On 21st May, Malawi will be going to the polls for the sixth time since the dawn of multiparty democracy in 1994. The forthcoming elections is charged with excitement and high expectations considering that Malawi continues to trail behind in all spheres of development; and the last five years under President Peter Mutharika has proven to be especially grim.
It is undisputable fact that corruption is the chief factor for many Malawians to be wallowing in abject poverty. From the day Mutharika took oath of the office, corruption has been dominant in almost all government departments. Under Mutharika’s leadership, we have witnessed undermining of democratic institutions and abuse of power by the ruling elites and the momentum is accelerating. Corruption has enriched Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders and their business allies as well as foreigners. But the supposed beneficiaries of many government projects, in whose names the money was spent, have been left with little but seething anger and deepening disillusionment.
Meanwhile, so-called official “anti-corruption” body has been the very opposite of what that term suggests. It has been used as a tool to silence political opponents as ruthless DPP elites use the “corruption card” to consolidate their own political power. This situation we are in, calls for serious soul searching as we are going to polls on 21st May this year. It is a rare opportunity that Malawians have been offered to make a bold statement against corruption and manmade poverty. Our sincere desire for prosperous Malawi will be reflected in the way we select our representatives especially the members of parliament since they are at the core of government operations. Only those who have good track record of high sense of integrity must be given parliamentary or presidential seat, and that is exactly what brings us to one Gerald Kazembe, Malawi Congress Shadow Member of Parliament for Mangochi Monkey-Bay constituency.
Popularly known as ‘Mr. Zero Salary’ for his bold promise that he will demand ‘zero salary’ if he will be elected as MP, Kazembe has sent a clear message to people of Mangochi Monke-Bay and Malawi in general that poverty in Malawi is a product that has been caressed for so many years by greedy and selfish politicians. Kazembe has pledged to be donating his monthly salary to Orphanages, Hospitals and the Constituency Development Fund for purposes of developing his constituency. His pledge has been taken seriously by the people of Monke-Bay considering that using his own resources, people 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.
Kazembe’s servant leadership is what Malawians are yenning for. 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 at Mtayamwana, Mbalachanda, kameme as opposed to elite-centred parliament meetings we have been witnessing in the past five years.
In my brief conversation with Kazembe before he publicly showed interest in active politics some years back, he had this to “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. But there are also practical reasons for believing in people. I’ve found that the more I believe in people’s potential and the more I serve them, the more their potential increases. That creates a win for everyone.”
Now, hearing the news that this gentleman is going to parliament this year, two things are clear: face of Mangochi Monke-Bay constituency will change beyond recognition and better Malawi for all.
Let’s send more Kazembes’ to parliament this year.