Without prejudicing the ongoing case in the Constitutional Court where Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima are rigorously disputing the results declared by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC); as a ranking citizen, I would be slipshod if I failed to advise on life after this marathon case.
Before I proceed, I want to be clear.
I don’t know about you but I personally would find it difficult to convince a non-Malawian that MEC has people working and drawing a salary from January to December, from one election to another, from its establishment to date.
From the concessions made by the MEC Chief Elections Officer which have effectively debunked most fallacies he had submitted in lieu of a sworn affidavit, I would say you and I are probably better informed of the goings on in MEC’s commission, corridors, polling centres and stations.
Remind me Blues’ Orators, why do we pay him? Anyway, since we don’t want to be sub judice, I will leave this at that.
The key outcome from the above and the rest of the chaotic mess coming into the open is that MEC will never ever be trusted again by Malawians.
Further, under its current composition and configuration, MEC commissioners and management may soon need armed escort because – let’s call a spade by its name – the presidential elections 2019 didn’t have an independent referee.
MEC stacked the deck against some contestants and as per its CEO’s testimony, its Chairperson shifted goal posts to give unfair advantage to whosoever had the wherewithal and devilish cunning to make the most alterations on the polling stationery.
This is why, even when MEC is hundred percent reconfigured, recomposed and reorganised, the new commissioners and senior management will need to do a lot of work to regain the trust of at least seven out of every ten Malawians who – right now – can eat them for breakfast, given half a chance.
The question you and I should grapple with is: where did we go wrong?
Note that I am not saying where did “it” or “they” go wrong, no. Where did “WE” collectively stray to land where we are today?
“As long as there exist stupid people supporting stupid governments in their countries,” Mehmet Murat ildan says, “people living in those countries will continue fluttering badly in the cesspool created by this utter foolishness!”
In our case, he is 100% right.
Look at the prevailing anarchy. Celebrated corruption. Thievery. Social services gone to the dogs. Societal decay. I could go on and on.
Where did we stray?
You see, pointers to MEC’s permanent incapability to conduct credible elections are not new.
In 1999, late Gwanda Chakuamba cried foul. We said he was a bad loser. I recall there was a court case which didn’t go far.
Thus Blues’ Orators, did we sow the seeds of impunity in the mishandling of elections.
In 2004, veteran JZU Tembo, citing various irregularities, also complained bitterly. He was vindicated by a departed former senior minister who following the UDF – Bingu wa Mutharika fallout openly said had he known that Bingu was an unappreciative ingrate, he wouldn’t have participated in rigging the elections.
However, we still ignored JZU Tembo’s complaints and thus we fertilised electoral fraud seedlings.
Worse, unlike now when the aggrieved parties have stuck together like a stamp and a letter pursuing justice, late Chakuamba dropped his petition once he and his Republican Party (RP) friends were given ministerial positions.
Thus did selfishness empower MEC to do as it wants in presidential elections.
Look at things this way: had late Chakuamba and Tembo collaborated like Chakwera and Chilima have done, MEC’s shenanigans would have surfaced in 2004.
By withdrawing his petition in exchange for a Cabinet position, late Chakuamba effectively sabotaged the case which would have opened our eyes way back in 2004.
Imagine that a case of this magnitude and its revelations had transpired in 2004. Would the MEC Chair, commissioners and CEO today be as intransigent in the face of facts as they are?
Unaware that dictatorships, the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery are aided and abetted by rigged elections; a few people’s greed lost us an opportunity to fix MEC in 2004. Today, whereas in a functioning democracy political parties win or lose based on performance, we are now in a vicious circle where our elections’ winner is the one most capable of bribery.
Anyway, since Mbuya is no longer with us to defend his actions, I will move on.
Looking into my crystal ball, I still see greed haunting Malawi.
Look here, the current case has come this far because the Chief Justice “forced” MCP and UTM onto each other. The two never intended to collaborate.
Now look at what the involuntary partnership has achieved: Malawi might just be on the road to fair and credible elections, thanks to the Chief Justice.
Having said that, I don’t see MCP and UTM sustaining and consolidating their partnership beyond the court room.
Why? Untempered greed.
Yet, when contesting as separate entities in the May 2019 elections, they ended on the wrong side of the results BUT working together, their lawyers are harmoniously working as tag-team partners and successfully cornering con men and liars; showing us, in the process, who Jezebel’s servants are.
How then can UTM and MCP working together lose the elections should a rerun or fresh polls be decreed by the Constitutional Court? I fail to see how.
Greed however is the barrier.
Unfortunately, this greed increases the chance for the election of another – to borrow Kamuzu’s adjective – “stupid” government.
Now, according to one Mehmet Murat ildan, when such a stupid government is elected in a democratic country, the only positive is that one learns the number of stupid people in that country!
Let me add a second positive: one also learns about the depth and extent of greed in that country.
Depressing stuff isn’t it?