This is the last Rise and Shine column article before we go to the polls and vote for councillors, members of Parliament (MPs) and most importantly the president of Malawi.
I want to comment on the importance of voting and voting for a good candidate for each of the three elections. I will focus on the presidential election but the same principles are applicable to the other two elections.
It is our duty as citizens that when we are above the age of 18, we should be voting.
I have voted each time since I turned 18 years, except in 2004 and 2009 when I was studying and working abroad respectively.
I voted in 1996 by-election in my constituency in Rumphi West as my first time eligible to vote. I voted in 1999 and voted in 2014 and I am voting next week.
There will be nothing more important on Tuesday next week than waking up to the polling station to vote. This chance comes only once in five years. We all have to actively participate in determining the future of our nation.
Those who don’t vote have no voice. Those who don’t vote should never complain about the political leadership governing. When you do vote, you have a say and you can demand more or better from the political leaders. The case for voting is abundantly clear.
Voting is great and much greater when you vote for the right candidate. Gone are the days when people voted for candidates that they have some personal connection or commonality like belonging to the same tribe, district or region or religion and so on. The world has fast moved on. Nowadays we all know that progressive people vote for the best candidate that can deliver the best job.
We should never settle for little. Malawi is so impoverished. We are not just one of the ten worst countries in fact one of 5 worst countries in the world. We cannot accept this situation to continue. We need to usher in a leadership that can quickly transform this pathetic situation. Listen to all candidates and check their track record very thoroughly and determine the candidates that have a better chance to change things for the better.
The future is in our hands right now. Let us not lose the chance. Let us seize the opportunity. We are the generation that can make an impact for posterity. Let us not handover to our children and grandchildren a pathetic and sorry state of Malawi. Let us hand over to them a country that we are very proud of. It is one thing to be poor and another when poor but visibly moving in a direction towards posterity. We need to be sure that Malawi is on that path. We need a leadership that projects Malawi on that trajectory. Nothing to the contrary is acceptable.
As Malawians, we need to stop being too comfortable with simple achievements. We need to greatly increase our shared ambition and desire for a better future. The future not in the far distance but the future that is tomorrow. The future that can be determined next Tuesday.
Let us therefore take this election very seriously. If we vote for wrong leaders, we will have wasted the next five years. We do not have the time to waste. There is no second chance to elect good leaders. That opportunity comes only once and so we have to strike it rightly.