Defined in loose terms, democracy is a political system in which the supreme and ultimate power is vested in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them. In a different way it can also be defined a political orientation of those who favour government by their elected representatives.
The election of representatives is done through open voting.In Malawian democracy has been a source of many intelligent intellectual and political debates ever since this new baby was born in the year 1994.
Although the baby was welcomed with smiling faces, it later was on the brink of being suffocated by its many relatives including its begotten parents. Reason? The corrupting influence of power and the disease of self-centredness.
Political heavyweights well versed in election issues who have keenly been following Malawi’s journey from one-partyism to multi-partyism predicted that the 2009 parliamentary and presidential elections would define democracy in Malawi.
Sadly, the definition so far the 2009 parliamentary and presidential elections has given to democracy in Malawi does not really offer any meaningful insight to the meaning as conceptualised in advanced democracies.
The campaign period was declared and Malawians witnessed every moment of the campaign trail, thanks to the media fraternity.
The results were out and the DPP confidently won the elections. The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won with overwhelming majority in the elections. Both international and local election observers, political commentators and analysis as well as journalists have unanimously and objectively called the DPP’s win a “landslide victory”.
The DPP and its supporters and of course peace-loving Malawians had every reason to be happy, after all its win demanded celebrations since the 2009 elections were a litmus test to our fragile democracy. The belief that DPP was a household name that some Malawians’ had held in run-up to elections was cemented after it was announced that the DPP had won the elections.
This being the case however, what is saddening is the irrevocable reality that in less than 90 days away from the national elections, the DPP has suffered a heaviest blow ever- it has lost the by-elections. A heavy blow indeed, from an overwhelming national elections win to a humiliating two by-elections loss.
It is a blow that has taken the DPP unawares and has sadly spared no person in the DPP’s inner circle, its supporters as well as its sympathisers. The most painful part of the blow is that the by-election loss thwarted the DPP’s election victory celebrations prematurely. The DPP’s by-election loss struck an unforgettable remorse blow that has denigrated the DPP from hero to zero.
Critically analysed one is to see that the DPP’s loss of the by-elections is a free must-learn-from lesson for political parties and political players that the masses want parties that they walk the talk and that they are fed up with dancing to loads of political malarkey. The DPP’S is arguably also enough reason for inquisitive Malawians to pause and ask: Should this be a sign of the peoples’ loss of confidence in the DPP? To say it is, is to make as good a guess as that of a many surprised Malawian.
Why such a guess is good is because the DPP was fresh coming from elections it had won with a majority unheard of in the Malawi’s election history.
It is a good guess because the DPP was at the pinnacle of political fame. Its strategies were still fresh and, with how easily and confidently they won the elections, their strategies proved surefire ways to winning almost any election. In addition to this, the DPP had the state-controlled media at its disposal as its mouthpiece and propaganda machinery where the opposition and independent candidates were pilloried and labelled ‘development-disoriented’.
The first citizen himself, the DPP’s torchbearer in the 2009 parliamentary and presidential elections, was no lackadaisical. He was seen campaigning side by side with the DPP candidates in the by-elections. The vice president also did her part in the by-elections campaign to ensure that she re-secures her Zomba-Malosa seat.
The DPP pressed every possible button to ensure that it wins all the two seats in the by-elections so as to beef up its numbers in the national assembly. But all to no avail. At the end of the day the DPP got a humiliating loss. If at least it had lost the Ndirande seat only would it have been less humiliating than it is now.
One would confidently deduce that DPP’s failure to return the Zomba-Malosa seat, a seat it won in the parliamentary and presidential elections, is axiomatic of the people’s loss in confidence in it. There is no an explanation to this other than that the seemingly docile Malawians have lost a great deal of confidence in the DPP- led government, if not all at all.
The DPP’s chagrining loss very well calls for a post-mortem because it is really debasing to see that the unwavering presidential and vice- presidential support enjoyed by DPP candidates all meant nothing to the electorates in the two areas where the by-election was conducted.
It is reasonable as well as objective for DPP-ites to be that surprised for it is a devastating fact to note, in the eyes of the voters, that all the media coverage, the ostentatious campaigns and the aphungu a DPP ndi achikuko warcries were nothing but pieces of well-tailored egoistic political rhetoric.
It should, for the betterment of the party, do the post-mortem as far fast as it can so that they re-strategise otherwise this may be a sign of the beginning of the demise of the empire. It is an untenable and self-shooting a position to ignore what has befallen it and miserably failing to extract a lesson from it will be a colossally disconsolate action.
Accepting what reality has offered is the good starting point of any intelligent endeavour. To ignore what reality has offered is to cheat oneself of a better solution that is not it. Moreover, because the by-election results has clearly spelt the people’s dissatisfaction with and betrayal by the DPP, it will be of great service for DPP if it unlearns itself the mentality that “if you perform the best this moment it necessarily follows you are to perform the best in the moment that follows next”.
It is this mentality that made the DPP to be braggadocio in its campaign thinking it was automatic that they would win the elections without much huddle. The earlier the DPP does the post-mortem the better. The DPP’s loss therefore is a sign of people’s loss of confidence in it.
In simple language the Malawi population has spelt out clearly that it is no longer a population to be taken for an easy ride but now it is a population that has to be taken as seriously as an expectant mother is taken.