Perils of political pretenders



It is less than a week before the May 21 polls in which Malawians will elect president, members of Parliament and ward councillors. Almost all political parties and candidates are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to win the hearts of Malawians.

On one hand, we have voters who are seeking change in leadership, on the other, there is a group that feels at home with the current leadership.

Make no mistake, when the electioneering fever is in full swing, politicians make fake promises. They promise Malawians all sorts of development initiatives just to get the votes on the polling day—and the situation is not different this time.

As we edge closer to May 21, tension is high among political parties competing for various positions. Each party has intensified its efforts and tricks to amass votes.

During the campaign trail, we have seen candidates of UTM Party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) showing up during funerals of people they do not know.

As quirky as it gets, some party leaders have been sitting on the mat when offered comfortable chairs. The politicians who love comfortable chairs are seen reducing themselves to the level of ordinary Malawians. This is the only time one ever gets to see prominent politicians buying roasted maize, potato chips and sun-dried fish by the roadside.

There is nothing wrong for a party leader to do things many Malawians do.

However, the sudden shift if not humility politicians demonstrate in the run-up to general elections expose theirelectoral agenda and hidden intentions.

The biggest campaign problem for most politicians is wrong timing. One cannot become so charitable overnight.

It is amazing that suddenly, the governing party has been going places to launch various development projects, politicising some of the State-funded initiatives in the process.

But experienced candidates know for a fact that pretence frightens the electorate dying for a transformative leader.

I believe that vying for elected office is a continuous process, not a sudden movement. One cannot just spring up from nowhere to claim the votes.

If you are in the opposition, you have to observe and take notes of what the party in power is doing, ask yourself how you can bring change given the chance and interrogate yourself if your party is ready to govern Malawians with honour.

Many are times torchbearers of different parties fail this simple self-examination. They do not do their homework well.

As for the governing party, the best way to campaign is to remain true to its manifesto. Broken promises become symbols of betrayal. This is the secret to sustain power in the long run.

Since 1994, it appears Malawians have jacked up. To them, pretending to be nice is a highway to ruin.

In the past elections, some candidates have been left licking their wounds after pretending and spending big to win votes.

The previous elections have been an eye opener to Malawians. Now, they should know what is good for the country.

So, political pretenders and big spenders can carry on until they fall casualty to their methods.

When Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announces the winners, the benevolent pretenders will come to realise that the days for pretending are long gone.

The political podium is so risky and uncertain that the ultimate aim of a political candidate should be to see his people flourish rather than to seek personal glory by hook or crook.

Share This Post