Opinion Politics

Commemorating the midnight 6 ‘heroes’

Writing about Malawian politics is never an easy thing to do. It seems that every week that passes, Malawian politicians have the knack to upset the taxpayers with their endless habits of misusing government funds. As a writer, sometimes one is compelled to write about positive things about politicians, but it proves difficult when our politicians keep plunging the future of Malawi into the abyss. It becomes a tiring chore to always write negative things about politicians all the time, because in the end it is the writer that looks like an ‘ambulance chaser’. But once again, here are more negative passages about our politicians.

First of all, I want to understand what warrants Peter Mutharika and his cohorts to think they are ‘heroes’, when they were arrested on treason charges regarding the alleged plot which tried to usurp power from Joyce Banda? I want to understand how their warped thinking decided that their alleged ‘treasonous acts’ on that fateful day are worthy of remembrance?? If power really corrupts, our politicians have really lost touch with reality and are living in their own hallucinations of misguided grandiosity.

It was on 6th April 2012 when a group of executive government officials on MBC TV, read out a statement that rejected the vice president Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to power as per constitutional requirements. Fear gripped the whole country for no-one knew what was happening due the manner the ‘midnight 6’s’ blatantly reckless attempts to acquire power at all cost.

The 6th of April in 2012 should be commemorated as a victory for democracy, because if it was another country, the midnight 6’s statement was a call for civil war.

So with such a background, I wonder how the midnight 6 are able to think that their disdainful and contemptible deeds are somehow worthy of commemoration? If anything, it is an embarrassment for our nation to have people of their position, commemorating their reckless actions that led them to be in jail in the first place. It’s as mad as the US government trying to commemorate the birth of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln – an insult to democracy.

The spectre of handing out medals to the midnight 6 participants is a pathetic attempt to rewrite history under false pretexts. It makes me worry for Malawi to observe that these are the people that are supposed to work to make our lives better. The midnight 6 are really in their own cocoon where a sordid romanticism has taken over their minds.

In the real world, history is not going to look kindly upon the midnight 6, for it was these same individuals that nearly plunged this country into chaos following their alleged power plot. The day Bingu died could have been the worst day for politics in Malawi, because what the midnight 6 was suggesting was detrimental to the constitution and principles of representative democracy.

The backbone of democracy is the constitution, and if a country disregards the clauses of the many sections inscribed in the constitution, institutions are weakened, and chaos becomes the order of the day. Malawi has many problems but the constitution needs to be respected at all costs because if we lose that, then our democracy is for nothing. Then we’re no different from the likes of Somalia. And if the midnight 6 had been successful in grabbing power from Joyce Banda, it would have set a bad precedence for the country’s respect for the rule of law.

Historically, Malawians have always been been a peaceful people and have been tolerant of the many mistakes politicians make, including the events that led to the midnight 6 scandal. But never be fooled, for peaceful people also have a limit to their complacency, and their is no telling how events would have transpired if the midnight 6 were triumphant in their unconstitutional pursuit of power.

I therefore fail to understand how Peter’s Mutharika’s political advisors decided that the events of the ‘midnight 6’ is something Malawians want to remember. If anything, we should be commemorating the day the constitution of Malawi prevailed over the wishes of a few unscrupulous individuals. The people that need to inscribe their names on the wall of freedom are those that refused to allow the unconstitutional power grab of the midnight 6.

I believe that this ‘midnight 6 commemoration’ is a stain to a hero like Orton Chirwa who spent years and died in a prison cell, without ever having the chance to inscribe his name on Zomba’s prison walls. Oh what a shame that Malawi has never sought to commemorate Orton Chirwa’s imprisonment as a stark reminder of political injustice that once plagued this country.

All in all, history will be judged by our future compatriots. It is not up to us to inscribe our names on the walls of Malawi for our heroic deeds. For the future might just erase all those names with paint to forget the embarrassment that is the midnight 6. Ask Gaddafi and Saddam, whose grand statues now lay in ruins. If Malawi wants more heroes, the midnight 6 are not it.

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