Friday, February 6, 2009

May 2009, More of the Same

All presidential aspirants are now known with one them of spending sleepless nights. The madness of section 83(3) will be known in a matter of days. While to some, this section is vague, I for one beg to differ. With limited comprehension of the queens language, my judgement is simple. Let the experts make the judgement anayway. I am an avid disciple of David Ricardo after all. Anyway this is not the subject but I thought it would a nice prelude to the campaign as events unfold. Nothing is going to change in MAY, 2009. The rich will continue milking the can read Carl Marx’s Des Capitol if you like.

For the first time in Malawi politics, presidential candidates have found it so difficult to choose their running mates as they try to come up with winning formulae. In 1999, Gwanda felt this need and opted for Chihana to get a Northern vote. He was main contender to the throne but failed. In 2004, it was not a big issue but come now, a major issue indeed. JZU had to choose a running mate at the 11th hour after his preferred candidate, so it is said, was not supported by the Nkhoma Synod. I am not sure of the veracity of the claims as reported by The Nation though. BJ kept telling different stories. Bingu reminded the media that the constitution empowers a candidate to choose their running mate. Very true, but one could also sense how tough it became for him. Bakili, at BCA and his team, were not immune to the syndrome and had been cracking their brains so much despite the unfriendly cumulonimbus cloud that s83(3) has become. Nyondo and Loveness Gondwe had no problems but the jokes that the other independent candidates gave the process some Malawian humor, often apparent in such events. From not having mobile phone airtime to lack ok MK500,000, Chawawa , Mayuni and Kumwenda gave the race the attention it deserves anyway.

But why has the running mate issue been so hot? I for one do not believe that the political landscape in this country has changed. It still remains a polarised society beset by regionalism and tribalism. I still believe that we need a big revolution and change of the mindset to move this country forward. Unfortunately, come May 19, we will be trying to choose a better devil. The solutions that running mates have come up with are symbolic of complex tribal games as they try to outplay each other. Even chess greats like Casparav would marvel at how the guys are playing the game. Some pundits think, that JZU/BJ is UDF plan B. If this is true, my interpretation is that UDF is trying to get into the Lomwe belt and punish Bingu. Bingu comes up with a counter strategy in my opinion. Knowing that the Eastern Yao belt is predominantly UDF and DPP has made it difficult to penetrate, he picks Joyce Banda to capture the Yao vote probably in what I would call moderate Zomba. On the other hand, the religion game is fun too. Bakili makes sure he partners a Christian, not be seen favouring moslems . However, I see that Bakili is being naive as this is playing to the advantage of JZU while JZU is also playing the loosing political blindness associated with most people quenching for public office. It is so complicated game to simple solutions. Me thinks is not an election in the word of democracy but a fight that pits three main tribes of this country in a dirty political game. Malawi is the ultimate looser unfortunately.

The dilemma that the presidential candidates have faced in choosing their running mates plus the strategies beneath them, are no solution to women who die while giving birth. They don’t bring children from poor households to go to a secondary school or be able to pay fees as a parallel student at the University. I does not build tech schools where our youth can learn a trade and contribute to economic development. Clever and crafty as the presidential candidates have been in proving wrong the tabloids, it does not solve the perennial problem of electricity black outs that keep away the much needed foreign direct investment to create jobs for thousands of jobless youth. Whichever mate they come up and the reasons for doing so, it does not answer the perennial problem of poverty diseases like cholera, malnutrition and does not make more doctors and nurses to people who cannot afford Mwaiwathu and the politicians popular clinic, Garden City. It surely does not stop a middle class Malawian to hire a guard just to protect their battered second hand Toyota Collora while asleep in the night. Yes, I mean, the running mate game does not solve the water crisis and does not stop us from sharing water with goats, cows, dogs and chickens.

Come May 2009, its more of the same. We can keep hoping until the entire crop goes and maybe a new cadre of leaders with the heart of the country comes up. I could have liked any of the presidential candidate come up and say, from May 19, power cuts or something like that. Something upon which they can be factually judged. But alas!! its nothing of this sort. The folks are just playing some crazy games of nepotism to get political power while we work our asses out to the benefit of their pockets.

Come May 2009, expect more of the same. Whether one devil is better than the other, the fact is, the devil rebelled from God. The one who said you should not commit adultery also commanded not to steal.

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