Aleke Kadonaphani Banda has voted in Nkhatabay South at Tukumbo more than once. But come last week, he had his shock of life, his name was missing from the voters roll. The story is the same of thousands of Malawians whose name are not in the official register of the elections. Lucky enough most of them have their voters cards that it will be difficult to accuse them of being cheats.
The issue of the missing names on the voters roll has just further lowered the morale in an election which has no fun. There is very little excitement and as I said not even posters in town to indicate the season.
I travelled to Chilinde area in the Capital, someone had put an effort and put up flags, while so far the real talk on the campaign has been the K100 million convoy President Bingu wa Mutharika is using. Yes you can add K36 million coach paradiso, K40 million six Hummer H3 and over 20 nissan one tonne pick ups with each costing around K2 million duty free.
Apart from the convoy, there are two feelings, no sitting African Government loses election, so most Malawians are already resigned that the real vote will happen in 2014, that is when Bingu will retire and get out of office. There is no prospect of immediate change in the air. Thats what would make even adernt party supportersbe indefferent to the on-going campaign.
For UDF, the supporters are lost, after MEC announcement, their candidate Bakili Muluzi who they have barred, is no longer active and slowly becoming irrelevant in the campaign. The announcement sent shock waves and Muluzi if he can not come up with plan B as soon as possible he will not even become a king maker.
Interestingly on promises we have already heard them all, free fertiliser, universal subisdy and now free secondary education, a youth empowerment fund and so forth, free women fertiliser by Loveness Gondwe's Narc and some ridiculous claims here and there.
One can predict that after such a dull start, the players need to jack up a little bit. John Tembo and his MCP have to wake up and go deeper into campaign the usual business of one rally a week wont work for him to cover the whole country in the last five weeks of the campaign.
DPP needs tow rok extra hard and empower its candidates, they are selling a new brand and they are going into lions dens to take away votes. The Hummers and Paradiso's wont turn into votes,. there is a need for personal engagement.
Kamuzu Chibambo, Republican Party's Masauli and James Nyondo need to find a formulae to be relevant to the campaign, as of now they are just side kicks and entertainers of the process.
Malawi Electoral Commission needs to ensure that it retakes all the data it captured manually and enter into the systems. The should employe qualified data clerks like the ones used in TIP programmes not nieces and nephews putting the whole electoral process at the mercy of nepotism.
Finally for those that engaged in violence at Mitundu, they should fell ashamed, life is very unkind to those who like violence. It is time to re-engage the gear and energise the campaign.
As we go into the fourth week of campaign, let the real debate start.