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New dawn must have meaning

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Malawians went to the polls on June 23 when they elected Tonse Alliance candidate Dr Lazarus Chakwera as new president.

The voters punished Peter Mutharika by giving Chakwera almost 59 per cent of the total vote against 38 per cent for the former president.

Chakwera was then sworn in during a ceremony on Sunday in Lilongwe where, among other things, he extended an olive branch of national reconciliation and unity in a powerful speech that exuded rare humility and maturity.

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The President attempted even to put at ease those who were bitter with him and cast their votes for Mutharika by telling them he is their President too and all he wants is that they should give him a chance of trust.

A new dawn is finally here.

After the haggling and arguments that we have seen for over two years, we have a new government in office being led by MCP and UTM and the expectation is that stability is back and Malawi will move forward for the well- being and prosperity of its people.

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Things were going wrong in the country and the majority wanted change.

This change was not delivered during last year’s presidential election which were won by the former president but presided over by the Jane Ansah led Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec).

It was an unfathomable disaster and the two highest courts in the country had no choice but to annul the results and order a fresh poll.

It was no surprise that the voters handed out a huge punishment to former president Peter Mutharika and by now, he must be wondering, as he is looking at the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi where he is licking his wounds and recuperating, just where things might have gone wrong.

Mutharika is leaving behind a legacy among Malawians of ineptitude and he is going to be remembered as a president who in public pretended to be there for all but when in practice he served a few henchmen from his tribe and those close to them.

He is leaving behind his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) party that is in total disarray and disorientation after being whipped in the national election with its future in bleak, with no Mutharika name as glue that held it together for the past 15 years.

Unless the DPP with the blessings of Mutharika take immediate decisive steps that would guarantee that it remains a force to reckon with and compete favourably in 2025 elections, the future is bleak.

As for the winners—President Chakwera and Saulos Chilima, the nation has high expectations which the two must manage because Malawians have just shown that they are not interested in being governed by a group that thinks they are gods and they only deserve the best that this country can offer.

In all fairness, the beginning has been good and to the point as Chakwera seems to have started doing what he preached to Malawians which is servant leadership and it is connecting to the masses.

The single most important thing that the new administration must deliver is to make every Malawian feel that they belong to this great country and their tribe or region has got nothing to do with whether or not they can enjoy its fruits.

They should then stop the theft of public resources through corruption and fraud and bring to book those who committed white collar crimes in the previous DPP administration for the past six years under the Mutharika rule.

The elephant in the room is whether the alliance will stick together until eternity or Saulos Chilima will once again rebel as he did with the DPP administration after he was frustrated.

It is clear that Chakwera and Chilima have hit it out together but the challenge that lies in front of them is to cascade that same spirit down to their followers, many of whom would feel that they have earned a right to be at the table, which may not happen.

These would pose danger to the survival of the alliance beyond 2020.

For MCP, this is a historical moment as a liberation movement which lost power 26 years ago but is now back into office.

Founding president the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda must be beaming with joy at his mausoleum in Lilongwe after seeing that his beloved MCP is back in power and its new administration taking shape at Capital Hill.

This week, we saw the new Finance Minister, a retired insurance man, Felix Mlusu, presenting a provisional budget to Parliament.

Then we also saw Chakwera’s choice of a dread-locked Attorney General in Chikosa Silungwe causing a positive buzz and being hailed as progressive in foreign lands such as Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria.

This came hot on heels of the whole world also praising our election and the leadership of Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale in the whole process.

I am not surprised that former president Peter Mutharika found it so difficult to blame the conduct of the election which he started on Saturday afternoon before results were even announced.

It could not have washed as a new dawn with meaning is here in Malawi.

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