15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. — Matthew 26:15 New International Version (NIV)
It could be said that after 31-years of the one-party rule of the Malawi Congress Party under Ngwazi Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, when Malawians overwhelmingly chose multiparty, Kamuzu sternly warned us in 1992-94.
“Multiparty is war! There’ll be war among Malawians, and I’m urging my people to say No to this system of government,” Kamuzu said on his campaign trail in the Referendum and 1994 multiparty elections.
Of course, we did not listen; we went to the polls, voted the one-party out and the multiparty in, and we have not gone to war with each other in 25 years of democracy. For this Malawians must be grateful for our peace-loving nature.
We are in our sixth round of elections and what could be our sixth State President. We should be proud as Malawians of the peaceful transition of power, with little or no civil unrest in handing over of power.
However, the information highlighted below found its way into my Inbox; and loving my country the way that I do, I share it, in the hope that none may act zealously in support of party and that none may be lost as a result of that zealotry.
I am told that in rural areas, lighting equipment may deliberately made to malfunction so verifying or identifying who has voted for who, may be difficult.
To mitigate this, monitors must ensure they have fully charged phones by the time it is night so they can use the cell phone light to carry out their monitoring jobs.
In areas where someone is too popular compared to the one the riggers want to win, they arrange to supply some salivating food just before the time of vote counting. This food may be poisoned with sleep inducers, so the monitors who may eat it may fail to be effective on their job.
To avoid this risk, monitors must not eat food items from an unknown source. Added to this, monitors must be careful and should not accept a ride in cars of unknown persons. They should also always travel in groups when going to or leaving the polling stations.
This shows desperate times we have entered in our young democracy. But it is not ok, this is not on. I share with you other goings on that I do not find ok in a democracy. I borrow US Representative Adam Schiff’s style.
It may be ok for some people to cause motor vehicle or other accident to eliminate your political opponent.
I don’t think it’s ok.
It may be ok for some people to kill persons with Albinism or kill and remove organs of your fellow human being, for you to win in the elections.
I don’t think it’s ok. In fact, I find it reprehensible. All people have a right to life and are protected by our Constitution.
It may be ok for some people, especially in the ruling party with the strong arm of the Police Service, to eliminate whistle-blowers through cooked-up prison scrimmages.
It may be ok for them. But I don’t think this is ok, it goes against our freedom of speech.
Some people, again those in the ruling political party, to use public monies from the MRA or the MACRA, for campaign purposes; thereby draining millions of Malawi Kwacha that could be used to buy medicines in hospitals or pay better salaries to medical, teaching, and military (foot soldiers) personnel.
There are some people who think this act of pilfering from government accounts is ok; but I don’t.
There are political party heavyweights who think it is perfectly ok for young boys to paint themselves with colors of their parties at campaign rallies.
I don’t think its ok. It is dangerous and could lead to cancer and other skin diseases.
Some political party strategists might think it is ok to train their operatives to capture data and forward it to data banks, with intent to misconstrue the true nature of the polling.
I don’t think this is ok. It defeats the purpose of democratic elections.
The same political party strategists might think it is ok to train their operatives to serve poisonous food to monitors or supporters of other political parties.
I don’t think it’s ok. In any competition, there is always the winner, and there is the loser. As my former maestro Morrison (Chubby) Phuka used to belt it out at Chisakalime Hotel “Zosiyirana!” It is all the game of some in and some out. Malawi will forever have only one Life President; and even he left the hot seat to Muluzi.
The ruling political parties have since 1994 held that it is ok for them to selfishly use the public broadcaster, the MBC like some personal company. In the 25 years of our democratic governing system, all ruling parties have thought it is ok to control our minds by feeding the MBC with party-strained information, using monies from our taxes. Some may think that is ok.
But I don’t think it’s ok because this public utility is not financed by political party members.
Lastly, some may think it’s ok to continue to create discrepancies in earnings between the executive, parliament and judiciary. Perpetuating the crudely differences between the President and ministers, the Speaker and parliamentarians, and the Chief Justices and the judges is a travesty of justice.
I don’t think this is ok, because it creates unequal divisions of government and endows more powers to the two high-earning divisions of out three-tiered democratic governing structures.
You might think this is ok. But I don’t think it’s ok. It’s not democratic.
Long live genuine democracy!—
Janet Zeenat Karim
Author of Women & Leadership: Women are the Change you Seek
“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry
M.A. Sociology (Global Dev & Soc Justice)
St. John’s University