Some lessons from Kenya
It has been sometim since I last visited this space. You know seperating ones identity in a new job from professional is quite difficult. Having joined the Nation newspaper www.nationmw.net I had to keep my itch to comment on matters in the country while pursuing the same as story lines. Of course during probation one can learn to keep out of controversy. But as a writer, good am back and hopefully on daily basis especially in the evenings. I would like to do a 2009 path to elections that can afford people access this important process and unpadate from myself. So malawielections09 would be coming soon on this blog.
Having said that, there is a lot to be commented upon from the political platform to the national tragedy that will be a replica of 2001, where after selling all the maize, we started importing again.
But today, let me stick to the simple matter of an agreement signed between Kenyan Government and Opposition ODM. The process in Kenya has been keenly watched by African in particular as between now and June 2009 not less than 10 African nations will have their elections. Among them Malawi and South Africa.
Cries of vote rigging are not new both in Africa and beyond, and finding solution or the attention that one pays to the actual process of finding solution is what matters.
For Kenya, it is very interesting that the whole world was on its knees and frantically tried to contribute solution to the dispute. The amount of pressure was so ernomous that from Condi Rice to Bush, from Gordon Brown to UN former and current General Secretaries all of them visited Kenya or said something about Kenya. It shows how willing the International Community was in trying ernestly to support the peace process.
But wait a minute. Are the problems in Zimbabe, Darfur Sudan and Congo much less than others. Or the truth is that Kenya is a strategic partner in both Security and Economic sense that people were willing to invest so hurreidly to secure their interests.
There many lessons one can draw from Kenya, from the mere fact that elections management is important as the outcome, that confidence and perception of the process among all stakeholders is crucial without discounting the same for the ordinary voter and more importantly willingness to solve the problem after elections.
Winner takes it all voting system indicates that for long, even minority winners can take the State House and become antagonists to the majority that voted otherwise.
Malawi can learn a simple lesson in elections management and also tolerance through dialogue which has been absent in the past three years. Both Government and Opposition need to be sober in approaching the next years election.
The current impasse involving the convening of Parliament, section 65 of the constitution and more importantly management of the electoral process shows that we need someone with a sober mind to bring out stubborn leaders to the table.
For the world community, the loyalty and concerns raised in Kenya and the offers for solution should extend to Zimbabwe, Somalia and Darfur. These despite not being military or economic strategic partners-except for China- still are creating social upheavals that will be difficult to contend.