On Tuesday, Malawians cast their votes and kicked the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) out of power after the party had relentlessly used any scheme in the books to remain in charge of our national affairs.
It is an unprecedented scenario—that a governing party with all the machinery and money at its disposal—could lose a presidential election in the manner DPP has. There should be a lot of lessons which the party failed to learn.
For starters, DPP has used every system, every opportunity and every individual at its disposal to advance its agenda as a political party. Government affairs were reduced to political party shenanigans and everyone who felt they had some connections abused public systems however they desired.
That is why I feel it has not been easy for the party to lose power. In fact, generally, it has never been easy for a governing party to lose power.
It has been starkly clear that DPP divided Malawians in very embarrassing ways. This is a governing party that made sure all of us were being described according to our districts and regions of origin.
That is one element that has gravely impacted on its performance in this election. In the 21st century, it is preposterous to imagine that people would be happy with any system that divides them along tribal or regional lines.
While the erstwhile governing party tried using all means in the world to defend its tribalistic and regionalistic schemes, it was so apparent that it was its desire to see us being segregated according to where we come from.
The polarisation that DPP created is among those issues that resulted into the party performing badly in the Central and Northern regions. Malawians in these regions just felt they had nothing to do with a governing party that clearly showed where its interests were and who it was worried about.
After his 2019 re-election which was later nullified by the Constitutional Court, outgoing president Peter Mutharika reduced himself, perhaps with the blessing of his tribal cabal, to a regional leader who turned his eyes and feet away from the Central and Northern regions with careless abandon.
Well, perhaps, Mutharika was a bit fair with the Central Region as he, once in a while, visited Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe. Still, he did not seem interested in the affairs of the region as most important state events happened in the Southern Region.
I should not be talking about such issues but I feel it is important that I highlight them so that the new government can learn some lessons from them.
Mutharika also visited the Northern Region a few days before the election. It was apparent that he had taken nothing to the region than his plea for votes and he expected people in the region to give him the votes. That was a very flawed strategy. It was like he only needed the Northern Region when it came to votes and they just gave him the boot.
The votes that Mutharika got in the region tell us how people there viewed him. They have resoundingly spoken that his disinterest in their affairs could not be ignored and subsequently responded in what they thought is the best way for leaders who act like he did.
Another thing that cost Mutharika the hot seat is that the outgoing president seemed to be not in touch with reality. He confined himself to the high walls of the presidential palaces and never bothered to appreciate what was going on in the country.
He was being misled by advisors whose only interest was to see that their benefits were reinforced. So, Mutharika lived with the illusion that he was on top of things when in reality things were not in his favour on the ground.
He even could not act on his advisors and ministers who persistently mutilated the country’s laws and resources and acted with the worst forms of impunity. All this was being recorded in the minds of Malawians who knew where their power lied and executed it generously on June 23.
Ultimately, DPP has paid the price of neglecting and undermining the affairs of the majority by only being interested in a few individuals whose only wish was to consolidate their power and positions.
DPP has found itself in this position because the party massaged corruption, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism and regionalism. These are elements which modern Malawi would not condone.
DPP has lost the election because its government was not a government of the people. It was a government of few connected individuals who had special access to public funds.
DPP has lost the election because the party had no chance to rig again. The system was so tight that every scheme that those wicked men and women who have arrogated the will of Malawians before was sufficiently parried away.
DPP has lost this election because the party did not want to accept that the courts had ruled on February 3 that a fresh election should be held within 150 days after nullifying Mutharika’s last year’s re-election. The party went to town to disparage the judges and everyone who had issues with the 2019 presidential election.
While others were all over the country mobilising Malawians to vote for them in the fresh election, DPP was busy fighting the judiciary and every other voice of reason.
The party did not want to accept that the courts had nullified its 2019 re-election and waged dangerous fights against systems which no one has every managed to manipulate before.
The DPP-led government wasted time issuing senseless