Party ego and nation building

The May 21 Tripartite Elections are approaching fast and wrangles within and among political parties are already the order of the day.

It appears parties are geared to get into power, even when it means diluting the core values of the nation. 

However, the question Malawians need to ask themselves is whether the party they are affiliated to is more important than the nation.  

When former American President Lyndon B. Johnson was asked who he was, he gave the following answer: “I’m an American, a Texan and a Democrat—in that order’’. 

We rank our identities in that way.  Thus, you probably see oneself first and foremost politically as a citizen of a country. Other identities—even tribes, regions,  political parties, sex, age and socio-status—are usually secondary.

Before we are blue, yellow or green, we are Malawian. Period.  Our political affiliations, just like our cultural multiplicity, should never be a reason to fight.  

The question still is: Why do we continue fighting our way to attain political power, even at the expense of crucifying the national values of this great nation? Greed and blind loyalty are the driving force.

We have seen political leaders lie to the citizenry, steal from the public coffers or abuse the public office in the name of protecting their image or achieving their political ego. 

Consequentially, hospitals have run out of drugs or adequate human resource; schools have been administered without enough resources for both the students and teachers. In short, we have witnessed the citizenry become victims of the ego of people who can’t sleep until they satisfy their political ego.

The nation has values which our founding fathers and mothers fought for. The Reverend John Chilembwe and other martyrs gave up their lives and family for these national values.

The Malawian Nation has basic values like truth, justice, human dignity and integrity. No wonder, some patriotic Malawians continue to sacrifice even their lives and ambitions for their country.

Dr Chuba Okandigbo of Nigeria said that if one is attached to their tribe, religion or political party leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, it simply means that their education is useless.

He continues to say that if one cannot reason beyond petty situational sentiments, then he is a liability to mankind.  While our founding fathers and mothers fought against imperialism, autocracy and the like, we have our own enemies that are so common, and the only way to deal with them is when we collectively, regardless of our political differences, come together to face these giants before us; namely, hunger, corruption, disease, favouritism. 

If Malawi has to develop, we need political institutions and their leaders to be willing to surrender their great appetite for power, just to help the nation achieve her goals.

It is unfortunate that party loyalists still remain devoted to the party even when they know that the party is wrong.

In countries, like the US, we have, on a number of occasions, seen the president being criticised by his fellow party members and supported by the rival party.

Two years ago when the Donald Trump administration cut by $13.5 billion the budget meant for foreign aid, it was his fellow Republicans who criticised the president, more than the Democrats.

Recent political scenes in African can also teach us. The call for Zuma’s resignation was highly emphasised and led by his own party, the ANC.

Malawi needs to embrace such kind of politics. Politics where concerns and the needs of the nation are addressed at the expense of political party’s interest.

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