My Take On It: Overzealous supporters should refrain from mistakes in election campaigns

By Janet Karim, The Maravi Post Senior Editor

I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, Isaiah 45:5

 

Malawi’s Vice President the Rt. Honorable Saulos Klaus Chilima has pulled a mighty, grand stunt, out-performing all the country’s former Vice Presidents. Having launched the UTM in all the regions of the country, he is galloping around from north to south to east to west, literally leaving no district untouched by that Chilima fever-pitch frenzy in the race 2019, a lot of zealousness is afoot on all sides in Malawi’s political arena.

Chilima’s style reminds me of Kamuzu Banda tactic in 1958-1963. From the time he arrived in Malawi on July 6, 1958, Banda went all over Malawi (then known as Nyasaland), and literally introduced himself to the Nyasa people. This was a good thing. Chilima’s close to daily nation-trotting, is also a good thing; in 2014, the brand that trotted the nation was APM; now that SKC has his own ticket, he needs to orient the voters to the new kid on the block.

Likewise, Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera and his new Veep, are sweeping the countryside with their repackaged duet, aka Chakwera-Mia. This too is a good thing.

On their part, the Malawi crowd is packing the political arenas, many professing they want something new. Malawians are as tired as their forefathers before them were tired and so ushered in a tumultuous yes vote in the 1993 Referendum that killed the one-party state.

As usual the party zealots, in a bid to outdo each other as they jockey to be party leader favorites, are greatly outdoing themselves; some of them taking their politicking to ridiculous limits.

On the government side, maybe because he is a minister, Nicholas Dausi many wonder who he is talking to; he never fails to amaze his audience with his book-version rhetoric. Someone should shout out: “Hey Nick! Stop spewing the Socratic lingua, most Malawians don’t understand your diction!”

Also, on the government side, the spate of violence that is meted to members of the opposition during campaign period, is deplorable; and it must stop immediately. The Police has been repeatedly called upon to address the issue of violence especially against women tat are either running for positions in the elections or are human rights defenders.

The DPP-led government must also not sit quietly but officials are called to act on the reports of violence.

But hey, thanks to social media, a lot of information passes through the internet like the speed of light and there is information overload on what is happening in Malawi in relation to the 2019 elections. I pay attention. This brings me to some party zealots in the UTM camp that reminded me of a similar zealousness during Kamuzu’s reign. One day, at an MCP political rally at Nansawa MYP base, a high-raking party official stood and declared: “Ngwazi, in the West people there have a Messiah called Jesus, but here in Malawi, you are our Messiah.”

Many people, I included, raised concealed eyebrows: we could not believe the statement by this politician. We were highly relieved when President Banda, addressed the crowd, he dealt with the issue before speaking on the function at hand; he pointed out that he is not the Messiah and that it was against the Christian belief to say that he was. But zealots are zealots; variations of the same, although weaker, continued to be made in the aftermath of the MYP base incident.

Last week, among the social media forwards coming on my phone was a group of party zealots, in blissful abandon dancing away to the tune of a popular Christian song with the changed words that of priest and God. The song is usually sung at funerals; it is a message to the priest that the dead person has moved from his hands and is now in God’s hands.

The video clip shows UTM members dancing to this tune and has changed the word and address APM (called Agogo) and that they are now in Chilima’s hands. The song is funny, it is fun, and humorous; but it is also irreverent and sacrilegious. In simple terms, the words f the song is against the Christian faith and elevates a man to the level of God.

“Why don’t these party people take some of mbumba music that were sang for Kamuzu?” one critic asked.

This is a very good point. there are many songs that were sang during Kamuzu’s leadership and some even during Bingu’s rule; let the party zealots use these songs. However, more than just taking old mbumba music and singing them at political rallies, it is important for UTM leaders to speak on this development.

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