Who’s rigging elections?

 

T

he elections fever has gripped the citizenry and the euphoria seems to have engulfed the nation to the point that no day passes without hearing of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

You see folks, it is during such times that politicians become true servants of the people, personifying what they call servant leadership.

When elections are near, many candidates are seen associating with the masses they ignored for five years.

Do not be fooled; it is a last gasp for votes.

Some even stop at the dirtiest marketplace and stoop low to grab sundried fish, green maize or some chips.

Others have been seen kneeling on dusty floors and dishing out money, attending funerals of someone they do not know. They are not condoling the bereaved family, but simply associating with prospective voters.

At worst, those not seemingly read for credible, free and fair polls constantly accuse each other of conspiring to rig the forthcoming polls.

Even President Peter Mutharika and Vice-President Saulos Chilima are whining about covet rigging schemes.

This is not the first time we are hearing about rigging.

In fact, there are voters who believe all elections in Malawi have been marred by acts of rigging which effectively reduce Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to spectators in what is supposed to be their game.

The shocking news as May 21 edges closer is that the people complaining about rigging gangs are not ordinary citizens, but the country’s most powerful people.

It all started with Chilima’s UTM Party claiming that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had procured a super-machine to manipulate the votes in Mutharika’s favour.

Few days later, Mutharika caught the bug-—ounter-accusing UTM of enlisting some information technology experts from Russia, Nigeria and India to hijack electoral results.

The circus that is refusing to die gives birth to rumour-mongering and post-electoral violence the size witnessed in 1999 and 2014.

At the centre of all this cross-fire are silent voters confused by things candidates scrambling for power say. They do not know what to believe.

Should the registered voters speculate that the forthcoming election has been stolen before the polling day?

Are people geared to vote on May 21 going there to waste their time? Do our political leaders believe so much in rigging that they should not be trusted by Malawians ready to cast their vote on the polling day? Why should registered voters go to vote or choice when their votes will not count for anything?

These are some unanswered questions and innuendos wrecking voters’ minds.

All this noise about rigging is further disturbing the choice of undecided voters, even those who have not even decided whether to vote or stay away.

It is pathetic that politicians have opted to spew cheap, divisive propaganda instead of focusing on issue-based campaign.

To cut the chase, the electorate is not interested in who outshines the other when it comes to rigging tactics. The voters want candidates who convincingly articulate issues of human interest, including how to curb corruption and unemployment.

If the rigging claims, Mutharika and Chilima should allow the wheels of justice to roll freely. The two people crying like babies are not powerless anyway.

So, who is fooling who?

If they do not allow security agencies and the justice systems to act, all the jazz about rigging may as well be a calculated move to fall back on when the complainants lose the forthcoming elections.

Their claims will only breed voter apathy and anarchy if not kept in check now.

Remember that it is not a mistake to make a mistake, but to repeat a mistake.

 

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