2024-06-13

What Is The Status Of Politics In Malawi As 2023 Comes To An End?

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Politics plays a major role in Malawi and is prevalent in everyday’s analyses and comments on the subject. Malawians agree on many issues but cover so much on political debates because everyone holds his/her opinion and think they are the best opinion. The other thing is that many people are not ready to listen to dissenting views and lack the patience of reading or waiting to the end before they can comment. As a result of this, many discussions become rough and unhealthy on the matter, they bruise each other so much with provocative words and even songs. This article takes a brief look at politics in Malawi as the political climate gains momentum towards 2025.

Politics of Malawi takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Malawi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. However, There’s a common belief and saying that “government does not lose elections because they have all the resources and machinery within their reach to stay and win elections.” But I personally have a different view on this assertion because you will remember very well MCP lost in 1994, President Joyce Banda of PP lost elections in 2014 then President Arthur Peter Mutharika lost government to the opposition MCP and UTM Tonse Alliance in 2020 during fresh Presidential election following the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. On the contrary, some people are scared that they are likely to find themselves under an oppressive government that will soon stifle their human rights. One of the greatest fears comes based on established facts that MCP youth were sent to Ntakantaka for military training. This very sensitive issue was raised in Parliament, the house of records and government did not give a convincing response to that effect. Ntakantaka is a training base for Malawi Police but this time we had complete civilians going for training at the base at a time there was no recruitment for Police officers to train. Isn’t this Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) being established in disguise? Shortly, this government is upto something sinister. Let’s wait for the right time but this is a warning shot!

Political parties: Malawi Congress Party(MCP), the first party to rule Malawi, United Democratic Front (UDF, the first democratic ruling party after MCP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), United Transformation Movement (UTM), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) are the main and well established political parties. DPP and UDF are the two main opposition parties in Parliament expected to form the next government. The main battle will obviously between DPP and MCP and precisely, it will be between Arthur Peter Mutharika and Lazarus Maccarthy Chakwera. This alone raises people’s anticipation as the political twist between the two giants goes back to the political WrestleMania arena shortly.

The current president is Lazarus Chakwera sworn in as president of Malawi on 28 June 2020. He became very popular with his Hi-5 campaign promises including that of one million jobs, cheap fertilizers, cheap essential commodities, including a bullet train. Malawians say they haven’t seen this manifesto delivered to them after winning elections for three years now as they enter the fourth year.

Malawi has a multi-party system with over 40 registered political parties. The political process in Malawi is such that parties are voted into power. Parties participate in an electoral process. As at now, one wouldn’t be wrong to say that the major political parties are DPP, MCP, UTM and UDF. You will also remember that this is the same pattern of alliances that were formed in the 2020 fresh presidential election. The above four political parties are repositioning themselves to win 2025 elections and form the next government. Which Alliance will Malawians go for?

The National Assembly has 193 members of Parliament (MPs) who are directly elected in single-member constituencies using the simple majority (or first-past-the-post) system and serve five-year terms. I remember new demarcations for new constituencies were created which means we are going to have more than 193 MPs in the near future. This means an extra budget will be needed to pay additional MPs in the August House and more financial resources will be needed for Constituency Development Fund (CDF), I only hope government has planned very well in this area and is ready to meet the extra cost.

Hastings Kamuzu Banda (born in 1898, near Kasungu, Malawi died on November 25, 1997, Johannesburg, South Africa) first president of Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) and the principal leader of the Malawi nationalist movement. I will always remember Kamuzu Banda on food security and I think that is the reason why Malawians entrusted the current MCP leadership to lead them in the new government with the hope that they would continue with the legacy and prioritize food security. At this point I leave the ball into the hands of Malawians to judge whether Malawi is food secure today or not.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 174 of 189 countries on the Human Development Index. Over half the population lives in poverty, and one-fifth in extreme poverty. Access to clean water, sanitation, and health care remain significant challenges for many Malawians, especially in rural areas. When Tonse Alliance Government brought forward the idea of free water connection as one of its campaign strategies, it was critically considered a good move that would enable millions of citizens access clean water as part of human development. Disappointingly, the free water connection ideology has not materialized and Malawians keep waiting that at some stage, government may implement the concept.

The history of the MCP is that it was formed as a successor party to the banned Nyasaland African Congress when the country, then known as Nyasaland, was under British rule. The MCP, under Hastings Banda, presided over Malawian independence in 1964, and from 1966 to 1993 was the only legal party in the country. Today MCP formed government in 2020 with the help of UTM with the aim of, what they claimed, granting them economic freedom and development to the people of Malawi. Malawians are asking themselves today if that has been achieved or not. At some point, people are forced to look back at the previous government as a way of comparing with the present governments to understand whether this country is moving forward or not.

Malawi will go to the next polls in 2025 to elect their next President and government. The political temperature is already getting hot before the campaign officially kicks off. 2024 seems to be a campaign period already as everyone is taking their political positions ready for the battle.

Finally, The most interesting thing about the coming campaign is that Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and President Reverend Lazarus Chakwera are likely to meet on the ballot paper as they have both shown interest to stand at their respective party conventions. Therefore, they are both likely to represent their political parties in the presidential election which is coming soon. The big interesting question is: What will President Reverend Lazarus Chakwera say to the people of Malawi during this coming campaign after promising so much in 2019 and 2020? Time is coming closer so let’s wait and see. As the two giants enter the ring in what looks like a rematch, it is also interesting to figure out which side Vice President Saulos Chilima will finally take in 2025 add he had chosen to keep quiet despite all he is going through. Will he continue working with Tonse Alliance or start working with the opposition? Some people think that Chilima might even think of going solo while others argue that he may simply spill the rice into the sand after noticing that things are not moving in his favor in government.

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