From Hope to Despair: Malawi’s Continuing Struggle 3 Years After Elections

Malawi Vice President and President

June 23 marked a significant turning point three years ago. As I cast my vote on that day, I could not help but feel a flicker of hope for a better future. In Lilongwe, the whole town was buzzing with noise and celebrations, all in anticipation of Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s apparent win and the start of a new era for Malawi. People had simply had enough of Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

Corruption, not following the laws, favouring a regional and tribal cable, and bad management were the hallmarks of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’s six-year rule.

That is why when the DPP was announced as the winner of the 2019 presidential election, many folks were unhappy, especially in the Northern and Central areas, and they took to the streets to show their disapproval.

After a year-long spectacle of violent demonstrations, touted as a crusade for electoral justice, the court finally listened and nullified the previous result, ordering a new Presidential election. That marked the end for DPP. They called this court-sanctioned election “The Birth of the Third Republic”. It was supposed to be the end of nepotism, politics that always favoured certain regions and herald the new age of “Malawi Okomela Tonse”.

But now, fast-forward three years, and the Canaanite dream that Malawians were sold remains just that – a dream. The one million jobs and the low-cost fertilisers – all just remain promises. The Tonse vision has turned into a Tokha reality, where only a connected few get jobs, start businesses, and enjoy the benefits, while the rest of us struggle.

Corruption is everywhere, and forex is as rare as honesty in politics; hospitals stand barren of drugs, ailing as much as the patients, fuel is scarce and school fees in public universities have risen astronomically, leaving many students uncertain about the future despite the Chancellor’s talk of “education for all” during campaign.

Nearly all the jobs are gone, making a shocking 91 percent unemployment rate, and the cost of living is sky high, with prices of maize going up all the time.

We thought we had evaded the jaws of a lion, only to plunge headlong into those of a remorseless crocodile. The very evils we purportedly rallied against now flourish with renewed vigor.

The forest remains unchanged, populated not by the former simians, but a fresh troupe of equally cunning creatures. It is a sad state of affairs, and our beloved country is left to cry for what it used to be.