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Time for DPP to wake up

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Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera should be smiling wherever he is.

I can visualise him smelling power, playing with power at State House, if the recent survey by Afrobarometer, the pan-African research network, is anything to go by.

I can see him replacing the MCP-paid bodyguards with state bodyguards, hopping from one state helicopter to another but, above anything else, being in control of the state.

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That is exactly what he has and is praying for.

The survey results are not very different from the real election results of 2014 presidential elections when President Peter Mutharika had a handful 36 per cent of the vote which propelled him to power, coming from behind the opposition block.

Now, the survey results say if the election were held between December 2016 and January this year, Chakwera would get 32 per cent of the vote.

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Congratulations to Chakwera and the MCP. As for Mutharika and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), just work hard; after all, this is just a survey.

But the survey results are an indication Malawi needs the 50+1 electoral system.

This first-past-the-post system should be abolished forthwith.

A leader should get the majority of the votes in order to have full mandate to run the affairs of the country.

Chakwera, Mutharika and others (only Jesus knows who will run for presidency on People’s Party (PP) ticket and only God knows if United Democratic Front (UDF) will field a presidential candidate) should have the mandate of all Malawians to rule this country.

No wonder people say Mutharika is a Lhomwe belt leader for the simple reason that he amassed most of the votes from the Lhomwe speaking districts of Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu etc.

I know the DPP would be disputing this for the simple reason of being in love with the habit of disputing anything.

Anyway, the MCP should start working hard now to ensure that Chakwera should not get the 32 percent as reflected in the survey.

The MCP should ensure it breaks the DPP stronghold in the Lhomwe belt, get more votes from the Northern Region and, combined with the votes from the Central Region, Chakwera would then be comfortable to steer the country to new heights.

This needs working extra hard. As the survey has shown, the DPP is not yet out because 26 per cent of the respondents expressed their allegiance to the DPP as compared to the 20 per cent for MCP, eight percent to the UDF and five percent to PP.

But the question which comes to my mind is; why is it that Malawians would want MCP back in government after 23 solid years in opposition?

I do not have ready answers for this, unfortunately, but I suspect the economy is what is making people think the MCP can do much better than the slow pace at which the DPP-led government is handling the situation.

I am not therefore surprised that 90 percent of respondents say the country is going in a wrong direction.

The inflation rate has indeed gone down from 23 per cent to 14 percent but that is just on paper.

On the ground, Malawians are suffering; the cost of living in Malawi remains record high.

So when I read this week that sugar prices are up, again, it wasn’t sweet news at all, especially to the majority poor who hardly know when the next meal would be at their table.

No wonder that in cities and towns, some workers play bawo or attend church services during lunch hour to pass time as they have no money for buying food.

Another issue is corruption.

President Mutharika and his Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) seem to be useless in fighting graft in the country.

The President seems to be fighting corruption on the podium, blaming journalists, civil society this and that instead of making the ACB a useful tool to fight corruption.

I am not therefore surprised that just this week, Afrobarometer said corruption is worsening and those entrusted with state powers to end corruption are sleeping on their job or are sleep walking.

Then n e p o t i s m . T h i s administration has stuffed most government offices with lhomwes and Malawians seem to be saying no; let us share this cake equally.

I hope Chakwera has taken note of the DPP weaknesses and would improve things should he and the MCP get back to power in 2019.

Malawians do not want the MCP-led government to fill its top positions with chewas, leaving out the lhomwes, the tumbukas, the yaos, the tongas, the nkhondes, the senas.

Malawi is one country and power should therefore be equally shared amongst all the tribes in the country.

The same applies to the Alliance for Democracy (Aford). Should Aford get to power in 2019, I do not expect them to fill the top government positions with tumbukas or people from the Northern Region.

We are one Malawi, one country, one nation despite the fact that we are of different tribes and cultures.

This is why we have one flag, the beautiful flag which flies all over the world.

I know that the 2019 elections will be highly contentious but I would have loved if parties fielded their candidates on merit not because of tribal reasons.

It would be interesting to see Goodall Gondwe, our old Finance Minister, being fielded as presidential candidate for the DPP or Gustave Kaliwo being fielded as MCP presidential candidate.

If political parties can do away with tribalism and nepotism, it is easy to do away with the vice in government.

Otherwise, the DPP should get the survey results with soberness, reflect on them and see how best to change things if they are to return into government in 2019.

The MCP should not be complacent. They should work hard and do more if the party is to return into government in 2019.

I know that the battle has just started, the battle lines have been drawn but the politicians have to fight a civilised battle, free of smear, slander, character assassination.

After all, politics is a game; so, play smart!

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