ELECTIONS: Kenya should benchmark in Malawi to learn good manners

First, I want to congratulate the people of Malawi for conducting themselves with decorum and maturity during last week’s repeat presidential election. Secondly, I want to congratulate them for rejecting mediocrity, intimidation by use of state machinery and authoritarianism. And thirdly, I want to agree with them that indeed, Africa has matured in terms of democracy.

The overwhelming election of Pastor Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera against the incumbent Prof. Peter Arthur Mutharika was a clear indicator that it is time Africa had a paradigm shift in the way they conduct their elections and upholding of the will of the people.

In Kenya, not so long ago, we shamed the continent in the manner in which we conducted our presidential election. Yes, I know power is sweet and absolute power is absolutely sweeter, but the lessons from Malawi are worth being emulated by Kenya and the rest of African countries.

Surely, we cannot afford to be a laughing stock every other election circle. Earlier in the year, when the people of Malawi went to the polls in the general election, they woke up early, just like Kenyans do during every general election or any other election and cast their votes for their preferred candidates.

There was President Mutharika who garnered 39% of the total votes cast. He was closely followed by Dr. Chakwera with 35% and Mutharika’s Vice President turned foe Mr. Saulos Chilima who garnered 20% of the votes cast. However, Chakwera and Chilima were not satisfied with the results and moved to court. Their suit was successful and the Supreme Court ordered a repeat of the presidential election after upholding the rulings of the junior courts.

Chakwera and Chilima joined hands in the repeat election with the later opting out of the race to become the former’s running mate. Malawians overwhelmingly voted for the duo, handing the incumbent (Prof. Mutharika) an embarrassing and resounding defeat.

On Sunday morning, Chakwera, a man who studied Theology at the East African School of Theology based in my childhood estate of Buruburu was sworn-in to become Malawian’s sixth president.

Again, congratulations President Chakwera. I am congratulating him for one reason, I believe in Democracy and a free, fair and transparent electoral exercise. I qualify to do that because, since my first time to participate in an election, in 2002, I have stood on the right ground and the positive side of democracy.

However, it is annoying seeing a people who hate democracy, a people who have no time for the upholding of the will of the people and a people who hate anything called ‘clean election’ purport to congratulate Mr. Chakwera and hail the people of Malawi for doing what they describe as ‘free and fair election’.

It is a shame seeing the perpetrators of election pilfering, blatant rigging and electoral conmanship in the name of algorithm sending congratulatory messages to President Chakwera. It is painful seeing them say how Chakwera is a good man and how the people of Malawi voted for the right person.

Indeed, I agree with them that Chakwera is a good man and the right person to lead Malawi and take it to greater heights of development and growth, but this is coming from wrong people. They have no locus standi to give accolades to President Chakwera.

President Chakwera is not a thief. President Chakwera is not a land grabber. President Chakwera is not a clearer of public coffers. President Chakwera doesn’t engage in corruption… he is a man of integrity and high moral standing. Therefore, he does not deserve favours from people who exercise and practice the opposite of what he stands for and believes in.

President Chakwera did not rig election. President Chakwera did not compromise the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to rule in his favour. President Chakwera did not compromise the media. President Chakwera did not infiltrate the electoral process. He won clean. The people of Malawi believed in him and they voted him overwhelmingly out of their love for him.

So, as we preach water and drink wine, we should not try to make the people of Malawi think that we have good people in our midst to shower them with praises, NO, they know exactly what happens in Kenya and other African countries and that is why they have shown the world that YES, Africa can hold credible elections.


The writer is the Director of Communications of the ODM Party.

Twitter: @Etalephilip