Parties have missed an opportunity

The countdown to the May 21 Tripartite Elections is sliding quickly. Every party is doing its utmost to show the populace they are the most deserving to be entrusted with affairs of running government in the next five years.

Now all the front runners in the polls are armed with their manifestos which they have unveiled to the public. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was the first to release theirs a month ago and they were followed by UTM Party.

Last Sunday, United Democratic Front (UDF) and governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) completed the set of four major parties in unveiling their manifestos at two separate colourful ceremonies in Lilongwe.

Various groups of interest have dashed to get their hands on the blueprints with the hope of having a feel of how their respective areas of interests have been captured in these highly ambitious documents.

Expectedly, some will drop the manifestos down, all consumed with a huge feeling of disappointment having realised that their expectations have not been met or have been completely ignored and vice versa, others will beam with excitement.

At least, with the exception of MCP, all parties have carried the words art, music, fashion and culture once, twice or even more. They have all made some small outline on what they feel about the creative industry.

Still within the lukewarm manner the parties have made mention of the creative industry, they have fallen short of addressing the how question which is very crucial at this stage. The other are just promises of enacting some bills or reviewing some old laws which are as old as the country itself.

During time such as this one, the last person to be trusted for his/her word is a politician. During campaign, a politician can do or say anything just to earn your vote and achieve their end.

They were supposed to show a little more commitment to the cause by addressing the substantive issues that continue to press hard on players in the industry. Unfortunately, they have chosen to look the other side.

And MCP, in their wisdom thought this industry is just supplementary and therefore needed no mention or consideration at all. It is hugely disappointing that in 2019 some establishments still feel there is nothing good which can come from the creative industry.

Minus maybe the exploits of the Malawi netball team the Queens and South African-based Malawian boxer Isaac Chilemba, the other things which has earned us mention on the global spaces has come from the arts.

Actor Eugene Khumbanyiwa remains the ultimate ambassador on the global stage having impressively starred in the Oscar-nominated movie District 9. After his appearance in this 2009 epic movie, he has continued his journey earning roles on television and as a voice actor in South Africa where he is based.

The works of the likes of filmmakers Charles Shemu Joyah and Joyce Mhango-Chavula have in recent past also won them massive recognition regionally. The latest score has been provided by actress Lily Banda. From her role in the trending Hollywood produced Malawian movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Lily took no time before she earned herself another role on Fox TV’s British series Deep State.

Here is an industry which has so much potential both collectively and individually. Once the required support and policy direction can be provided, the creative industry can lead our charge to earn a desirable spot in the eyes of the world.

But this time the political players felt it is not right to do so. Maybe they feel otherwise. They do not see the opportunity that lies in the sector. And sadly, they had to let this opportunity pass for now.n

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