For about eight months the nation has been on tenterhooks waiting for what will become of the disputed presidential elections held during May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Dissatisfied with the manner the elections were conducted, two parties challenged the whole process in court. As the court battle went on,another raged on in the streets of the country’s cities and districts.
While the court battle progressed in a dignified manner, as the learned men in black robes did their best to outwit each other in different legal aspects. For those who followed the proceedings through various media, it was undeniably an enriching and inspiring experience.
In contrast, the street battles which characterised the post-election period in form of demonstrations, were not that smart and clean.
The supposedly peaceful demonstrations were very fluid and unpredictable. The images which followed the demonstrations portrayed a nation at a crossroads.
They went on and on and Malawians continued to display their frustrations on the streets. Within those eight months, productive man hours went to waste as, at times, both employees and employers realised that it was safe for their staff to stay home than report for work.
School children could not report for classes and shops were not just closed, but heavily cordoned too. No one was spared. Indeed, at times all businesses came to a complete halt. The creative industry was not spared too of this huge disturbance.
Performances were either stalled or limited to selected spots which appeared peaceful at times. Those who attempted to take the risk ended up cancelling their planned events at the eleventh hour. A big loss it was.
When you imagine that the livelihood of some of the creatives solely hinges on their art, then you come to appreciate the extent and state of panic that this situation brought on them and the families they support.
Long-time event organiser and socialite Emmanuel Maliro, in reaction to the judgement, admitted how tough it was for the creative sector as it had become impossible to plan for events with the incessant demonstrations.
Maliro said: “Unlike in previous years, we had fewer events in 2019 and those that went ahead suffered to low patronage big time as people were not sure of their safety. We hope that this decision will provide a roadmap towards creating a conducive environment for everyone.”
The ruling on the presidential election case was delivered on Monday. Among others, it ordered a fresh presidential election to be held in 150 days.
As other Malawians celebrated the outcome, the artists in their own confines were also celebrating and hoping for a free and peaceful environment where they can operate in and earn a little something to sustain themselves.
It is a shame where the actions and interests of few Malawians should hinder the expressive growth and hamper the right to work and earn a livelihood for the majority. Democracy should be a currency to fuel growth for everyone and not diminishing someone’s potential.
Post this judgement, we pray that everything possible will be invested to safeguard the peace and freedom that Malawians have enjoyed for long. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a better tomorrow for our children and their children. Let the creatives do their part too!