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TONSE ALLIANCE: Is the Fellowship Already Breaking?

TONSE ALLIANCE

-From 2020 and beyond, a prosperous future for Malawi’s rests strongly on unity of purpose-

The biggest winner in the recent fresh presidential elections was not Dr Lazarus Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance. It was democracy, and more specifically, Malawian unity. The ruling of the court interpreting the required winning majority for the presidency to be 50% plus 1 underlined a concept that some of us spoke about so many times but politicians never took seriously: The need for unity and the need to end tribalism.

One thing that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government achieved with flying colors is dividing Malawi on regional, tribal and party lines. This served their interests because it meant that elections would always be won by whoever was largest tribe and managed to add a few additional supporters. It also meant that the national cake would only be shared among those that were lucky to belong to the same tribe as the president, come from the same region as him and those that vowed to be loyal to DPP.

The first past the post majority concept was a curse to Malawian unity.  With this system in place DPP election engineering was assured of a DPP victory at every election because they were always going to have that crucial 38 per cent of the vote or thereabouts.

When the court ruled that a president can only win with a majority of 50% plus1, Chakwera who had already managed to bring on board Peoples Party (PP), Freedom Party (FP) and others, moved to get another popular party UTM. With Chilima’s flexibility, they formed a team that nobody thought was possible just last year. This was demonstration of unity of purpose; to boot DPP out of government and rescue Malawi from Mafias.

That goal has been achieved. Having seen what unity can achieve, it would be a huge mistake for the Tonse Alliance leaders to forget that it was unity that made it possible to beat a political party which was not only well-resourced party but was also in government. It would be a mistake for these leaders to now start thinking along political party lines.

The Tonse alliance is a vehicle that helped Malawians unite and vote DPP out. It is a vehicle with all parts intact. In my submission, the Tonse alliance is foundation upon which the future of Malawi can be built, not only politically but also more importantly, economically. It is an alliance that has demonstrated that the idea of having 30 political parties is probably not the best course of action considering that much of what we separate are simply personal factors such as greed and hunger for power. What should be our focus is that we all want what is best for Malawi regardless of where we come from and what party we belong to. Much of the political parties’ visions are often the same anyway and therefore there is no justification for separateness other than greed. In this regard, it is my view that the Tonse alliance should continue as the channel for the development of Malawi, and the vehicle for the realization of national dreams. It should not be dismantled. You cannot remove some parts from a car, arbitrarily declare them as unimportant, and still expect it to function.

The alliance brought together people with different talents. Just like these talents were used to achieve the goal of becoming a government, they must be used achieve what the alliance promised. Malawians have very high expectations and the alliance should not waste time politicking. As I wrote last week, the election was simply a job interview. The real work is now when the alliance starts governing. This is when merit and legitimacy can be truly demonstrated. The country is pregnant with expectation and anticipation. It will be a shame for the Tonse alliance to start getting bogged down in politicking, or to begin to think some elements of the alliance are not important and start sidelining them, as mere spectators to the process of governing after they worked hard to bring together the unity the nation experienced. It will be a shame for the Tonse alliance to let Malawians down in that way.

Since the Chakwera and Chilima team was declared winners, people around the world have hailed the unity that helped Malawians achieve what seemed impossible. The post-election period has been one of the rare occasions where it feels great to be Malawian. The gains from this unity must be passed on to the common Malawian who woke up early in the morning on election day to vote for change.

The leaders of all the parties in the Tonse alliance have a heavy responsibility of ensuring that unity within the alliance and among all Malawians is maintained. They also have a responsibility of reminding each other on the reasons why Malawians trusted them and put them into power. This will help them remember to deliver their promises to the people.

Anything less than what the alliance promised will invite the wrath of the same voters who were ruthless in booting out the corrupt and lying DPP government. Malawians are now very politically active citizens. They know what they want and want it now. No excuses or haphazard delivery of promises will impress them.

In the past, we saw opposition leaders that were unwilling to work as a team for the good of the country; an opposition whose leaders seemed obsessed with becoming president, and believing that the next Malawi leader had to be them, forgetting that there always is room for only one president at the top. This was by far the biggest betrayal of the Malawian voters who time and again spoke of the need for unity. This failure to unite on behalf of Malawi at the time when she most needed her so-called political leaders to stand up for her, revealed to Malawians that none of those aspiring for the Malawian presidency actually had the selflessness and the magnanimous spirit required for true leadership, let alone statesmanship. This spirit of greed and disunity has been successfully exorcised in the 2020 elections- with the help of the 50 per cent plus 1 ruling. This new spirit of unity and humility is the one that will take Malawi to prosperity, as long as the alliances that are formed in order to bring the various human resources together are respected and none are eventually reduced to spectators or even enemies once victory is achieved. The future of Malawi lies in a united sense of purpose. Let us all work hard to nurture it, preserve it, and cherish it, for once this unity dies, nothing but the doom of times past will follow.

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Z. Allan Ntata
Z. Allan Ntatahttp://doctorzax.blogspot.com/
Z Allan Ntata is a Barrister of Middle Temple, Anti-Corruption & Governance specialist and author of Trappings of Power: Political Leadership in Africa. Currently an Independent consultant in Governance and Anti-corruption, Ntata has a diverse background from lecturing in law to acting as legal counsel to the president of Malawi.
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1 COMMENT

  1. Why would you give that title heading to this story..just STUPID sensetionalization to grab a headline..Z Allan Ntata..which STUPID school of journalism did U go to ?

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