The itch no one is willing to scratch

The boil this country is nursing will pop open any time, unless our leaders behave like adults to brave the pain and embrace contact and dialogue to end the current impasse.

Since Malawians went to the polls on May 21, the country has known no peace with opposition protesters taking to the streets every fortnight to show disproval of the presidential results and demand the resignation of Justice Jane Ansah as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson.

Calls for negotiations by quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) have fallen on deaf ears largely because when PAC and others quell tension between government and opposition, the President and his blue leaguers continue to issue inflammatory statements.

Take for instance President Peter Mutharika Independence Day speech and his most recent outbursts at Sanjika gates on Friday. He swore to deal with opposition protesters with brutal force.

He went on to warn the opposition leaders, saying he will ‘cut them to pieces’ (awanyenyanyenya), if they continue to mobilise violent protests against his government.

When he says these words, his followers cheer and celebrate. His ministers clap hands and some advisers sitting close to him nod their heads in agreement.

It’s a shame they do this because, ladies and gentlemen, reaching out to adversaries in times of an impasse like this one is not a weakness.

The problem with our dear leader is that he presents himself as a tough and a no nonsense leader, but as all Malawians know he possess none of those characteristics.

We know how malleable he is. They know him, because he served them as minister in various portfolios where his performance was dreadful.

As one of my colleagues on the streets says, even if the Devil is your neighbour, there is still some merit in maintaining a certain level of cooperation in the interest of progress on some domestic issues.

He often shares the story from the Bible that God and Satan were on talking terms and once reached an agreement for the latter to torment a man called Job because God knew that Job’s extraordinary misery, courtesy of the Devil, would produce a strong character.

Why is Mutharika not reaching out to his former vice-president Saulos Chilima or indeed Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera to peace? Should the President really leave the job of brokering peace to his junior, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa?

Word on the street is that the itch, Malawi has right now; requires some attention or else it will develop into a serious infection. Contact and dialogue is the way as evidenced by the FDH Group and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) truce.

The two parties have set the ball rolling for reaching an agreement to settle their difference out of court. The two parties have shown that dialogue is still the best way to resolve any wrangles.

So what’s keeping our politicians away from the negotiation table? n

Share This Post