Empty promises, poor campaign strategies

In about three months’ time, Malawi will be having its tripartite elections. It is time for political parties to present their candidates to people. Naturally, every candidate wants to win the elections. It is also the wish of every party to produce a president at the end of the elections. Winning is possible if both the party and its candidates are popular to the voters. Popularity can be achieved by good deeds which the parties talk about during campaigns where they also sell party manifestos.

Having said the above, what people must bear in mind is that making a political party popular is not an overnight thing. Regardless of whether the party is in government or opposition, it must also work hard and show good leadership qualities.

Unfortunately, experience in Malawi has shown that where people have been voted into power, they right away forget about the electorate and the promises made during the campaign period. Whenever people demand attention, they are taken as trouble makers. What is stated here is mostly about MPs. Some of them arrogantly decide to move out of their constituencies to avoid listening to demands of the people. It is unfortunate that neglecting people is also done by the State presidents, who usually, convince themselves that they have delivered, which is usually imaginary. Even if they hear complaints from the people, they look the other way.

Meanwhile, during an election, every party and its candidates wants to prove they are more popular, have ideas to develop and make Malawi a better place to live. Lately, during his campaigns, President Peter Mutharika has been promising Malawians that if they vote for him and give him a second term, he will make Malawi look like Europe. People pretty well know this is impossible. The president said it probably to make himself popular and be voted into power again. This is a very wrong way of getting popularity. The president must realise that the majority of his audience are poor people who have no clue about how Europe looks like. Therefore, talking to them about it is very abstract. People of Malawi need basic things such as food, clean water, security, houses, jobs and markets for their produce. Thinking about changing Malawi to look like Europe when the president and his government cannot adequately provide basic things is a mockery to the people of Malawi.

President Mutharika should know better that for him and his ruling DPP to be popular, they must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they have been very successful throughout the five years. Unfortunately, the way Malawians are suffering shows that the success is imaginary. This is why most people call the Mutharika government a failed government. It is true no one wants to be associated with failing. To defend the position, DPP is alleged to have the most feared youth cadets. This militia group has unleashed a lot of violence on people, especially from opposition parties. If the DPP leadership thinks it is getting more popular because of its violent wing, then it must think again. Violence is a wrong strategy for winning an election. If the president is peace loving, he must think of how to disband the violent wing and put the youths to good use. What the leadership must know is that the cadets are mercenaries and as such, can even turn against them when they no longer have money to lavish them.

Malawians are tired of violence and cheating during campaigns. This will make no one popular.n

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