OPINION: Written By: T. Philip Majiga
Only a few are thinking straight regarding the undesirable political climate Malawi finds herself in at 55. Young people, illusioned by unrealistic and exaggerated tales of charismatic politicians, have rampaged the country destroying the very insufficient public and private infrastructure that employ them. Their dreams are shattered due to prevailing economic conditions and politicians have taken advantage of it to use and abuse their energy.
The more violent the demonstrations are becoming vis-à-vis patronage by top opposition leaders, the more it is understood to be political disgruntledness disguised in CSO’s and citizenry’s demand for electoral justice. Opposition leaders are shrewdly borrowing from CSOs status and youth’s energy to appetize their electoral petition. HRDC leaders know this fact. The young people don’t.
On 7 June, UTM leader told a presser that he wrote MEC Chair demanding her resignation for rigging presidential vote. On 11 June HRDC leadership, announcing their agency contract with losing candidates, said they were commencing anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations from 20 June at a press briefing. The Honorable Justice of appeal has unnecessarily become an object of disguised ridicule.
But in our electoral system (the First past the post), could a rulling party of DPP status expected to fail to amass 38.5% of presidential vote?. The simple majority electoral system is being practised in only 12 countries in Africa including DRC, C.A.R, Equitorial Guinea, Uganda, Rwanda, Gabon, Syschelles and Kenya. These countries display similar political patterns: too many presidential candidates, regional votting, undefeatable ruling parties and post-electoral disputing.
In Uganda’s February, 2016 elections, Yoweri Museveni defeated 7 other candidates by narrow margin to remain president since 1986. Kizza Besigye who was tauted as the people’s president tried to protest with no success.
In Equatorial guinea’s April 2016 elections, Teodoro Obiang, who has ruled the country since 1979, won against 7 other candidates. The losing candidates united to challenge the results to no avail.
In Gabon, 14 candidates competed in July 2016 elections and incumbent Ali Bongo, son to Omar Bongo, who ruled the country for 42 yrs (1967-2009) won. Protesters took to the streets as losing candidates unsuccessfully petitioned the court to null the results.
Opposition parties only come together after losing an election. If the current solidarity that we see in the electoral petition were electoral alliance, they had easy victory since they have 56% of the presidential vote between them.
Some battles define victory or defeat for generations to come. In our case, the costs are massive. The battle is like on MEC and DPP or some group of people but it is ordinary citizens that are victimised through disrupted business, property damage and fire. Whether victory worth of the cost will be achieved remains to be seen, but of course not through the court case. The petition has been mercilessly shredded.
Of course HRDC shall not relent in their efforts to disrupt. All efforts to negotiate with them cannot yield positive results because they are simply paid agents and they have to deliver on their contract. Unfortunately, their masters are too frustrated to reason and unshackle the boys. Whether such destroyers deserve negotiation table or just force is a subject for another day.