Rick Dzida on Malawi24 Hard Talk interview with Burnett Munthali – Malawi24


Hard-Hitting Questions

Part 2

Good day Rick Dzida, Welcome to Malawi24 HardTalk interview

Question: Do you think Chakwera and Mutharika have received your national address and plea by now?

Answer: I have all the hope that most Malawians have read my national address including President Chakwera and former President Peter Mutharika.

You know that social media has pervaded  all human activities. No politician of today would want to be left behind by this dynamic technology.

Question: Do you think they going to respond or not?

Former President Peter Mutharika

Answer: Definitely they will respond. I am not looking forward to a written formal response.  I am not a theoretical person but a pragmatist.  This  implies that I anticipate people to react  by the course of action.

I am glad to report  that President Chakwera issued a state of nation address soon after my similar nation wide undertaking. 

What  is even more interesting, Burnett, is that President Chakwera’s state of national address bordered on hunger that is looming in almost all  districts in Malawi.

In fact, the declaration of the state of disaster by President Chakwera was necessary and timely as I envisage that my fellow Malawians will benefit  from such a sos call.

Question: What kind of feedback have you gotten from the public after you made the first national address, on Thursday 21 March 2024, as a citizen to Malawi?

Answer: As usual, it is a mixed bag of views from fellow citizens.  For your information, my conscience is always at peace when people express their   views without fear or favour.

Candidly speaking, most comments hinged  around Chakwera’s and Mutharika’s  supporters intention  to show  their  solidarity. I really  enjoyed reading their comments. 


One prominent feedback was in the form of a prayer which sought God’s intervention  to open Malawians’ eyes to elect leaders of high integrity.

 Interestingly, the prayer went further to ask the divine power to mercilessly eliminate diabolical, dishonest and hypocritical  leaders from our midst.

Question: What is the importance of political parties conducting peaceful, free, transparent and fair elections?

Answer: Let me be clear, my fellow Malawians, the  Malawi Electoral Commission hereinafter referred to as MEC,  is simply an independent  umpire or referee in the electoral contest. 

It is  the responsibility of every electoral aspirant and political party to see to it that any electoral anomaly is reported to MEC even before elections.

Conducting fair and free elections is a collective responsibility of various key stakeholders. It is not about MEC only.

 It is pathetic that the former MEC chair, Jane Ansah, had to seek refuge in the UK when there was no evidence by the courts  to implicate her on electoral  irregularities  in Malawi. We can do better.

To answer your question, by conducting free and fair elections, we put in place leaders who are legitimately endorsed by a majority of Malawians. 

You will not expect a voter who is satisfied with the results of the free and fair elections to conduct nationwide demonstrations against. You recall how destructive and disruptive the 2019 violent demonstrations were.

Most importantly, resolving electoral disputes is costly. For instance, how much money  did Malawi Government  spend for 2020 Constitutional Court to finally conclude the 2019 presidential race case? 

 Furthermore, the Malawi Government had to cough out extra funding  towards the  running of  the 2020 fresh presidential election.

Question: Why do you think electoral complaints must proactively be launched with the Malawi electoral Commission now in advance other than later?

Answer: MEC is the only body in Malawi that has the mandate to manage political  elections in Malawi. However, for  MEC to conduct free and fair elections, it needs input  from all stakeholders.

If such input  is withheld with an intent to lodge the electoral  complaints to the courts which usually provide generic legal solutions, then obviously justice will be miscarried for the courts are not specialised in electoral disputes.

Secondly, as I already pointed out, resolving disputes after the elections is time consuming and costly.

Prices of essential goods and services is skyrocketing in Malawi.

For  instance, the 2019 presidential elections case took about nine months to be resolved by the Constitutional Court.

Question: Why do you think those that are calling for elections to be held in May 2024 are disgruntled and misguided diaspora advocates?

Answer: My fellow Malawians, let us love our country. As soon as the 2020 Constitutional Court verdict  was out, I pointed out 10 anomalies.

The aftermath of this disclosure were insults and demeaning remarks from Tonse Alliance diehards.

 Some of them argued that I was not a court judge in that specific case and therefore I had no moral and legal ground to critically analyse a court verdict. Surprisingly, they have woken up from their deep slumber by agreeing with me now.

Now four years down the line, the diaspora advocates are saying the same things I already pointed out. Moreso, much  as my services are purely free, the diaspora advocates are requesting money for their upkeep.

Furthermore, conducting Tripartite General Elections in May this year barely two months from now is impractical.

Question: Please clarify why you think this is not practical.

Answer: Conducting elections  is a process. It is not a one-day event. MEC must plan and seek appropriate  funds for this vital national undertaking.

Currently, MEC has  its own electoral calendar which is currently  being followed religiously. It is highly impractical to disrupt such a calendar and abruptly conduct elections within  two months from now.

Question: In your own national address you also highlighted that the economic situation in Malawi  is worsening under the leadership of Lazarus Chakwera. Could you please share more light on how bad the economy is in Malawi today?

Answer: It is unfortunate that the Chakwera’s promised biblical Canaan has turned into like hell on earth.

While Malawians were  looking forward  to having  three meals a day, they now sleep on empty stomachs in the same dilapidated grass-thatched huts.

Due to frequent devaluing the local currency by the current regime, inflation rate has gone high resulting  into the skyrocketing of prices of essential goods and services.

There have been sad reports of incidents of malnutrition and deaths in the villages due to lack of food.  There are also increasing incidents of suicide, broken marriages, criminality and prostitution as side effects of prevalent economic hardships.

The declaration of 23 out of 28 districts as part of state of disaster by President Chakwera underscores  the worsening food insecurity in the country.

It is my hope that  the international community will swiftly pour in food aid to evade the increasing loss of life due to food shortage.

Question: What do you think is the importance of wide consultation with appropriate stakeholders?

Answer: It is a fact that  a government does not operate in a vacuum. It has a litany stakeholders and key players it interacts with.

Wide consultations with various  stakeholders are important as the decisions made are for the good of all citizens.

With  wide consultations, it is highly likely to find solutions to quandaries that appear insurmountable.

Question: Do you believe that Malawi’s economy was fairly stable during former president Peter Mutharika’s regime than it is today?

Answer: Let us be honest, Burnett. Everywhere in the world local currencies have indeed depreciated due to unforeseen circumstances such as COVID 19 and Russia-Ukraine war.

In Malawi, we were also hit by the natural disasters such as Cyclone Freddy. However, the laissez faire style of  Chakwera’s  leadership  of blaming nature for the worsening economy without providing practical solutions has made things worse.

It is a fact that economy was fairly stable under former President Peter Mutharika. Prices of basic goods such as the staple food maize  was affordable to many average  Malawians. The devaluation

 To be continued on Malawi24 in the next article