“Things gain meaning by being used in a shared experience or joint action”~~John Dewey
I know some of you will shoot me down after reading this but please hear me out with an open mind. I’ve been sitting here pondering on a question that I had thought about but threw out of my mind but is now stuck in my head after listening to the Straight Talk interview of Joyce Banda the vice president of Malawi. For those of you who don’t know about this program, it is hosted by Brian Banda on www.capitalradiomalawi.com where he interviews people at the center of current hot topics. Most of them ofcourse are politicians. Back to the question. “Do you think it is necessary to have 42 political parties in Malawi?” Food for thought ain’t it?
Before I continue I’d like to list the main political parties so far, atleast the ones I can mention without thinking hard. UDF, DPP, MCP, PETRA, AFORD, and the newly registered PP party. Now that I’ve listed the top parties let’s get down to business at hand and that is the strategy that is needed to oust once and for all the two Mutharika brothers. DPP has pretty much launched its campaign with Prof. A. Peter Mutharika as their presidential candidate, JB is the face of PP party, Kamuzu Chibambo is the candidate for PETRA, Atupele Muluzi for now is the favored to be candidate for UDF as for the other parties I have no clue. So far so good. Now let’s talk about the democratic process for electing those candidates to run on that party’s ticket. The Prof. no democracy needed because it’s a done deal so we know how they will rule. JB has come forward and said that if she is not nominated she will be ready to serve in whatever capacity. Kamuzu Chibambo we don’t know yet and is the case with Atupele and others. It is however very important that they follow the democratic process which will mean that the people’s participation in chosing their leader will be something atleast I will be looking for when it comes to them getting my vote.
Now that we covered that part, I would like to talk about the enemy they all intend to fight. Someone told me of a survey/research that was conducted which showed the numbers in favor of JB in number one, the Prof. in 2nd place and Kamuzu Chibambo in 3rd place. The first question is what needs to be done to get Kamuzu in 2nd place, and the second question would be how do we get the Prof. completely out of the race?? This is where the quote I start with comes to play here “things gain meaning by being used in a shared experience or joint action.” What will it take for the political parties, all of them to come together as one to fight this one enemy once and for all? That’s the million dollar question.
I don’t have all the answers but I sort of have a proposal. In our culture there are so many saying’s and one I’d like to quote a few here. “Awonenji anapha mvuu” is one in the sense that these little unknown political parties could play a very big role in bringing down the Mutharika dynasty that they are so intents on imposing on the poor Malawians who they have used and abused for so long and will continue to do so if the people are not careful. My point is their followers votes are needed to make the majority vote which would be somewhere around 51% or more to make a dent into the Prof.’s presidency bid.
The parties that I’m interested in are the PP’s party, PETRA and UDF since the AFORD party is not taken very seriously since the passing of Chakufwa Chihana the man who played a very big role in bringing Democracy to Malawi a debate I’ll save for another time. JB , Kamuzu and Atupele if they play their cards right could swing this presidency into their court and I’ll tell you how. Desperate times call for desperate measures so “phili siliyendera nyani koma nyani amayendera phili.” What I mean by this is it will essentially be up to the known, already established political parties to contact the little people and say hey we are all after the same thing and that is change. Now how they plan to do this is not for me to say but if it was this is how I’d do it.
One of my favorite people on earth is Barack Obama so it’s no surprise that I follow some of his activities and one I try to keep up with is what he has read or is reading. Obama is a true Lincolnian in the sense that he is a poor man’s president. He studied Lincoln and some have said that this could be what is hurting him in the polls lately but I beg to differ. I belive in the “be thy brothers keeper” so I’m with him all the way. Went off cliff there for a bit but back to the point I was making. When Lincoln was elected president he gave cabinet positions to the people he was running against. In Malawi this is the strategy that they could use. Each one of parties nominate someone for presidency on that party’s ticket. After this, all these parties should have a joint convention whereby they can pick one nominee and the running mate from a different party than that of the presidential candidate. This will actually give the people the majority votes they need to defeat the Prof. Now is when you inject in the team of rivals theory assuming that this is agreed upon by all parties.
Another route would be that of alternative voting where the candidates can have 3 different votes with their first choice at number one etc. This method is ok if the winner has a majority. If not then you go according to who had the most votes on the second votes slot, add that to the first etc. This is more complicated than the route using the coalition of parties since it’s a straight forward since a winner is elected with the others forming the cabinet. The only problem with the coalition route would be who will be the monkey since everyone in Malawi (almost everyone) has what I call “the mini god syndrome.” What I mean is that instead of people working together for the good of the country and in this case to make sure that the Prof. is not elected to the presidency, everyone is busy trying to build their political careers and it’s not the politicians only who are guilty of this. The activists are guilty as well. People want to be seen as the only ones who are doing something about the mess that has been created by this president. What we are forgetting is that even with the job of child rearing the saying goes “it takes a village.” In the same way it won’t take one person to fix the problems we are facing now so we all need to get along, not lose focus and work at the issue on hand.
Regardless of what route is used by the political parties the job that needs to be done is very clear. Democracy has to prevail in Malawi. There is no true Democracy without freedom. It is obvious that one of the reasons we want this regime not to have the “third term” is because of the way it has oppressed its people. Some have argued that we need more political parties in order to increase the masses participation in government ie policy making etc I for one agree with Fareed Zakaria that it is not so much participation we need but a party that will be effective in delivering those policies. Malawi does not need the 42 political parties but “the” that will be effective at doing its job and I think if people in opposition worked together in getting the two brothers out of power they can in effect come up with policies that would be good for the country. We need a group of people with innovative ideas that can be put into place. There is immediate need to work on the economy so we can once again compete on the world market. Unemployment is another area that is affecting all nations today with slowing down of global markets. Economic empowerment is highly needed for poverty levels to go down. Education is also a driving factor of global economies and we are miserably lagging behind on that front due to our high illiteracy rates. Once people realise that all these factor are intertwined and it’s only when we make the necessary changes that we will begin to advance toward progress as a nation. For this job to be done though, we need to make sure that the DPP do not see another term of presidential bliss in Malawi and only the opposition tactics at working together can we achieve this…