On 2nd October last year, ECG leader Prophet Shephard Bushiri addressed a media briefing from his SB Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa. During the briefing, he warned the court ruling would not unite a people that are divided. In this opinion piece, Robin Dayesi underlines the importance of Bushiri’s peace sentiments in the wake of a series of events on the ground that, if not handled now, could be a recipe for danger.
The streets of Malawi are stinking with a stench of a looming danger as the nation, with each passing day, continue to draw close to the most controversial elections case ruling by the Constitutional Court.
With few days to a ruling of such a historical magnitude, the last thing you would expect, is a political environment tainted with series of street protests and even worse, an overwhelmed police and the defense force let loose with guns handling internal security.
But here we are. Everything around us doesn’t give confidence that, after the court ruling, this country will not break.
Just look around.
Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have already tensed up the streets with a series of mass protests that, in all intents and purposes, questions the efficacy of last year’s May 21 polls.
I thought, for the sake of peace, government and other non-state agencies would have moved to have a truce with the Mtambo and Trapence movement to, at least, calm down the streets. Of course, we have seen some false starts. But that was it!
Governments, we all learn in political science theories and experience, survive on compromise and advocacy.
Strangely, instead of doing that, the Mutharika government has just gone on the offensive covering up, escalating the dangers out there. That’s not leadership Malawi needs NOW.
Even worse, what could be described as the nail on the coffin, is the current discourse regarding an attempt, by some, to bribe the judges who are about to deliver the elections case ruling. All seers, despite unofficial, points to the ruling party behind this.
Now look at this.
Mtambo and Trapence movement is a response to a public outcry that Jane Ansah mismanaged an electoral process that Mutharika won. Because of that outcry, MCP and UTM opened a case, seeking the court nullify this mismanaged election. Now, we have beneficiaries of this mismanaged election, implicated in a heinous attempt to bribe judges who are supposed to rule on this case.
This is a dangerous time for Malawi, a moment ripe for big trouble.
Put it historically, do you where Malawi is right now? It’s akin to the Europe of January 1913, four months to the break out of the First World War.
You see, Mtambo and Trapence movement demanding Jane Ansa resignation, Ansa’s resignation refusal, Nsundwe issues, attempts to bribe the judges and ACB refusal to reveal names—all these are, in world history, things like arms race and political alliances which provided a fertile ground for the First World War to break out.
All what is remaining in Malawi now is a spark—just like what sparked the First World War: the murder at Sarajevo yes, what happened on Sunday, 28 June 1914, at about 10:45 am, when Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Malawi’s murder at Sarajevo is the Constitutional Court ruling in the offing. If Mutharika doesn’t reflect and, without a second wasted, fails to stand up for the country, not his cronies, and make serious compromises—this country is heading for a serious crash.
That is what Prophet Shepherd Bushiri said in October 2019. Don’t say he didn’t warn you.