Written by Patseni Mauka
There are similarities between Lazarus Chakwera and Ras Chikomeni Chirwa. They both come from religious backgrounds. Ras Chikomeni is a devote Rastafarian, complete with dreadlocks. Chakwera is a devote Pentecostal Christian and Pastor, complete with a fake American English accent. Having not miraculously gotten rich from ‘religious activities’ like prophets of today, these two are relatively poor. Chikomeni is just poorer than Chakwera.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not degrading these people. Poverty is poverty, it has one name only and I don’t know any other word to use in place of poverty. I have my own poverty. Proudly, my poverty includes not understanding why DPP failures and thieves should seek to be voted back into power. So allow me to use the word as it applies to these two presidential aspirants.
Reportedly, Ras Chikomeni could not afford two million Kwacha for nomination fees and his papers were rejected by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). This has exposed the inaccuracy in the statement; ‘anyone who qualifies to be president can stand’. Maybe they should change and say; ‘anyone who has money to pay nomination fees can stand’. Unless some donor comes up with the two million Kwacha for nominations fees, our respected Rasta will not be on the ballot in May. Very unfair.
Chakwera and MCP could not afford campaign money. The difference is that while Ras Chikomeni could not find donors for his nomination fees and campaign money, Chakwera found a solution, albeit one that will have disastrous results in the near future. Chakwera found a donor. Well, actually he found a buyer for MCP.
One of the recommendations by MCP strategists was to spend big on campaign and get a partner from the southern or northern region in order to win the elections. Chakwera thinks in Sidik Mia, he got both campaign money and a partner for the south. What he doesn’t know is that he has sold MCP. Mia is not a partner who can make a difference in votes in the south, unless some miracle happens.
Mia is the same as having no partner at all. Apart from winning parliamentary elections in his constituency in Chikwawa, he has no record of having followers in the South, it’s just illusion. Just because he was a cabinet minister, people think he is a bigwig. But I know many former cabinet ministers who believed that by constantly appearing in the news, they were bigwigs. Most are jobless now, without even having a parliamentary seat.
Mia just mastered the art of making himself look big and popular. Mia made a lot of money from questionable deals with fellow businessmen when he was in government. With this money, he easily duped Chakwera to controversially choose him as his running mate way before the MCP convention rubber stamped the terrible idea.
Mia just wants to use the MCP train to get what he wants, the presidency. When he gets the Presidency, MCP will be his farm, like the one he has in Chikwawa. He has tried it with UDF, DPP and PP before. With PP, he was so disappointed and angry when Joyce Banda bypassed him in the running mate selection. He resigned from PP a few months before the 2014 elections. When he fails to get what he wants through MCP, he will jump the ship again. That’s when Chakwera will know the disaster he has created now.
Chakwera probably secretly knows he has failed to get a solid partner for MCP to break the jinx of getting majority of it’s votes from the central region only. That is why this week, to show something, Chakwera announced an alliance with little known Freedom Party. It’s a face saving stunt for Chakwera who has failed to court known parties that would make a big difference in the elections.