It is disheartening that 25 years after attaining democracy, there are some Malawians who are still averse to criticism and contrary opinion as held by others.
The revelation by the Political Science Association—a grouping of political analysts—that some of its members have chosen to go silent on political issues because they have been receiving threats from some quarters is something that must worry every well-meaning Malawian.
In a democratic set up that we all desire to be in, people have got a right to express their opinion on matters that directly or indirectly affect the nation. For all we know, political analysts are not there to condemn anyone but they only come in to provide insights, interpretation as well as foresight, which do not only help the citizenry but also those who are in mainstream politics.
The use of threats or even the execution of force, sadly, has been the favourite tactic used by people in power who do not want to be told the truth on the consequences of their actions.
It is regrettable that politicians always believe that anyone who holds a contrary view to theirs does so with malicious intentions. But sophisticated politicians who are fit for their calling should embrace criticism and, in fact, use it to correct all areas they have not been performing well in.
A nascent democracy like ours can only boom with a vibrant debate where people are allowed to freely advice, condemn or share opinions.
Most of our politicians have failed themselves and, in turn have failed the nation because of their tendency to cocoon themselves in spaces where they are only glorified as some infallible divine beings.
We would like to take seriously what the Minister of Information has said that everyone who threatens the other is a criminal and must be apprehended within legal boundaries.
All said, we would like to urge all social commentators and political analysts to be bold and brave and not to hibernate or falter in the face of physical or verbal threats. This country belongs to us all and we have our democracy to protect.
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