Over 20 years deep into the forest we call democracy, one would have hoped that we, as well-meaning Malawians, had turned the page on intolerance. But, as events in Mulanje’s Milonde Ward indicate, we are far from embracing ideals of democracy.
News that tension is in the air in Mulanje does not inspire confidence in us, especially because, in our understanding, we opted for multiparty politics in the referendum of June 1993, which means we accepted that members of different political parties would co-exist.
It is, therefore, disheartening to learn that followers of political parties are still engaging in barbaric acts, all in the name of preparing for April 10 by–elections in Milonde Ward in Mulanje South East Constituency.
Need we say that, in a democracy, people compete through ideas, and not panga knives? People who indulge in violence give Malawi a bad name and we cannot allow ourselves to be dragged in the mud by people who do not seem to have the slightest idea about what democracy is all about.
Democracy is not worth dying for, especially because our forefathers and mothers— those who successfully dealt with the arbitrary power of colonialism by gaining independence for us in 1964— already died while fighting against the colonial powers.
It does not make sense for people to be getting injured or, as happens sometimes, dying in the name of democracy. The sad thing is that it is our, often, ageing leaders who fan the fire of violence by sending youths to engage in these nefarious acts.
Already, myriad youths are unemployed, which means there is something wrong in our country. So, to use the same youths as tools of violence is to even kill the hope they have for a brighter future.
Let us reserve our energies for development. After all, we are one: Malawians.
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