Road to 2025: Will Malawians going to recall back Mutharika against Lazarus Chakwera

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Peter Mutharika and Lazarus Chakwera

It is an open secret now that both Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika colloquially called APM and Dr. Lazarus Chakwera have officially expressed their interest to stand as presidential candidates in the forthcoming 2025 tripartite General elections.

Most Malawians are anxious to know who will be the most likely candidate to win the 2025 presidential race.
This article endeavours to explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of Chakwera and APM as they both strategize for the big fight.

Why Chakwera?
First, unlike APM, Chakwera enjoys the added advantage of accessing government resources when strategizing for the 2025 presidential elections.

If people think that this is a threat to APM, then they will be surprised to know that he managed to knock out Joyce Banda in 2014 while she had all government resources at her disposal.

However, some schools of thought might be counter-arguing that obviously, Chakwera’s strategies will be dissimilar to Joyce Banda’s.

Second, the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had been in the opposition bench for over 26 years before it ascended to power. Therefore, President Chakwera is highly motivated to finish off his second presidential term while ensuring that MCP grips to power for a substantially extended period.

Third, despite the economic turbulence currently swaying in Malawi, the Chakwera government has managed to revamp international donor confidence such that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, European Union, and many others have pledged their financial support.

It is highly expected that such international budgetary support and credit facilities will boost Malawi’s economy in the next few years.

Fourth, the Chakwera government is currently erecting infrastructural developments in all regions of Malawi. Unlike previous governments, uncompleted projects from previous regimes are being finalized.

Fifth, Chakwera’s oratory skill is an asset on its own as it is highly likely that a gullible and illiterate voter will be easily convinced.

Sixth, unlike previous regimes, President Chakwera has reinvigorated cordial relationships with various countries. It is envisaged that such countries will want to have such relations maintained by offering overt support in one way or another.

Seventh, while MCP enjoys a lion’s political support in the central region, Chakwera has also penetrated the Lower Shire and Eastern region of the country. These extra votes will have a greater network effect.

Eighth, the Chakwera government enjoys the pandemonium and divisions taking place in the weak main opposition party. It is common knowledge that a house that is divided amongst itself does not stand.

Ninth, in a country where over 90% of the people are religious, it is not surprising that many Malawians may still opt to vote for the man of God, Reverend Chakwera in 2025 thinking that by miracle our reverend will resuscitate the ailing economy.

Lastly, unlike APM, President Chakwera is still vibrant and energetic. In a population in which the youth takes a large proportion, Chakwera still stands a chance of being voted by many youths.

Despite all the aforementioned advantages, Chakwera has a lot of weaknesses and threats that weigh him down.
It is pathetic that the Chakwera government has messed up the economy.

The inflation rate has gone up resulting in prices of basic goods and services becoming more unaffordable to a local Malawian.

As if that is not enough, the untimely devaluation of the local currency has made people’s lives more unbearable.
Due to reckless borrowing, both foreign and domestic debts have skyrocketed. Unfortunately, there are no formidable plans to manage such a huge debt.

President Chakwera has also been faulted for uttering hypocrisy and lies. When in opposition, Chakwera was at the forefront condemning corruption, nepotism, dishonesty and selective justice.

However, once Chakwera ascended to power, he was the first one to promote the very same aforementioned vices.
Upon ascendancy to power, President Chakwera immediately sent his daughter, Violet, to the UK embassy and consequently appeased some MCP sycophants with diplomatic missions.

He even unashamedly pardoned corruption convict, Uladi Mussa and corrupt suspect, Bakili Muluzi.

It is pathetic that during Chakwera’s era, selective justice has reached such unprecedented levels. It is unimaginable that a court order can be granted to restrain the Anti-Corruption Bureau from prosecuting and interrogating a corruption suspect, Kezzie Msukwa.

Chakwera regime is well known for mapwevupwevu syndrome whereby over-expenditure of government resources has been the order of the day.

Amid the pronouncement of economic austere measures, President Chakwera travelled all over the world like nobody’s business. No wonder many Malawians have lost trust in President Chakwera because of his empty campaign promises.

Furthermore, Chakwera’s laissez-faire style of leadership leaves a lot to be desired. There is no way our ailing economy can be resuscitated on its own by a miracle.

Lastly, the Chakwera government has been faulted for its policy of secrecy. One wonders how and why a public sector reform report can be kept secret.

But why APM?
First, it is widely believed that Malawi’s economy was relatively stable during Prof. Peter Mutharika’s regime.
It is therefore against this background that many Malawians feel that APM will be a panacea to our ailing economy.
Second, technocrats and political analysts agree that APM was robbed in broad daylight of his 2019 presidential election victory.

Frankly speaking, the results of the 2019 presidential elections are statistically similar to the 2020 fresh presidential elections.

No wonder many people have faulted the Constitutional Court for nullifying fair and legitimate 2019 presidential elections when it admitted that it found no evidence of rigging. It is therefore highly likely that APM can get massive sympathy votes from the electorate.

Third, APM can also win the 2025 presidential elections because the Tonse Alliance has finally disintegrated. Sadly, members of Tonse Alliance have lately discovered that their agreement was a scam. They feel duped. Frankly speaking, it was the Tonse Alliance that pushed Chakwera to victory.

Fourth, even though DPP was known for corrupt activities, people have now realised that corruption in Chakwera’s government is even worse.

Unsurprisingly, the incumbent vice president and other former cabinet ministers are answering corruption and bribery charges.

Unlike President Chakwera, it is envisaged that Prof. Mutharika will have the political will to curb corruption in Malawi.

Fifth, unlike Chakwera’s government, the APM regime has never been embroiled in practicing nepotism directly.
Malawians are at a loss now because one needs to be connected to get employment in the public sector.

Sixth, APM is still being appreciated as a president who could formulate pro-poor policies. This is why Mutharika’s government did not devalue the local currency willy-nilly.

I still recall that multiple cash transfers targeted various underprivileged citizens in the local community. In addition, APM’s regime emphasized developing technical skills in various community colleges across the country. This could circumvent the prevalent joblessness among the youth.

Seven, former President APM is well known for being politically tolerant. He allowed demonstrators to exercise their constitutional rights by protesting against the 2019 presidential election results.

In Zimbabwe, for example, such freedom was suppressed and President Emmerson Mnangagwa still maintained power thereafter.

Eighth, the mapwevupwevu syndrome prevalent in Chakwera’s government was not there during APM’s era. APM is used to spend resources within the budget. Most of Mutharika’s trips were planned for and were within the budget.

Ninth, being a professional lawyer, it is only Prof. Peter Mutharika’s leadership that can deal with selective justice which is rampant in the judiciary.

Nowhere in the world can elections be nullified if there is no evidence of rigging. How can a competent court of law restrain the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) from prosecuting and interrogating a corruption suspect such as Kezzie Msukwa?

Last but not least, Prof. Peter Mutharika is development-conscious. Many Malawians want APM to bounce back to the seat to continue with its ambitious infrastructural developments such as the Area 18 interchange. Despite all APM’s positive aspects, some people are skeptical about his leadership stamina.

Why has APM failed to resolve internal DPP squabbles up to the extent that the aggrieved individuals had to seek court arbitration?

If a leader is not able to resolve small misunderstandings at a party level, how can he competently do better at a national level? Others wonder too.

Some quarters are also worried about his old age. If his bodyguard was able to access the president’s TPIN, how can people entrust him with the state leadership at an advanced age?

In conclusion, winning a presidential election is a function of many factors. One thing for sure is that having a winning political strategy leads to victory.

President Chakwera can only win the 2025 presidential elections if most of the campaign promises are fulfilled.
He must strive to put in place economic and monetary policies that deliberately improve the living standards of local Malawians.

Otherwise, if Prof Peter Mutharika and DPP expeditiously get organised by capitalizing on the weaknesses of the current regime, the opposition stands a great chance of emerging the victor in the 2025 presidential elections.

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