Malawi is indeed a very beautiful country whose people have diverse cultural, political and religious backgrounds and affiliations. We have Moslems, Christians, Buddas, Rastafarians and even atheists. We have the Tongas, Chewas, Senas, Lomwes, Yaos, Ngonis and many more. While these groups may dominate in some specific geographical positions of our beautiful country (resulting in all sorts of names: Lomwe belt, Yao land, Chewa belt, Ngoni Belt, Tumbukaland, Islamic region, Christian country), we are proudly a mixed up nation where any tribes and religious communities are literally spread across the country and we happily co-exist.
But wait a minute! While we enjoyed relative unity and peace under the one party system, the Multiparty Era brought in a real shock as the voting patterns consistently exposed the silent divisions we have along tribal, regional and religious lines. Presented with so many candidates campaigning for presidency, NDIVOTERE wa KWATHU factor (voting fo home candidate) emerged the major factor voters considered. Presidential candidates commanded the largest support in their homelands.
Realising these trends, the politicians have continued to manipulate these affiliations to their advantage. After all, politics has turned into a commercial venture for easy money. No wonder the political and campaign strategies of most political parties has largely been informed by numbers as seen along tribal, religious, and regional blocks.
Have you noted that since 1994 it is the Central Region that has produced most of the countries Vice Presidents while the South has dominated the Presidential race? And have you observed that the Northern Region has produced not even a Vice President through polls? (SOME HAVE EVEN CHALLENGED THAT A NORTHERNER CAN NOT RULE THIS COUNRTY BASED ON REGIONAL NUMBERS)
Are you surprised that no-real-chance Multiparty era political party has ever picked a runningmate from the Northern Region or even the silent regions like Lower Shire?
UDF has never picked a runningmate from the North! They silently say you can not ignore the center.
DPP, despite having received massive support from North (the Home of DPP), has never “gambled” to pick a runningmate from the North. Even when Goodal Gondwe was almost the automatic acting DPP president following the sudden death of Bingu, it was never to be. Goodal would not lead the party.
PP just nailed it all. Khumbo who was almost the automatic runningmate, could not be because of the number issue! (maybe with other associated risks). All these parties host commercial politicians who would want to win elections at all costs. Only MCP has dared to pick runningmates from the North. Chakufwa in 1999 and Msowoya in 2014. Perhaps it may be that South looks too stubborn? It is this trend that has perpetuated the nepotism and corruption.
TOO LATE, TOO LATE
Now,regionalism and tribalism will largely influence the May Polls results. The Eastern Region will largely vote for Atupele. The Southern Region will vouch for Peter, the Center will brave for Chakwera. The Northern region?? (The swing region).You cannot change much of this even with the best “ISSUE based CAMPAIGN.
My concern is life after May 20. Whosoever will benefit from regionalism and tribalism to win the elections MUST turn the tables and build ONE MALAWI and ONE PEOPLE moving towards a common future.
Therefore, there is need to vote for a Presidential candidate who appears to have the greatest capacity to unite Malawi other than divide it further and continue to fight personal battles to punish political foes after the polls.
Who can do this? Muluzi? Chakwera? Mutharika? Banda? Your guess is as good as mine!!!!!!!