Letter to Brussels

Letter to Brussels Greetings.

By now, it must be clear that you have misjudged us. By now it must be very clear to you and those who have interest to learn, that as a country and a people, we are undergoing a great transformation. It might not be clear now, but there is an awakening of our people—out of the deep slumber we fell into long ago.

By this stage of this not-so diplomatic cable, it must have occurred to you why you have the honour of receiving this uncensored letter. If at all there was any doubt, this is about your ill-fated mission to our country this past week.

It must have come as a shock to Brussels or your folks in Lilongwe that Malawians of all manner of life (not just some of the presidential candidates that participated in the disputed race back in May) reacted repugnantly to news of your Election Observer Mission’s recent incursion into our country.

See, generally, we Africans—Malawians in particular— are beginning to lose faith in the whole business of election observation.

We generally consider election observation, whether done by you folks in Europe or our cousins from the mother continent, as a mere window-dressing exercise.

To be very raw, as my distinguished departed boss would say, we consider this enterprise as just an allowance churning scheme.

Why, you may ask, we have arrived at this conclusion?

We, on this continent, have witnessed a sham of an election after another yet, you, folks, in the business of election observation community, continue to sign off such elections as “free and fair.”

We are not saying that our own elections were a sham, which is a question for Justice Healey Potani and company to decide.

All we are saying is that we have a dispute that has put a knife on anything good about our country—as my other friend would tell you. Meanwhile, the international community through the assembly of election observers seems to have done little to help matters.

On the contrary, to call a spade by its real name, you folks have just compounded our misery.

Take, for example, the decision by the EU observer team to release its preliminary results on the 21st May when Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) was yet to blow the final whistle on the important game we played in May.

MEC announced the winner of the elections four days after you guys had your well-rehearsed preliminary statement and flew back home.

Taking a cue from you, perhaps, our African cousins also left—Thabo Mbeki, no less, taking an early flight out to Johannesburg— amid serious allegations that some folks were playing all sorts of rigging Olympics with the people’s votes.

Those allegations that have left our country on the knife edge to date.

Just what is the use of a report, then, which is released out while the crucial part of counting and tallying votes is still underway? Haven’t you heard the adage that it’s not who votes that count but the one who count the votes?

Where were you folks rushing to? Did you really care about the business on the ground or you just wanted to fill your calendar of activities (and pockets?).

Now several months have flown around since we voted. The courts here have braved all sorts of volleys of terror— now engulfing our republic— to preside over a case that can throw this country, potentially, to the proverbial bottomless pit and you folks are now arriving in the country, like the biblical wise men from the east just at the time the courts are about to announce their dreaded court decision.

Just what on earth are you guys in Brussels high on? Isn’t this tantamount to attempting to influence the court’s final decision?

Don’t you have any political officers on the ground to send some cables, albeit more censored than this one, that such a move would be politically naïve and outright dangerous for a country already on verge of a nightmare? Don’t you have lawyers to point out the obvious; that all this business could be interpreted, in the simplest legal lexicon, as interference in the court process?

But thank goodness, following the outcry, unlike our government, our politicians and our institutions, you have swallowed the humble pie and catapulted a new programme for the whole business of the observer mission. Great recovery!

Perhaps you have taught our politicians that to err is human and that the voice of the people must always be respected.

But we, in the uncensored community, also pray that you also have noted the serious intent Malawians have on redeeming this country from the doldrums of poverty and underdevelopment. We have suffered a lot. We have endured our citizenship to earth—instead of enjoying it—thanks to years of poverty and development.

We hope to write again on our aspirations and hopes and how much we need your hand in ending the nightmarish reality we have been born into. But for now, find this epistle.


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