he post-Bingu era is showing, and will surely show, Malawians the unimaginable; the indecency of party prostitution, the politics of opportunism, and the killing of opposition voice through the disguise of the so-called Government of National Unity (GNU). The politics of governance by convenience also politically called Government of National Unity (GNU) has been seen practised in Malawi sometime before 1994, though, truthfully speaking, circumstances leading to its practice then are quite starkly different from now.
Nonetheless, GNU is a necessary evil sometimes. Here in Malawi, President Joyce Banda regime seem to have fallen in love with GNU and has since adopted it. While it is tempting to give her a pat on the back for thinking as far nationalistically as she has done, it is equally tempting to pose and question her political philosophy guiding her love with GNU.
One would not help but be quick to comment that the GNU has a lot more goodies to offer to Malawi. However, in as far as it is believed GNU will most surely give Malawi the eco-political and socio-cultural campus needed to guide our country to the road of self-emancipation in the 21st century world, GNU, at least as president Banda’s first ever cabinet is, ultimately kills the opposition voice to the extent that Malawians will be sleepwalking into a one-voice political system–Peoples party. It sounds iconoclastic to be thinking along this line, but mind you, this is politics where the unimaginable is a continuous reality.
That the appointments were made on merit is something obviously wrong, of course with fewest exceptions; and that the appointments smack of political silencing is something only few critical political minds would agree. What becomes annoying in the post-Bingu era is the euphoria associated with the change of governments to the extent that there seems to be no prophesying eye to the kind of repercussions to follow the decisions made today.
Of course Malawians have enough reasons to celebrate the all-inclusive president Banda cabinet; and, just equally, have enough reasons to protect their hard-won democracy. At the risk of inviting criticism and opposition, it seems that the cabinet is simply a replica of former president Bakili Muluzi’s cabinet. Perhaps, so you might argue, president Banda had a feeling that things used to be fine then when these people served Muluzi and hopes for the best that hiring them this time would undoubtedly result to the same good songs.
Of greatest concern in this all-inclusive cabinet is the muzzling of opposition voice. Maybe you would be forced to agree here that the entire cabinet is made up of key opposition party faces that have been the voice of reason during discussions in parliament. And you rightly wonder: “would they be as far reasonable and critical as they did when in opposition? Or they would be willing to sacrifice reason and welfare of the people at the altar of political appeasement, sycophancy, and self-survival?”
Let’s us agree that we have collectively failed as a nation. Our failure as a nation comes in the fact that, ironically, we have negatively assumed that those in opposition cannot assist in the running of government business when they are in opposition; for them to do so, there goes the thinking, there is need to poach them to the government benches, what kind of thinking is this? You wonder why should one be surprised hearing of Atupele Muluzi, the one-time pre-election frontrunner, ditching his whole new agenda for change.
Atupele’s whole sudden change from “I-for-presidency” to “I-for-change-not-presidency” is expected for, in principle, one cannot bite the finger that feeds you. And here you would agree with this author that the GNU is slowly but surely eating up the opposition voice.
So as we celebrate that the cabinet is all-inclusive, let us be all ears and eyes making sure that the critical voices from the opposition political parties are not silenced by the big cakes offered by government; and that whilst we can, offer the best suggestions to the opposition party leaders that they stop sacrificing their party’s tenets at the altar of opportunism and political prostitution. Thus, it is politically correct and convincing to adopt Bright Theu’s thinking that a true democracy can be attained only through constant vigilance by the citizenry especially the opposition political parties as he says: “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance”.*The author is a final year, Education Humanities Student at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. You too, like Henry D. Chizimba, can share with the world your point of view on different issues. Send your article to