As it were, Malawians have their own sovereign State with a meaningful national anthem and a flag. Therefore, despite being poor, they still deserve to be respected.
Meanwhile, it is no news that Malawians continue to suffer with poverty and it is equally true that their poverty status is so demeaning to the extent that they lose respect from their leaders who are in total comfort zone.
The poverty in Malawi has not just come overnight. It has been a gradual process—from regime to regime. In fact, it has been getting worse each time, until now under President Peter Mutharika when Malawi is the third poorest country in the world. It is no use for government to deny this fact because every Malawian is aware that there is no social transformation on the ground despite empty promises from the leadership.
Being poor is no laughing matter and even more so because the relationship between the people and the leadership is that of slave and master, respectively. This is very painful to say the least.
The only time the poor majority in Malawi look relevant is during elections, so as to give a new mandate to the leadership. Even then, Malawians are just being used as stepping stones to power. In fact, the friendship between the people and power seekers ends soon after the elections. Then the poor Malawians go back to their dishonourable status where they can be turned to sycophants and hero-worshippers for ‘peanuts’.
Due to abject poverty, most Malawians are looking forward to the 2019 Tripartite Elections to exercise their right to choose people who can get them out of poverty. The excitement of voters really shows that they want change.
At the moment, it is so disheartening to hear that the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is losing some of the poll gadgets for registering voters. This is disappointing and certainly, it is deflating the enthusiasm that Malawians have on the elections. There has been so many unanswered questions about the missing machines. The explanation from MEC is not convincing.
Honestly, Malawians are not pleased at all and this is why they have been calling for the resignation of MEC chair Justice Jane Ansah and some of her staff members. The gravity of the missing machines can be devastating as it alludes to the fact that it was deliberately done by MEC to rig the votes.
The worry here is that it can create voter apathy as already people might be thinking that it is no longer necessary to vote, as the elections have already been rigged by MEC.
Any sensible person would assume that all the election machines and materials must be under lock and key to avoid being tampered with. But this seems not to be the case. One cannot be wrong to suggest that MEC chairperson seems to have no respect for voters. Her respect seems to be just for her appointing authority.
MEC must be mindful that any mistakes it makes in managing elections will confirm the general belief that in Malawi and other African countries, voters do not matter. but those who count votes, in this case MEC.
So far, the behaviour of MEC seems to indicate that they already know the election results, therefore, they do not care whether or not they might be looking at voters as troublemakers instead of taking them as the main stakeholders in the elections.
MEC should know better that the 2019 elections are a future for Malawians, therefore, it must not in any way stifle the process. Instead, it must aim at running a credible election as a respect for the people of Malawi.