Written by: Peter Mmangisa Chonga
Let me make one thing crystal clear right off the bat that the objective here is not to discredit any particular interests, individuals, groups or otherwise. Let it also be known that I personally neither subscribe to nor identify with any political interest in the country. I have said this in an attempt to eliminate any assertions aimed at branding my views or me personally as a sycophant or an ideologue parroting views of a particular political interest. It will be a shame to misconstrue views expressed here for something else other than a passionate presentation of a genuine patriot, nothing much, nothing less.
Truly, I believe that none of these political parties reflect or align with values that should have been fundamental to their whole purpose of existence in the first place; human decency, fostering intra-country cohesion, service, transformation and making a creative contribution to the life of our nation.
Individuals heading these political entities are many things but transformative, decent, late alone servants. They have morphed their political parties into breeding grounds of opportunists and plunderers, to say the least. They are job seekers just like you and me in the civil service, private sector or civil society. That’s precisely the problem with these self-made politicians, they are job seeking in the wrong sector.
Any office that requires an election to be filled is not meant to be a job or some sort of personal income generator. Public offices are a service. Unfortunately, none of the folks in these offices are in for the service, that I say without fear of contradiction or retribution. If anyone out there feels that this point is erroneous, more particularly elected officials, I challenge you today, starting from the President all the way down to ward councilors from Nsanje to Chitipa, please step forward, show us your bank accounts and assets before you got elected. Then, let’s compare that with what you now have accumulated since you took office. Let the common people judge whether you have been a benefactor to the country or a beneficiary from poor people’s taxes.
That Malawi is neck deep in human waste is no secret. Surely, no one needs the American President to give a public lecture in order for us to understand what a mess of a country we have created for ourselves. For 54 years we have been perpetuating an extremely retrogressive practice, a system that is designed to alienate certain groups at the expense of others, a systemic and systematic practice of picking winners and losers purely based on tribe, region, and political affiliation. Talents and academic qualifications are considered last on terms of reference for prospective appointments. I am talking about a system conjoined with the country itself like Siamese twins, delivered out of a colonial womb side by side. Thanks to the able hands and ingenuity of one physician Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda.
For 30 solid years folks from central region through Malawi Congress Party (MCP) called all the shots, reigned supreme in every sector, they were untouchable, dominated everywhere, each family claimed some sought of connection to either the Ngwazi, Mama Kadzamira or John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo. Their reign came to an end in 1994 with the advent of a Democratic system of governance, common man’s euphoria was unfathomable, chants of ”we want change reverberated across the nation” United Democratic Front (UDF) was ushered into office with a promise of a new vision in a democratized republic.
Before long, it became apparent that the change birthed by the UDF was nothing but a shift of balance of power, the nepotistic pendulum swung from the Central Region to the Southern Region. Same nepotism, same corruption, and the same plunder. The only change was that the strings were being pulled by Southerners. Needless to say, the Central Region has been trying to swing it back ever since. MCP has tried different means and ways such as coalitions, solo, and change in leadership, all in an effort to recapture power. Do not be fooled that MCP, PP, Aford or the new kid giving Mutharika and the DDP insomnia are interested in developing the country. Believe it or not, the bottom line is all about opportunity.
Conversely, the Northern region has literally been reduced to a bunch of political spectators, cheerleading for the party that pretends to care about their region. This status quo may be attributed to two factors. Number one, the region just does not have the numbers, secondly, Northerners have a serious inability when it comes to consolidating individual egos into one mahoosive ego.
So it will not matter who gets the power come 2019, the only change we are going to see will be a swing of a nepotistic pendulum to either the Center or the North or staying right where it is; With the Mapwiyes in the South.
The major problem with such a system is that people go to the ballot box not because they want transformation, or they agree with this manifesto or disagree with that manifesto. No, not at all. They vote because of the prospects of enjoying the prestige and all the trappings that come with mere association with the region the sitting President comes from. They know innately, even if they have nothing today, however, their probability of making it in life improves greatly with a President from their own region other than from a different one. This is one of many wrongs this country needs to right. It’s a curse that needs to be reversed.
Who among us is willing to be selfless, be that direly needed living sacrifice for mother Malawi? Who among us is selflessly willing to invest their resources, cognitive and physical energy for the benefit of poor Malawians and not themselves? I mean who among us, has at least a single bone remaining in their system to put their friends, loyalists, and even family on the line in order to incinerate the wakithu or wakwathu syndrome plaguing the entire nation? Malawi seriously needs a different anatomy in order to experience meaningful transformation.