It seems no amount of beating is going to deter activist Billy Mayaya from a newly botched battle to unseat Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president Mike Sambalikagwa Mvona.
Mayaya only bagged six votes when Mvona roared back to the presidential seat of the writers’ body with 39 votes on Saturday.
Fresh from the tremors of the defeat, the activist said he is determined to renew his solitary search for an end to Mvona’s reign which dates back to 1999—save for three years when Stanley Onjezani Kenani temporarily dethroned him.
Said Mayaya: “I plan to stand again in the near future, especially when the factors of corporate governance are addressed.”
He described the elections as relatively free and fair, which saw Mvona winning fairly and squarely.
Mayaya, however, bemoaned issues of governance within the writers’ body.
“There is need to improve upon channels of communication, strategic planning and fundraising strategies. A lot of things are done ad-hoc, reinforcing the weak oversight function of the board as well as the members.
“Everyone needs to own these problems and ensure that they are increasingly corrected,” said Mayaya.
On his part, Mvona said he will retire after leaving a legacy.
“I told you earlier that I will win the elections because people have confidence in me. Just by looking at the margins of the votes, it tells you that people have confidence in me for the next four years. My triumph also confirms that people are happy with my leadership and I will probably retire after leaving a legacy at Mawu,” said Mvona.
Asked about his plans for the next four years, Mvona said he wants to set a strong foundation for the independence of Mawu.
However, commenting on the Mawu annual general meeting (AGM) and Mvona’s re-election, Kenani urged writers to pull up their socks.
“My view is that the best thing for any Malawian writer out there is to focus on the writing, on improving ourselves, on reading more and experimenting with various styles, placing our writings in various well-regarded journals and magazines, and so on.
“Let the politics of running the union be for those who find pleasure in it. But we, as writers, let us just be writers. In the end, posterity will judge us by the quality of our published works and not because we once served as president or secretary of a writer’s association,” said Kenani.