in Uladi’s constituency? This shows how Hon. Uladi Mussa is desperate of keeping his position by gaining favours from amayi through castigating others. Instead of seating in his office thinking about how to end the collapsed security in the country Uladi is like asking amayi, “when are you holding the next rally so that I castigate the opposition leaders again?” Right now he is like, “I know what to say against Chakwera, just wait and see. He is a political novice”. He swears not to stop insulting opposition because that is what Malawi politics is. What! Which Malawi? We need sound policies not insults. For your information, most people voting in 2014 are different from the past. They are new generation, which is civilised. People’s Party would be better off without people like Uladi Mussa.

Starting with the late Bingu wa Mutharika, we have witnessed massive chiefs’ elevation without merit but for political gain which has not added anything to democracy but rather killing it. Due to political desperation, our leaders think votes lie in the hands of chiefs. They think chiefs will force us to vote for them. Not in contemporary Malawi. That’s a waste of time and money. Create and implement sound socio-economic policies and we will vote for you in 2014. I wish chiefs are elevated upon merit following successful chief’s vetting criteria.

Political desperation is also characterised by giving hand-outs. Giving needy people help is not bad but compromising poverty for the sake of giving hand-outs for political gains is unfortunate. It is mockery to give people food and tell them “vote for me”. This is what I would call electoral blackmailing. We spend more through hand-outs. We need sound policies to scrap out poverty. Politicians who don’t have sound policies would wish all other people were poor so that they gain votes through giving hand-outs. Give people loans to start businesses, not gaining votes through one day hand outs. Sound policies will help keep your positions democratically.

Police and MBC have also been misused by desperate ruling parties. Malawi Broadcasting Corporation is like the ruling party’s mouthpiece, i.e. UDFBC, DPPBC and PPBC according to their tenures’ respectively. MCP is not fitting since there was a single party then thereby locking people’s mind single ideologies but should not be the case now. For sure, how can the whole MBC waste money airing a programme aiming at castigating an individual such as that of John Tembo, Joyce Banda when she was in opposition and now Peter Mutharika and the late Bingu. Please Malawian politicians, be civilised at least for once. I wish MBC was like news websites which publish news impartially. Let us not repeat mistakes others did for the sake of vengeance but rather change things for better. If citizens are to have democratic choice during elections, allow all competent parties to clash each other ideologically on Public Broadcaster. Barring others, shows political desperation which affects democracy. Police also act according to ruling party’s directive instead of government directive. I thought all Malawians need to be served by the police and the MBC equally since we all pay tax in one way or another? Some people get arrested for political reasons to pave way for desperate ruling political elites.

Desperate politicians always twist someone’s statement for political mileage. A good example is the issue of Lake Malawi. MBC carried a programme twisting what Peter Mutharika said on Lake Malawi. Peter did not mention war in his claim of Lake Malawi. He only spoke the truth from historical point of view but political desperation led to airing the programme on MBC saying that Peter was ready for war, come May 2014 contrary to what he said. I believe this was aiming at misleading electorates on presidential choice. What are Tanzanians saying now after hearing about that programme?

Political desperation nowadays is also characterised by fighting over the dead. We have seen and heard about political parties fighting over who buys coffin for the funeral in Thyolo, Lilongwe and other places after all when one was sick, no political party official showed up. Desperate politicians want to buy mourners’ votes through a coffin. What a shame! It is not wrong to buy a coffin for the deceased but in Malawi; it is more of political desperation than sympathy.

Desperate politicians create cases against each other, so that while one is fighting for justice, they can succeed. Let competition take its course not threatening to revamp a court case when one denies joining your party. This applies to all parties who happen to be in power.

Desperate politicians fund churches and projects for political gains other than development. What they have in their heart is, “vote for me because I have done this for you”. If they don’t support your ideologies you start removing iron sheets from school blocks, healthy centres and the like. Some MPs are shifting constituencies for fear of reprimand by their electorates due to their failures.

2014 general election is around the corner, let us choose wisely. Let’s see beyond what we are given today and focus on what we will gain tomorrow when we chose wisely. Let hand-outs not mislead us but vote for honest people with sound policies.


I am a Nyasa Times Columnist and any news website wishing to publish this article should kindly seek permission from Nyasa Times before doing so. All rights reserved


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