There are certain issues that are making me nervous and uncomfortable as far as the current direction of our politics, and ultimately, our goals as a people to develop this country are concerned.
First and foremost, we seem to be in a state of perpetual politicking at the expense of developing the country. The idea of democratic politics is for the people to choose, once every agreed term, the group of individuals that will run their affairs.
During the recent by-elections, I was amazed at the intensity of the animosity between various members of the Tonse alliance as they campaigned for those elections. It was hard to believe that the ugly violence and exchanges that were happening in Karonga, for instance, were actually being perpetrated by members of parties that are supposed to be in a coalition government.
Clearly, there are elements of being in an alliance, or a coalition, ow whatever they want to call it, that these political parties refuse to accept.
The disturbing truth is that as these people fight, with every fight of this nature, the alliance weakens, and sooner or later, it shall be everyone for himself. The ultimate losers will be the voters, for the voters hope in voting for Dr. Chakwera and Dr. Chilima was that they should use their skills and their respective political parties to build a better Malawi. It seems to me this important truth has already been forgotten or cast aside, and now all that matters is maintaining the grip on power. For this reason, perhaps it is time to remind our leaders of this.
The Tonse alliance is a vehicle that helped Malawians unite and vote DPP out. It is a vehicle with all parts intact. In my submission, the Tonse alliance is the foundation upon which the future of Malawi can be built, not only politically but also more importantly, economically. It is an alliance that demonstrated that the idea of having 30 political parties is probably not the best course of action considering that much of what we separate are simply personal factors such as greed and hunger for power.
What should be our focus is that we all want what is best for Malawi regardless of where we come from and what party we belong to. Much of the political parties’ visions are often the same anyway and therefore there is no justification for separateness other than greed. In this regard, it is my view that the Tonse alliance should continue as the channel for the development of Malawi, and the vehicle for the realization of national dreams. It should not be dismantled. You cannot remove some parts from a car, arbitrarily declare them as unimportant, and still expect it to function.
The alliance brought together people with different talents. Just like these talents were used to achieve the goal of becoming a government, they must be used to achieve what the alliance promised. Malawians have very high expectations and the alliance should not waste time politicking. As I wrote before, the election was simply a job interview. The real work is starts governing. This is when merit and legitimacy can be truly demonstrated. It is rather disappointing that today, 9 months after the elections, the country is pregnant with expectation and anticipation, and is yet to see the promise of greatness. It will be a shame for the Tonse alliance to start getting bogged down in politicking, as we are seeing so often now, or to begin to think some elements of the alliance are not important and start sidelining them, as mere spectators to the process of governing after they worked hard to bring together the unity the nation experienced.
It will be a shame for the Tonse alliance to let Malawians down in that way.
Since the Chakwera and Chilima team was declared winners, people around the world have hailed the unity that helped Malawians achieve what seemed impossible. The post-election period has been one of the rare occasions where it feels great to be Malawian. The gains from this unity must be passed on to the common Malawian who woke up early in the morning on election day to vote for change.
The leaders of all the parties in the Tonse alliance have a heavy responsibility of ensuring that unity within the alliance and among all Malawians is maintained. They also have a responsibility of reminding each other on the reasons why Malawians trusted them and put them into power. This will help them remember to deliver their promises to the people.
Anything less than what the alliance promised will invite the wrath of the same voters who were ruthless in booting out the corrupt and lying DPP government. Malawians are now very politically active citizens. They know what they want and want it now. No excuses or haphazard delivery of promises will impress them.
In the past, we saw opposition leaders that were unwilling to work as a team for the good of the country; an opposition whose leaders seemed obsessed with becoming president, and believing that the next Malawi leader had to be them, forgetting that there always is room for only one president at the top. This was by far the biggest betrayal of the Malawian voters who time and again spoke of the need for unity. This failure to unite on behalf of Malawi at the time when she most needed her so-called political leaders to stand up for her, revealed to Malawians that none of those aspiring for the Malawian presidency actually had the selflessness and the magnanimous spirit required for true leadership, let alone statesmanship.
In voting for the Tonse Alliance, the old spirit of greed and disunity was supposed to have been successfully exorcised – with the help of the 50 percent plus 1 ruling. This new spirit of unity and humility is the one that will take Malawi to prosperity, as long as the alliances that are formed in order to bring the various human resources together are respected and none are eventually reduced to spectators or even enemies once victory is achieved.
The future of Malawi lies in a united sense of purpose. Let us all work hard to nurture it, preserve it, and cherish it, for once this unity dies, nothing but the doom of times past will follow.