Finally, after all the upheaval and shenanigans that characterised the aftermath of the May 21 Tripartite Elections, Malawians will finally hear the court’s verdict as regards the credibility of the presidential race outcome, which was being disputed by Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM president Saulos Chilima. Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah declared President Arthur Peter Mutharika, who contested on the ticket of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) winner of the poll.
Truth be told, the country has, since the May 21 Tripartite Elections outcome was announced by Mec through Ansah, witnessed unprecedented upheaval through street protests while those who felt hard done by turned to the courts for recourse.
Now as we anxiously await the ruling by the five judge panel at the constitutional court that was handling the presidential election results case, it is incumbent upon each and every Malawian to maintain order and peace as we calmly bear witness to this landmark judgement.
Malawi, known world over with the moniker warm heart of Africa, has always known peace and this country that we all call home is a priceless treasure.
At this point, leaders have to play a pivotal role in calming the nerves of some overzealous followers and sympathisers that usually have the penchant to go overboard either in celebrating victory or refusing to accept a loss. At this crucial time, police and other security agents also have to be on high alert, and this might be a golden opportunity for the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to make amends for the bruised relationship with the public by discharging their duty in a professional and decent manner.
You just have to go back to past months when the law enforcers appeared an isolated lot every time they went to provide security cover to the thousands that were participating in street protests. This was a stark contrast to the confidence they used to exude once upon a time when Malawians used to rely on the able and dedicated police officers. Now all the faith has evaporated and MPS must see to it that its officers discharge their duties in a diligent and professional manner this time round to rebuild the confidence the people once had in the service. Otherwise, the people have shown to be in tune with the noble work done by Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers, whose Commander General Vincent Nundwe once made it clear that, as soldiers, they do not toe political lines and their task is simply to see to it that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi is fully respected and honoured. In fact, memories are still fresh in the minds of most Malawians of how MDF, back then in 2012, under the command of General Henry Odillo, stood tall in upholding the Constitution of the land. The same is expected from the MDF this time.
In the same vein, we have to be careful in the manner in which we use social media as social media platforms have been known to trigger violence if used irresponsibly. As a country, we have moved slowly in sanitising social media platforms, hence the need to regulate the same; but that does not mean gagging people from speaking out the truth or exercising their right to freedom of expression.
When all is said and done, let those that will come out victorious celebrate responsibly and the losers should equally accept the loss in the case with grace.
So long to cheerleader I never met
Since I started writing this column back in 2017, there have been some avid followers of the column who have never been afraid to critic or commend my writing and there was one who even went a mile further to make suggestions as to what issues I should explore next; whether on this very platform or as news tips.
Cuthbert Kautsi (God rest his soul) would, at any given opportunity, express his great admiration for this column and would encourage me whenever he got a chance to correspondent with me via e-mail or WhatsApp. This I am not saying because he was my sister’s apongozi but a man that saw things as they truly were. I had so much looked forward to meeting him in person one day but sadly that was not to be as he died last week. It is a pity that I never made time within my crammed schedule to visit him when I learned from my sister that he had been hospitalised in Lilongwe.
All this came flooding in my mind when last Sunday I made the long journey to Malindi in Mangochi where we laid to rest Mayamiko’s uncle.
Moral of the story; always make time to be with family or friends while we still can because tomorrow is never promised.
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).