No appetite for dictatorship in Malawi

Any Malawian who was in the country during the three decades of dictatorship can remember well the sacrifices people made to get rid of the system.

Therefore, it is naive for any political leader to think that people of Malawi still have an appetite for dictatorship.

To show that the system is bad, no leader openly accepts to be a dictator even if he behaves like one. In a democratic Malawi, leadership can be reminded that ruling this country is not a one man show and, therefore, using uncensored speeches to dish out threats to citizens only creates fear, chaos and disunity.

Sadly, this is the situation in the country at the moment. Instead of getting ready for presidential rerun election which is coming soon, the President is creating political instability by not signing the required Bills for the smooth running of the elections.

By doing so, he has made people to be worried about their future. If not careful, the leadership must know that this is the genesis of voter apathy. Probably, this is what he wants, one can only wait and see.

When people of Malawi achieved multiparty democracy through a referendum in 1993, they were excited with the various freedoms, including that of expression.

They thought that suffering in silence would be a thing of the past. Little did they know that 25 years later, there will be some leadership behaviours leaning towards dictatorship. This is mostly done when there is a controversial issue and the leadership wants to be felt by using his powers. As it were, Malawians are ready to vote in the rerun presidential elections.

Expectations are that the campaigns will be based on a developmental agenda to get rid of the abject poverty in the country. This is people’s priority. This is not the time for candidates to promote ethnicity.

Malawi is one country with so many tribes and it goes without saying that no one should claim that he and his tribe have a monopoly of wisdom to run the country all the time.

Indeed, a chorus of hate speeches at the recent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally at Njamba in Blantyre was a jaw-dropping affair not fit for a democratic Malawi. There were some death threats and other pronouncements mostly towards Human Right Defenders Coalition (HRDC). Coincidentally, HRDC leaders were arrested a few hours thereafter.

Most people were left speechless. If this was the way of wooing voters, it left a lot to be desired and voters might just do the opposite. It is naive at this day and age for someone to think that Malawians want a macho type of leadership whose only priority is to specialise in converting public resources into personal fortunes.

As a cover up, such a leader specialises in making threats and intimidation to all people, including those around him who are his supporters. It is an obvious fact that Malawians suffered under the dictatorship. However, the suffering was pacified by a booming economy. It has been proved beyond any doubt that democracy without economic freedom is meaningless. People are being forced to clap hands for imaginary success by the President and his government. People are prone to all manner of bribery to defend the failed government.

The failed leadership also relies on his ethnic group for survival. Prof Patrick Lumumba of Kenya once said that if a leader promotes ethnicity, people can even elect a thief as a president and claim that even if he is a known thief he still belongs to their tribe and are willing to support him throughout.

At the moment, whether one likes it or not the wind of change is in Malawi. It is not use for anyone to delay the change.

Malawians have woken up that to be patriotic does not mean to stand with the President, but to stand with the country. Any form of dictatorship will not be tolerated.

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