Friday, August 15, 2014


The 21st Century citizen, regardless of where he is, has become a very agitated animal in regards to how he is governed. The will of his heart and the power that democracy grants him are two ingredients that make his mind a free zone of thought and a hard tool to manipulate.

For a long time rulers world over have held on to a misconception that "you need to have a majority of the population disenfranchised to lose power".

To the contrary, history informs us otherwise.

For the State to be shaken, it does not take the whole population. It just requires a frustrated yet determined few to swing the pendulum in another direction.

Picture this.

Out of 25 million Malagasies, only 3,000 turned out to the streets of Antananarivo consistently for months to protest against Mark Ravalomanana's government. Despite ignoring the protests as irrelevant, the tide changed up until the military backed the city's mayor and former disk jockey, Andrei Rajoelina and made him President.

Similarly, of the 80 million Egyptians, only a persistent 200,000 who camped at Tahrir Square were enough to bring down Hosni Mubarak's five-decade rule.

Interestingly, even when the struggle is armed, things have taken a similar pattern.  

Fidel Castro had only 82 men to start a revolution while Yahya Jammeh only needed less that 20 of his close friends to plot a coup in Gambia. In leadership, numbers might not always be the holy grail.

Both scenarios of change should always put African leaders on watch for the growth of virtual and real social movements within the normal social order.

When African governments fail to create jobs for thousands of university and college graduates, a collective frustration is born and if not tamed it becomes the very benchmark from which society rises against its rulers. 

Wasn't it a Tunisian university-graduate turned vegetable-seller who set himself on fire and instantly ignited the Arab Spring?

Thus far, my fear for Malawi is that the more government fails to respond to the needs of the enlightened society, the more it sends a wrong signal across the board as this population remains crucial in shaping public opinion.

Better still, even the illiterate have become a conscious bloc on matters that affect their livelihoods. 

As such I advise our rulers against wasting time with politics many months after elections.

Those is government must start delivering now because not many within the general populace are avid activists and adherents of political structures. Millions are simply part of the constituency that forgets about politics once they cast their vote.

For this constituency all it wants is a government that creates a conducive environment for them to excel in education, businesses, health and social life among others.

Simply put; no Malawian went to the polls to see politicians fight for the next five years. People want development period.

Much as politicians always use their own mistakes to manipulate the common man, things might not always work in their favour as before.

Misfortunes like Cashgate should not be looked at as a battle of politicians rather a struggle between the elites and commoners. 

Sadly, we common people celebrate when political mafias shoot one another as they scramble for our hard-earned taxes. We cheer when elites fight in the courts of law in languages way beyond our comprehension. 

I have lived long enough in this world to see the rise and fall of strong regimes both home and abroad. It is my hope that any serving government looks at its population as the very core of its own survival.

If you reject the views and needs of common people, do not be surprised when the streets and squares of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu are used as a last blow to your reign. 

Power at the top is a mystery. Real power rests with the people.
May God Bless Malawi always and keep it a land of good governance.

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