Politics of dummies


By Mankhokwe Namusanya:

There is a flurry—you can call it a wave—of newcomers in the chaos that is Malawi politics. Disenfranchised by the status quo, frustrated by the ugliness and robbed by the failure of promises that are the hallmark of Malawi politics, these people— mostly the youth —had vowed not to vote.

Not even participate in politics.


Then came in Chikomeni Chirwa, the dreadlocked aspirant, and all those who had spat in the face of Malawi politics started joining in. There was hope, a light at the end of the grey cloud.

Now, there are some who have been part of Malawi politics. This entry is not for them. This entry is for all those who are new to Malawi politics. Who really do not understand that politics here is significantly different from that of elsewhere – especially the United Kingdon and the United States.

Here, in the jungle that is our political situation, there are rules.


The first rule is that once you encumber the trouble of supporting a candidate, you stop seeing anything wrong with them. Or, in brief, they become gods.

As you start supporting Ras Chikomeni, always remember that you are supporting divinity. And divinity does not go wrong. Never. And it only feeds on praise and worship. That nonsense that he is a vegetarian by his professing of the Rastafarian faith stops here. Now, he is a praisairian (if we can create a word for those who feed on praise and worship).

Also, as you are coming from a place of brokenness and damnation that Malawi’s old politics had put you through, remember to claim change. You can use whatever words you want; just make sure that they resonate with change, novelty and progress. You are in Malawi politics, but not of it.

Of course, you can bla bla bla change but your actions really – if you are to survive in Malawi politics – must be the opposite.

Find a way of castigating your opponents. Call them names (this is certainly a favourite). Smear them dirt and, if you can, imitate the way they talk (this achieves two important goals: you sell your brand through entertainment but also inflict emotional pain on your opponent – and what else is better than inflicting emotional pain on your opponent?).

However, in observing the rule of castigation, you should not be excessive. Or, rather, serious. In the whole world of Malawi politics, the concept of seriousness is alien. Not just in castigations. But even in promises.

Back to the issue of castigation, anyway. Malawian politics is about needing the other devil. That your opponent today might be your bedfellow tomorrow. So, if you really smear so much dirt on them, justifying why you have chosen to be with them might be hard. Don’t overdo it. It is like when you are breaking up with your partner, don’t overdo the bad mouthing. Life is funny.

To the promises: Malawi politics is about lies. So, your leader will eventually lie. However, in line with the first and binding rule of Malawi politics, you will have to defend any of the lies he tells.

He might – as Chikomeni did – say that with one tree he can create 10 million jobs. Your duty here is not to ask how, your duty is to repeat that lie and, if anybody questions it, call them names. Insult them even. Attack their education, their family, their dignity, their everything. Attack, attack, attack until the lie starts to be embraced slowly.

Also, your opponents should never ever do anything tangible. Especially if they are the ruling party. Anything they do, tear it apart. Anything they say, punch holes in it. Do not give them alternatives. Because, if you do, they might implement them and, when they do, their record might soar and they might win the election again. Or the country might start heading in the right direction and, really, that is not what you want.

We live in an age of the social media. That place breaks, and makes, people – and brands. You must know how to use it effectively to achieve maximum impact. One person shouting Chikomeni on Facebook, two on Twitter and three on Instagram will do no good to the Chikomeni brand. You need multitudes. But multitudes are not easy to get, especially if you are not preaching miracle money.

But there is a solution to that: tried and tested. Create a lot of accounts, change names and keep hollering Chikomeni in all those counts. This also achieves a significant purpose. When people keep seeing Chikomeni on their timeline, they start to get interested in the issue and ask: who is this Chikomeni? Yet, still, others also start to support Chikomeni by association.

Do not fear that of all those 15 accounts talking about Chikomeni, the vote is just of a single person (or of none – because you might just be in the diaspora and be managing those accounts). The point here is not about the votes, it is about impression.

And, lastly, be preparing to reject the vote results. You will be justified. I mean, with all the people talking about Chikomeni, all that will be coming to his rally (if he will ever hold one) are but a sign that all Malawians want him. Why would he lose? Sadly and interestingly, Chikomeni will not be on the ballot. That is how politics twists and turns.

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