I play football for fun and I am a thousand miles away from being a professional (I don’t intend to being one either) but I don’t support any team at all. Whenever am asked the rationale behind it, my answer has always been the same- that there is no rationale to blindly follow and shout my lungs out in support of any specific team in the world.
I have always maintained this position because no matter how bad these teams perform, their supporters will always find excuses in favour of these teams. In other words, their teams are always the best and this, according to them, is a solid fact. To interpret it in another sentence, it means their teams are not at fault that they lose. To be fair, among these supporters, there are those who admit the deficiencies of their teams but yet they still ‘root for’ their teams-they call this process; loyalty. On the other hand (rather on the same hand-it makes sense that way), other dedicated supporters of different teams feel the same way when it comes to the ‘infallibility’ of their teams.
Politics is also the same. I am not, even for a bit, a staunch supporter of any political party. To me, they are like football teams and players. If they perform well I support them, if not, why should I support them.
To me, this whole mind-set of sticking to one team or person no matter how pathetic they perform is- to put it in a more polite phrase- intellectually disturbing. When supporting in the football world, lack of common sense is entertained because it’s not all that life threating as it is to lose your common sense in politics.
Whenever I feel a team or a person has performed well, I say so. To me, my comments and views/opinions about any particular football team in the world change all the times.
But still, when it comes to politics, things start to become very complicated. The reasons for supporting these political parties become very interesting and challenging.
As challenging as it sounds, I think politicians know very well the reasons why different people support different parties. It’s from this knowledge that most politicians, knowingly and/or unknowingly, play their cards accordingly. Below is, I think, why and how people support specific political parties;
- Regional connections
Yes, this point is self-explanatory. If you quiz some people on the reasons of supporting a specific party, they will, with no delays, answer that they do so because everybody in their region supports that party or that candidate. No further explanations. Quizzing them further is just wasting of your time.
- Family connections
I have my unties and uncles who support particular political parties just because everybody around them (in that family) does so. This is similar to point number 1, only that this is on a smaller scale.
- Religious connections
Our beautiful country, Malawi, is a very gorgeous example of that. Some Christians vote or encourage others to vote for another Christian and Muslims do the same. These ‘men of God’ disregard one important thing in Malawian politics. They forget that Malawi is a country with mixed people of different religions and governed based on ‘democratic’ values. Hence it’s important to understand that voting for any political party in Malawi does not necessarily make one an apostate or a Muslim or Christian. We neither have Islamic nor Christian political parties in Malawi per se.
And for those who understand this point should know that their participation in politics in this country is to be determined in the light of weighing up the pros and cons, and ruling concerning it differ according to time, place and circumstances. This point brings me to my last point and category number 4.
- Intellectually based
I don’t claim to be an intellectual, but I would like to be among this category of people. These are people who support and help a particular political party because it’s intellectually sensible that way. In other words, if there is a party that has ideas to improve the lives of citizens, they support it. These are the people who help or support a particular political party solely for its good performance-nothing else.
If what I am saying is true and makes sense, then I call upon all people in Malawi to correctly participate whether through voting, campaigning for someone or representing based on performance and the well-being of people and not through the decades’-old brainwashing propaganda from either religious or political tricksters.