The presidential election campaign is in full swing now.
The political terrain has changed, with the Supreme Court putting the rubberstamp on the fact that no one will be called a President in this country unless they amass over 50 per cent of all votes cast on the polling day.
This is a hard one for crooked politicians who have continually abused tribalism and regionalism to amass simple majorities thereby enabling them to be in power for the past 26 years.
That is why this election will be the first of its kind that we will see.
That is why we have seen alliances and they are both criss-crossing the country looking for votes after the nomination process three weeks ago that saw President Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pairing with Atupele Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF) while Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has partnered Saulos Chilima of UTM.
And so the campaign is here and it is exciting once again when politicians go about opening their mouths at anything and everything in order to gain political mileage that will guarantee them the key of the State House for the next five years.
Both alliances are giving us mouthfuls of promises and castigations that mean nothing.
In summary the DPP/ UDF alliance is banking on continuity and the experience of Mutharika as its trumpcard as espoused by Atupele Muluzi so far who is spending days on the road.
On the other hand, the MCP and UTM have amalgamated their 2019 manifestos and what is coming out are issues such as reducing the price of fertilizer for farmers to as low as K5000 per bag as well as highlighting Chakwera Hi-5 which emphasizes servant leadership.
Then there is the crossfire of personal issues coming into the conversations such as former president Bakili Muluzi featuring high as result of his son, Atupele being on the Mutharika ticket.
The question is: Is there any merit in that?
What about the tagline the MCP/UTM alliance has adopted to the effect that the DPP/UDF alliance is about perpetuation of two families to rule over Malawi since 1994 as if Malawi is a personal estate? Is it this a fair comment to make on their part?
To me there is nothing wrong in the two families ruling if they have a right agenda and the country is on the right track
The question, therefore, that the MCP and UTM alliance should be addressing and happing on is whether the 26 years—minus two years by the Joyce Banda administration when the late Bingu wa Mutharika passed on in 2012—have yielded anything progressive for this nation that we can point at.
Simply put, have Muluzi and Mutharika families delivered anything tangible for this country for the past 26 years they have been governing? Are there any tangible development projects? What impact have they made on our quality of life? What about the advancement of democracy? Have our rights been respected during the 26 years?
Then there is the governance itself? What has happened to the fight against corruption? Has it gone from worse to worst?
These are the things that the MCP/UTM alliance should be taking to the voters in order for the issues to wash against DPP/UDF, come polling day.
Clearly, the question on the minds of many Malawians is what impact the two alliances will have on the eventual outcome of the election.
The easiest way out is to look at how much the pairs polled last year and quickly do the arithmetic of addition and then come up with the conclusion.
This is too simplistic and if it were such simple, then they would be no need for campaign in this election. We could just wait for the polling day to confirm the result.
The truth is things change and voters can change their mind. Some will not vote at all.
Certainly, Chakwera’s tally of last year totalling to 1.7 million votes will be boosted by Chilima as much as much as Mutharika’s polling of 1.8 million votes will be improved by the coming in of Atupele Muluzi.
By how and which pair will eventually carry the day is up to those Malawians that will go to the polls on the date yet to be picked for choosing a president for this nation.
There had been no show for the President on the campaign trail and obviously tongues are wagging that so far it is only Atupele Muluzi on the road.
Whatever has kept the President out of the campaign should be sorted out once and for all otherwise his campaign is losing traction.
Make no mistake we are living in interesting times.
Questions will still linger on what will be the final outcome.
In light of the 50 per cent plus one requirement, do we anticipate an outright win for the eventual winner or there would a run off with Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement being in the picture?
There is still chaos at Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) with everyone against the Jane Ansah led commission except the DPP and then the commissioners term of office expiring on June 5 before polling day.
What will happen and who will sort it out with the President at the State House showing no need to rush.
It is difficult to predict and look forward to a credible election with peace guaranteed afterwards.
Meanwhile, let us sit back and enjoy the campaign show.