Mia and Chakwera
Strange bedfellows – Sidik Mia and Chakwera following proceedings during the Ngabu rally

Written by: Peter Mmangisa Chonga

For some time now, I have been intrigued by the recent decision by Reverend Dr. Lazarus Chakwera the President of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to bring on board the self-acclaimed political Goliath of the lower shire, Al Haj Sidik Mia. I have been curious to unravel intricacies of this widely celebrated relationship from the first day I came to know about it. Truth be told, this charade has brought numerous questions with few implausible answers.

To begin with, what is Dr. Chakwera’s end game here? I ask this question because I have been led to believe that Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is a staunch conservative Christian whose religious ideology is in sharp contrast with his new bed fellow who happens to be a devout Muslim.

Reverend lazarus. Chakwera came into politics with what one may refer to as a clean slate. His major appeal was that he was a hard liner Christian who would apply Christian principals to rescue the country from the fangs of greedy politicians. What then has changed in the good reverend? Has the good reverend metamorphosed into a politician with a positive view on the religion of Islam? or has he taken a consequentialist approach to life which posits that the end justifies the means? It does not matter what you do or who you do it with, as long as at the end of the day personal happiness is fully maximized. My guess is the latter.

What about Al haj Sidik Mia? What is his end game here? He has just successfully pulled an optical illusion in the just ended by-elections. He has made MCP believe that his political prowess enabled them clinch Nsanje-Lalanje parliamentary seat.

Well, here are some facts, MCP could have won that seat whether with or without Al Haj Sidik Mia. MCP did not win because of its popularity or that it is endeared by the majority of Nsanje-Lalanje constituents, no, not at all.

It won because Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) made a tactical error by imposing Mrs. Gladys Ganda, the deceased parliamentarians’ wife on the constituents. DPP should have listened to voice of reason from the common people of Nsanje-Lalanje not to field her. But as you are well aware that listening is not a strong suit of the politically powerful. The end result was a protest vote. DPP suffered humiliation of mahoosive proportion.

One of the things Malawians have learnt to despise over the years is monarchical politics. Malawians even those at grassroots now understand that public offices are unlike crowns, they are not entitled to one particular family. It’s not working with the Muluzi’s in United Democratic Front (UDF), barely worked with the Mapwiyes and later on the Chihana’s in Alliance for Democracy (AFORD). What became crystal clear was people’s rejection of monarchical politics, period.

Furthermore, Mrs. Ganda is not originally from this constituency. Her connection to the constituency was through her marriage to the deceased Mr. Sam Ganda, may his soul Rest in Peace. The constituents made it vividly clear to DPP from the beginning that they did not desire an outsider to represent them. So even if MCP decided to field a goat instead of Mr. Sitolo, there was a strong probability that they would have voted for the goat over Mrs. Ganda as long as it was a bona fide he or she goat from the alluvial soils of Nsanje-Lalanje. It was that simple.

Lastly, DPP has never won in that constituency, it appears there has always been an invisible hand working against the mighty DPP in Nsanje-Lalanje. It’s a phenomenon no one has demystified yet.

Given such an already decisive environment. How can people in their right political mind be duped into believing that a political pendulum swung to their favor because of one person? Here is why. Because Al Haj Sidik Mia is nothing but a crafty fraudster who has taken advantage of a vulnerability of people with insatiable appetite for political power.

The just ended by-elections cannot by any means be used as a yard stick to measure his political influence in the lower shire. It is an optical illusion, this fellow to say the list is a fraud. I seriously think betting on Sidik Mia over the support from the northern region is a huge mistake. MCP is setting itself up for a rude awakening that will culminate into a series of massive heart attacks of its membership come 2019.

Hypothetically, let’s say come 2019 MCP wins the general elections on a Chakwera-Mia ticket. How does MCP plan to form a government with two totally inverse religious ideologies? Mind you, these two are not just ordinary religious people. They are spiritual leaders in their own well-defined communities. Could it be probable that they both strategize to convert each other to either Islam or Christianity once in government? It sounds far-fetched but that’s a possibility that cannot be ruled out. I mean, how else will they be able to work together?

Let’s for a moment zoom in on Dr. Chakwera. A theologian who was educated at the Trinity International University, an evangelical Christian liberal arts institution of higher education headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, United States. He then worked as an instructor at the Assemblies of God School of Theology from 1983 to 2000 where he was made Principal in 1996.He went on to serve as co-director and a lecturer at All Nations Theological Seminary.

Until 2013 Dr. Chakwera was serving as President of the Malawi Assemblies of God. Well, as you can see, my guess is that the good reverend is very well schooled in ideological nuances between his religion and that of his potential running mate. The million-dollar question is, does this guy know something that we do not know?

Sidik Mia like I have already mentioned is not an ordinary Muslim. He is addressed by the honorific Al Haj which means he has been on a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca. Now that is something no ordinary Muslim will invest time and huge sums of money to do. Apart from the lower shire as his alleged base, he has the entire Islamic community rallying behind his vice-presidential bid of MCP. To Muslims, Mia is a ticket to regain political influence that was lost after Dr. Muluzi left office. Mia’s end game is to bring back Islam into Malawi’s mainstream politics.

You might argue that Malawi has had a similar political pairing before in Dr. Muluzi and Dr. Malewezi and nothing significant happened. Well, I beg to differ. Islam grew exponentially once Muluzi took office. Yet this was just an ordinary Muslim. If an ordinary Muslim such as Muluzi could register such strides in the history of Islamic growth in Malawi, have you thought of what would happen to Malawi if an extra ordinary Muslim such as Al Haj Sidik Mia is either the President or the Vice President?

Then there was a duo of Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika a Christian and Dr. Cassim Chilumpha a devout Muslim. Suffice it to say that it did not turn out as planned. Dr. Muluzi planted Dr. Chilumpha as a Muslim operative whose major objective was to advance presence of Islam at high level of government business after his exit from the political scene.

Let’s face it, Islam and Christianity have been trying to outdo each other since the death of the Jewish patriarch Abraham. Israel and Palestine are a quagmire of a conflict whose source is religion. Orthodox and Christian Jews on one side and Muslims on the other. History is full of crusades; wars waged by Christians against Muslim brothers as they fondly call themselves. Conversely, jihads; wars waged and still being waged by Muslim brothers against infidels (including Christians) all around the world.

These two fellows are defined by their religious ideologies first and political ones second. In fact, it’s surprising why Sidik Mia is still not a sheik, at least not yet.
What we are witnessing MCP building here is either going to be a prototype for peace in the Middle East if it succeeds or a political endeavor that would go down in historic books as the most stupid stunt no one has ever pulled in the history of political alliances in Malawi.

It’s either Chakwera is a genius, a crafty political engineer or a knuckle head of the first degree. Does he not see the indicators that Mia is in it for his Muslim brothers? He has openly supported an Idea of an Islamic bank, promised to build more mosques throughout the country if elected. This folk is dividing the country even more through religion as if the already existing regional divisions are not enough. If this is not a testament of Mia peddling an agenda different from that of Chakwera then I do not know what is.

Unless the objective of these two geniuses in wearing religious hats or garments is mere pandering to win votes and not what they purport to be religiously, we are incubating an explosive device to explode after 2019 elections assuming they are elected into office. God bless and protect Mother Malawi.


The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Publisher or the Editor or the Maravi Post.


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