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Celebrating 53 years of rampant poverty

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I AM not quite surprised that yesterday, we had muted celebrations to mark 53 years of the country’s independence. I have seen thin bill boards here and there, in some selected round-about structures, thanking God for a season of plenty.

Apart from the emaciated bill-boards, there is nothing to show on the ground that Malawi is commemorating 53 years of independence. Actually, the theme for this year’s independence commemoration is misleading, misguided and misrepresented.

It should have read ‘celebrating the year of corruption’ or ‘commemorating the year of plenty of mismanagement of public resources,’ even much better’ ‘celebrating years of poverty’. It is interesting that countries like Mozambique and Angola, which had been at war for 17 years, have come from behind and now enjoy economic growth.

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Malawi has been at peace, for 53 years yet we have nothing to show for it. It is not therefore surprising that, apart from taking a holiday off, there is nothing the government has done to show that Malawi is celebrating  53 years of the so, called independence. I am not finger pointing but the fact remains that our leaders have let us down, they have betrayed us, and they have taken us, Malawians, for a real ride.

When they are canvassing for votes, they promise us everything but once they get into office, they are busy pleasing their bellies and the bellies of their relations and friends. No wonder, we have nothing to show after 53 years. We, all know how the BakiliMuluzi administration, which came after Dr Kamuzu Banda mismanaged the country’s economy, how the administration dislodged all government systems in the country. Well, that was the time of (town boys).

He campaigned first on alleviating poverty in 1994 and later eradicating poverty in 1999.Years after he left office, poverty is still rampant.I am not, therefore, surprised that Muluzi is answering corruption charges in the courts. Then came Binguwa Mutharika. He came like an angel. He promised to deal with corruption once and for all.

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In 2004, he declared that he had K150 million wealth. Five years after his death, he is still hitting headlines for wrong reasons; how he amassed K70 billion wealth which he allegedly stashed in offshore accounts. Then we had a tragic president, oops I meant a president who came into office after the tragic death of Mutharika. She came with pomp and vigour although, from the onset, we all knew that she had no sense of direction.

As the vote count was in process and it was apparent that she would lose the election to her political arch-rival Peter Mutharika, she disappeared from the political scene. Some sections of society have been asking her to come back and clear her name after the Democratic Progressive Party-led government made serious allegations that she could be connected to the K30 billion looting of government resources at Capital Hill, the seat of government in Lilongwe. She is nowhere to be seen; she even stopped fighting the government through press releases which she used to do soon after she went into selfimposed exile.

Then we have President Peter Mutharika, the present leader whom partisan musician Joseph Nkasa dubbed Joshua. Well, a quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) wants the government to deal with corruption, decisively for that matter. We have heard how the Americans and British are pushing the Peter Mutharika government to deal with corruption and poverty but  it looks like the messages are falling on deaf ears.

Now, as we are commemorating 53 years of the so-called season of plenty, let me turn to the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the party which brought the independence we are failing to manage now. I have followed and I am still following political trends and dynamics in the country’s oldest party, the MCP.

There have been calls for the party to hold a convention, not today but yesterday, to elect new leadership. It is the democratic right of party members to demand such a democratic political process but it should be borne in mind that Dr Lazarus Chakwera cannot be unseated. He might not call for the convention now, not fearing he would lose, but due to cost implications.

This is the fact of the matter. MCP is still very conservative and continues to observe the four corner stones of unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline. I do not see anyone who can unseat Chakwera, as of now. Then comes the issue of Sidik Mia, the millionaire or is it billionaire businessman cum politician.

Dr Chakwera should tread carefully on the issue of 2019 running mate. I am skeptical of Mia’s intentions to join the MCP. To me, he wants to join the MCP to be the Republican vice president should the MCP win the elections that is what Mia himself has said publicly.

This is an ill motive. He should join the MCP to serve the people of Malawi, not going there for a position. Memories are fresh of how he angrily left the Peoples Party after Joyce Banda opted for Sosten Gwengwe as running mate.

We all remember how hurriedly he left the DPP just soon after Bingu wa Mutharika died to ensure he grabs the best Cabinet post in the Joyce Banda administration. Mia was one of the first to leave the UDF soon after Bingu left the party that, sponsored him into power to form his own party and the reason for this was simply to grab a cabinet position in the Bingu administration.

On the other hand, Richard Msowoya, the MCP vice president has shown to be politically mature, he has provided the needed good leadership in Parliament and has potential to bring in needed votes from the North. Let MCP forge an alliance with Aford, then the much needed votes from the North would be collected.

Let MCP forge an alliance with Peoples Party, the much needed votes would be collected from some parts of the South, East and the North. That is the only way for the MCP to get back into government after 25 years (in 2019) in opposition.

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