“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people”. Franklin D. Roosevelt
In approximately ten days, Malawians will go to the polls to select their next parliament, and of-course the occupant of the country’s plot number one. The country’s 2019 general election—like previous contests—will be the largest democratic exercise in the country’s history cognizant of the fact that a good number of those aspiring to lead, have been touting real issues affecting the common man at Mtayamwana, Ntayansenga, Malembe, Makanjira, Mbalachanda and Mpherembe.
If what is happening on the ground is anything to go by, this year’s electoral outcomes are notoriously difficult to predict. But one need not go out on a limb to declare that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) shadow legislator Gerald Kazembe would be the clear favorite if the election were even held today. The enigma of Kazembe’s political stamina and approach is that you would thought he has been always in Malawi parliament representing his constituency and speaking for Malawians in general. Interesting, Kazembe has never been to parliament as its member except from 21st May, 2019 until 2024.
Popularly known as ‘Mr. Zero Salary’ for his bold promise that he will demand ‘zero salary’ if he will be elected as MP, Kazembe’s approach to politics has left challengers, more especially Democratic Progressive Party shadow MP Ralph Jooma, shivering and never wants to see the calendar. As Kazembe is campaigning for the servant office, one message is loud and crystal clear to people of Mangochi Monke-Bay and Malawi in general: “poverty in Malawi is a product that has been caressed for so many years by greedy and selfish politicians.” To come up with solutions compatible with challenges haunting ordinary citizens, Kazembe has reduced the distance from him and the people of Mangochi Monke-Bay to zero cm. He lives a life of an ordinary citizen, in fact the only MP who interacts with the people as his friends, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers and grandparents. This is where Kazembe is exceptional and that is why his political life is likely to serve a lesson for both the old and new generation of parliament dwellers. Kudos!
But does Kazembe wait for votes to start serving the dumped Mangochi Monke-Bay people?
The answer is no! Kazembe is an innate philanthropist, who always fights for change in whatever environment he dwells. Using his own resources, people in Monkey-Bay now have access to clean water, he is feeding the very elderly at Msaka and Maudzu villages, and he has been paying for over 20 students in secondary school in his community. He is indeed a philanthropist by nature—helps the underprivileged.
His servant leadership is what Malawians are yenning for, and people of Monkey-Bay cannot miss the golden opportunity. Having at least 20 people of Kazembe’s caliber in parliament, Malawi will definitely become a better place to live; We will, for the first time, witness parliamentary sessions tackling real issues affecting the common man as opposed to elite-centred parliament meetings we have been witnessing in the past five years.
If you ask Gerald Kazembe why he has joined politics, the answer is simple though philosophical: “I measure my success by how much value I add to others. I work to create an environment of encouragement. I choose to believe in people and their potential: I care about people because it’s the right thing to do. The impact I want to have on people will be felt much if I take this political office. Malawians deserve better things but selfish politicians deliberately choose to do otherwise.”
Kazembe is indeed a rare politician and indeed person who garners such extraordinary praise from across the widest of spectrums not because of handouts but tangible developments.