You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. – 1 Samuel 17:45
Friday June 26 2020 is a hugely historic day in Malawi when former Assemblies of God of Malawi president and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera, with current Vice-President and UTM Party leader Saulos Chilima as his VP, clinched a massive win against incumbent President Peter Mutharika.
Unofficial results yesterday showed that the Tonse Alliance under Chakwera and Chilima had secured over 60 percent of the votes, exceeding the 51 percent win that was predicted in findings of a recent survey by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor). The unofficial results also showed that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that had formed an alliance with United Democratic Front (UDF), had only about 38 percent of the votes.
The Tonse Alliance win makes history in that it has made Mutharika the first one-term president since democratic governance in Malawi; and lastly, this is a result of a court-ordered re-run of the May 2019 presidential election due to irregularities by DPP and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) operatives.
The MCP and UTM Party trudged a long battle for this win in which political party leaders laid aside personal ambitions and allowed the “dream team” to carry the new Malawi leadership torch to Kamuzu Palace.
For leading this incredible journey, Malawi not only congratulates Chakwera and Chilima, and all the Tonse Alliance parties, it is also grateful to the journey it is embarking on from today to creating a new Malawi. Other players to be thanked are the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), social media warriors who shared posts often challenging the government’s propaganda on the Internet (which has an international audience), the powerfully relentless independent Judiciary, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and other civil society organisations, as well as all patriotic Malawians who voted in the election.
The Tonse team came with big aspirations and entered the warpath big with court battles and an energised campaign, fought aggressively and won with sweeping grandeur. Malawians are watching and eager that the team will remain intact.
As the country prances into the future, it is imperative that the leadership keep in mind some cementing elements of our country. There are five main areas that should form the basis of moving forward.
Firstly, please stay together for the long five-year haul. There is nothing more that the opponents want more than the nine to fall down and fragment into nine insignificant and surmountable pieces.
Secondly, remember the media. This is an often-forgotten member of the governance process and is given a lip-service recognition. Without media, governance, democracy, advocacy or any activity is as good as highlighting an invention in a pitch-dark room. The media is a friend of transparent and accountable leadership.
Third element is that of creating a space similar to a Hall of Fame or A Heroes and Sheroes where the entire span of our nation’s history recognises all the historical figures that make us who we are. Malawi has various contributors to the growth of its democracy. This is more the reason that the country must establish a council or commission that institutionalises the information and memories of all its movers and shakers.
The fourth element is the issue of women. They are first at political meetings, rallies and demonstrations, yet they are ironically either forgotten or left out in appointments and job placements. There are very few female principal secretaries and Cabinet ministers as at now. This defeats the justification for the education of women. It is our hope that the new Malawi will seriously consider levelling the playing field such that women are not forgotten nor dropped off from the appointments roster.
In conclusion, I quote Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa: “Congratulations to their Excellencies, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera and Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima for leading the contemporary struggle for a better Malawi for all, a Malawi favourable to all Malawians. This is possible.”
Long live genuine democracy!