When, after a long course of ill-conduct— such as high-level corruption, nepotism, impunity, among others — citizens get tired, they get so thoroughly inflamed that even freebies during election campaign do not sway them from expressing their indignation.
Now, if ever the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) doubted that Malawians were not satisfied with its style of managing national affairs, its performance in three constituencies and three wards should serve as a reflection of people’s perceptions of DPP’s style of governance.
As we went to bed yesterday, unofficial results in by-elections that took place yesterday indicated that the ruling party had done well in one ward, namely Mayani, in Dedza while the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) won three constituencies—and two wards.
Going into the by-elections, the DPP was expected to ‘defend’ all wards it had councillors and constituencies it had Members of Parliament in, but unofficial results indicated that the party had lost one ward in Lilongwe while also losing a ward that was up to the ruling party to lose in Ndirande. Of course, the DPP has made in-roads in the Central Region after grabbing the Mayani Ward from under MCP’s nose.
But, by and large, the DPP seems to be the loser in the by-elections because, despite being a ruling party that had all resources— public and private— at its disposal, the party has performed miserably.
To say the truth, this does not surprise us. For some time, we have been urging the ruling party not to get intoxicated with power. But stubbornness seems to be in the blood of the DPP which, despite being given a second chance, continues to frustrate the national agenda of unity by allowing corruption to go unpunished on its watch. Nepotism has been amplified, and dictatorial tendencies have cropped in, so that it has become an in-thing for the President and his cronies to call those who offer constructive criticism osuta chamba or zitsiru.
This does not inspire confidence in us and, as the unofficial results have indicated, the people are not impressed. It is high time the ruling party reflected on its style of leadership which, from unofficial results in by-elections, does not inspire confidence in us, save for those who are close to the throne of power.
At the same time, the MCP should not allow victory to get into its head. It must remember that it has lost a ward that was its to lose in Mayani. There must be something the DPP is doing wrong which the MCP does not want to learn from.
But, in the end, Malawians have spoken and democracy has won.
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