Without it, no real success is possible”, Dwight D Eisenhower – 34th President of the United States of America.
There are a number of reasons why Malawi’s General Elections end up in electing political leaders who are not committed to uplifting the plight of my fellow Malawians.
In this article, we will look at one reason why Malawi is under the bondage of poor and reckless leadership.The major reason borders on the quality of presidential candidates presented to us by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Their leadership skills and integrity leave a lot to be desired. In fact, Malawians are coerced to choose a president from a list of candidates who already have questionable visionary leadership skills.
Let’s explore the previous presidents of Malawi at this juncture.In 1966, Dr. Hastings Banda became the first indigenous president of Malawi. But did people know his background? Obviously, some did. Besides being accused of committing adultery with an English military officer’s wife, Mrs.Merene French, Dr. Banda’s medical licence was summarily revoked in Ghana on allegations that he was performing illegal abortions.
It is therefore not surprising that Dr. Banda later showed no remorse by killing his own political opponents once he ascended to power in Malawi.
In fact, Jack Mapanje, a renowned poet, once wondered why Dr. Banda as a medical practitioner had to build more prisons than hospitals across the country.
Fast forward, in 1994, Malawians elected Dr. Elson Bakili Muluzi into power and yet they were aware that he was once convicted of embezzling six pounds from government coffers.
It was also not surprising that Dr. Muluzi was answering corruption charges to the tune of 1.87 million Kwacha at the end of his tenure. It is very pathetic that President Chakwera chose to pardon him some few months ago.. In 2004, Malawians also went to the polls and elected Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika as their president. Yet Malawians were fully aware that Dr. Bingu Mutharika got his contract terminated as the Secretary General of the Commonmarket for East and Southern Africa ( COMESA) because of his insatiable appetite for external travel, exorbitant perks, and for abuse of office.
It was not therefore surprising that during his reign that Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika diverted over 60 billion kwacha from government coffers towards the construction of his own personal mansion dubbed Ndata farm.I will deliberately skip Joyce Banda’s regime because she was an accidental president who ascended to power upon Dr. Bingu’s demise, in accordance with Malawi’s constitution.Prof. Peter Mutharika is our next victim of scrutiny because Malawians elected him in the 2014 presidential elections.
Yet Malawians were also in the know that in all ministerial positions he held before his ascendancy to the mantle, be was not even an average performer. Memories are still dew-fresh when Prof. Peter Mutharika had to run away from the University of Malawi academic freedom saga at the time he was the Minister of Education.
Being an academician too, I expected him to personally fight the rights of the enlightened in the academia. It is therefore not astonishing when we heard that his personal bodyguard, Norman Chisale, took advantage of his reckless laxity to use the president’s T-pin without Mutharika’s knowledge.Like Mr. Kondwani George Malemia Nankhumwa, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was a weak opposition leader.
In him, there is no servant leadership at all. There was a time when my Reverend Chakwera was silenced by a salary hike and a brand new vehicle as part of fringe benefits of being the Leader of opposition. During this time, he did not bother to speak for the underprivileged and even for the voiceless despite having his highly-rated oratory skills.
As the Leader of Opposition, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera exuded a character of an idealess leader. In most of his speeches in parliament, Chakwera was excellent at repeating what human rights activists like Timothy Mtambo had already said.
He had difficulties in coming up with his own original ideas of holding the government accountable as the Leader of opposition.Are we mesmerized that the Chakwera’s autopilot system of governance has plunged this country into an economic abyss?
Yes, we understand that Russia-Ukraine war, COVID 19 pandemic, and cyclone Fred have devastating impact on our economy. However, it smacks of a failed leaderships if nature can be blamed without providing solutions.In conclusion, it seems plausible to submit that one of the reasons why Malawi still remains one of the poorest countries in the world is that most Malawians vote willy-nilly without scrutinising the integrity of their presidential candidates. On this aspect, I blame the voter.
Let me finally concur with the Former President of the United States of America, Dwight Eisenhower, who opined that integrity is the supreme quality of leadership. Malawians are therefore encouraged to scrutinize the integrity of candidates before they are voted into public positions.