Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
One year ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was working in a bar to help support her family. On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman in history to be elected to Congress.

It must seem like a lifetime since Saulos Chilima ambitions to be President came to light through none other than Callista Mutharika wife of Bingu WA Mutharika.  Following the launch of United Transformation Movement (UTM) at Masintha in the capital Lilongwe, much praise was heaped on Vice President Saulos Chilima. Many Social Media activists said the Malawi VP was commanding, connecting, clear and creative.

Saulos Chilima on HardTalk
Saulos Chilima will be on BBC’s HARDtalk on Oct 19th 2018

However such adoration has since waned as the DPP has revved up its propaganda machine and have started destroying Chilima Piece By Piece. It is a lot easier to define someone with limited history in politics. It appears Chilima and his supporters were ready for the adoration but never fully prepared for the onslaught he has been under as his party was gaining momentum.

Malawi is a failed state. After over 50 years of independence many objective thinkers agree that we should be a lot better than what we are. This is a fault of not just the current administration but all administrations since our independence.

However Saulos Chilima can take solace in the triumph of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who after college, moved back to the Bronx, while she worked as a bartender in Manhattan and as a waitress in a taqueria (Taco Stand). Her mother, meanwhile, cleaned houses and drove school buses. After her father’s death, Ocasio-Cortez and her mother struggled to fight foreclosure of their home. With financial backing from Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator, she established a publishing firm, Brook Avenue Press, which specializes in children’s literature that portrays the Bronx in a positive light. She worked as lead educational strategist at GAGE is, Inc. Ocasio-Cortez was also an educator at the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute, in which role she served as the Educational Director of the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series, where she participated in a panel on Latino leadership

After finding out she had been purged from the New York voter rolls and could not vote in the 2016 primary, Ocasio-Cortez worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.  After the general election, she traveled across America by car, visiting places such as Flint, Michigan, and Standing Rock, and speaking to people affected by the human rights violations related to the Flint water crisis and the Dakota Access Pipeline. [32] In an interview she recalled her visit to Standing Rock as a tipping point, saying that before that she had felt that the only way to effectively run for office was if you had access to wealth, social influence, and power. But her visit to North Dakota, where she saw others “putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community,” inspired her to begin to work for her own community.

So last night after her successful bid for US Congress, as news of   Beto O’Rourke concession echoed through the democratic blue wave that never happened, Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected congresswoman urged her supporters to remain confident in Democrats’ overall success.

“There is never any fight that is too big for us to pick. We proved that this year,” she said. “Because in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, our greatest scarcity is not a lack of resources but the absence of political courage and moral imagination.”

Ocasio-Cortez added: “It is a hollow goal to simply be a rich country that seeks to concentrate wealth. We must also be a good nation too.”

In a more informal speech to a smaller crowd on Tuesday, the progressive star declared, “This is not the end. This is the beginning.”

So for Saulos Chilima after Malawi’s over 50 years of failure, the fight should not be too big. He should be prepared for the fierce opposition that awaits him.



Elwin Mandowa is the Managing Editor of The Maravi Post