There was a sigh of relief in Malawi on June 14, 1993 as the day marked the end of the Malawi Congress Party’s 37-year monopoly on power and the dawn of a new system of government, the multiparty system.
Over 64% of voters voted for the new system hoping that it was a milestone towards a better and free nation for everyone.
It is not debatable that during the one party era many people suffered unjustly but on the other hand we cannot rule out the fact that the economy was stable as evidenced by the equivalence of the Malawi Kwacha to the United States dollar and effective agricultural practices.
As Malawi clocked 26 years of multiparty system of government on Freedom Day on June 14, 2019 one may wonder, have things turned out to be as people thought they would? Are Malawians living to the expectations they had when they casted the referendum vote?
Professor of Economics at Chancellor College Ben Kalua said the country has not recorded progress in economic development.
Kalua said the country lost economic direction as it prioritized human capital to education and since that time it has been difficult to get back to how things were.
Political Lecturer at Livingstonia University George Phiri said Malawians are not enjoying their freedom of expression.
“Malawians are not enjoying the freedom of expression they fought hard for, they are always manipulated and their voice is not even considered.
“For instance, the right to vote, the choice of Malawians is always manipulated by those in authority and it’s a pity in the democratic era,” he said.
Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Publicity Secretary Reverend Father Peter Mulomole said although the country is making strides in some areas, lack of political will among leaders and the cancerous corruption that refuses to die are major setbacks towards development.
“Malawi is not yet there in the democratic system and it’s hard to compare it to other countries, but there is at least some progress in some areas. However, we cannot rule out the fact corruption is still a challenge,” he said.
Mulomole added that unless effective measures are put in the government system, corruption will continue to affect Malawians and make their lives a misery.
Kalua said unless government reviews its systems and sets its priorities right, democracy will remain but a mere dream of many Malawians, when all is said and done Malawians are better placed to judge if referendum was worthy it or not.