To understand the reason a small country like Malawi with very solvable problems is living on the fringes of utter poverty and struggling to develop, one simply needs to understand what Malawian politics since the dawn of the multiparty era. Malawian politicians have perfected the art of creating problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if all the parties- DPP, MCP, UDF, PP and all other political movements are against corruption, WHY do we still have corruption running riot and causing havoc?
If you do not understand the mind of a politician, ask yourself why when all the opposition politicians agree that the current government has failed, they are yet unable to see the need for them to form an alliance that will guarantee that we have a new team governing the country in 2019.
The problem with Malawian politicians is that their personal interests and their private egos come first before the interests of the country.
This being my final column in this paper, I feel it is important for me to point out what this country needs to develop. It will be, I hope, a familiar theme and a song I have been singing for the past three years on this forum.
If the Peter Mutharika years have taught us anything at all, it is that Malawian leaders, no matter what good intentions they confess, preach or claim at the time of their acquisition of power, they are commonly denominated by how soon they succumb to greed and self-enrichment as power gets to their heads.
Kamuzu Banda had good intentions when he became the first president of the Republic in 1964. But soon, power went to his head. He declared himself life-president and brutally silenced critics and opponents, while amassing more wealth for himself and his cronies.
By his death, Kamuzu Banda’s wealth as an individual exceeded that of Malawi as a nation.
Bakili Muluzi followed the same self-enrichment formula set by the late Kamuzu before him. Coming into power with so much good will at the dawn of the new Malawian democracy, Muluzi soon lost sight of the tenets of democracy that had become almost his identity, and his swansong to Malawians was the undemocratic acts of a man blinded by the love of power.
Muluzi pushed for third term and open term bills, and having failed on these, went for a ruling behind the throne strategy that backfired terribly. He left the political arena a disgraced man, still desiring the power and the unexplained wealth that the presidency had brought him.
The late Bingu wa Mutharika promised much after his controversial break away from Muluzi’s United Democratic Front. And for a while he seemed to be determined to deliver even during very politically turbulent times. But he soon followed the same well-travelled road. Mutharika soon endeavoured to demonstrate his newly found power after 2009 elections by changing the Malawi flag, a needless idea that simply betrayed his vanity. He then attempted to make Malawi parastatals and civil service’s staff lists resemble that of the Thyolo district council, a move that exposed more clearly his hubris and blinded him to the vision that he had once had for Malawi.
Self-enrichment was also evident in the building of expensive mansions and mausoleums, numerous property purchases and at one point even an intention to open a bank. By the time he passed away in April 2012, Mutharika had managed to transform a goodwill that had evidenced itself in an overwhelming electoral victory to a populace that was baying for his blood and which even celebrated as his body lay in state.
Hailed as a breath of fresh air when she ascended to the presidency after Bingu’s death, president Joyce Banda’s appetite for wealth and power by far overshadowed all those that had gone before her. She presided over Cashgate and the worst recorded looting of state coffers this country has ever seen, and her development agenda was simply non-existent.
One would think that the greatest tragedy this country has ever gone through would be current president Peter Mutharika’s almost psychotic obsession with riches and power and his and the DPP’s determination to remain in office even after such a clear demonstration of their inability and unfitness for the office.
I would declare, however, that the biggest betrayal to Malawians, our clear and present danger in 2018 and one that must be corrected decisively in 2019 if the Republic is to survive at all, is that of an opposition divided and too selfish to recognise its duty to Malawians.
To an analytical observer, it should be quite easy to recognise that with the determination and the obsession that the thieving DPP has to cling to power at all costs, and indeed the cost and the result this will bring to a country already on its knees, the first and foremost concern for Malawians would be to put aside their personal differences, their selfish ambitions and their hunger for absolute power and unite in one goal and one goal alone: to rescue Malawi from certain death and oblivion.
Surely, it should be easy enough for Dr Chakwera, Saulosi Chilima, Joyce Banda and Atupele Muluzi to recognise the need to unite in an effort to save the nation?
Yet as I write this in 2018 with 6 months to go to the all-important election, what we are seeing are opposition leaders that are unwilling to work as a team for the good of the country; an opposition, whose leaders all are obsessed with becoming president, and believing that the next Malawi leader in 2019 will be them, forgetting that there always is room for only one president at the top.
If anything, this betrayal, this failure to unite on behalf of Malawi at the time when she most needs her so called political leaders to stand up for her, reveals to Malawians that none of those aspiring for the Malawian presidency actually have the selflessness and the magnanimous spirit required for true leadership, let alone statesmanship.
As I have written elsewhere, in the wake of the blatant abuse of presidential power and appalling scandals such as those involving President Mutharika and Zamir Karim, the opposition cannot comfort itself that it has done its duty simply by releasing press statements and making anticorruption speeches from various podiums. It is the responsibility of our political leaders to bring the government to account, not issue press releases!
As we head towards 2019, Malawian opposition parties need to be under no illusion that this will be a smooth ride. They need to appreciate that a president and a party steeped in corruption, who knows that they will face the full extent of the law once they leaves office, will fight tooth and nail to galvanise their power and ensure the preservation of their immunity from prosecution.
In order to save Malawi from the certain death that will surely come upon the country should this clueless, decadent, corrupt and unscrupulous leadership continue, the only real guarantee for Malawi is the strength that will be found in a unified opposition. What I would like to see is a coalition between MCP, UTM and PP, if these parties really mean what they say when they claim that their mission of to rescue Malawi.
As we cruise towards elections in May, the Malawian opposition and the Malawian people must unite or die.
We can no longer afford to remain in the comfort of reckless abandon that has featured in our character and attitude. Somehow, we have managed to watch helplessly as one individual after another took everyone for granted to ransack our country.
Take it or leave it, in 2019 the biggest menace facing Malawi’s survival is its own president. President Peter Mutharika and his DPP are a clear and present danger to Malawi. I say this not out of hate or for any personal reasons, but because this Mutharika is uncannily incompetent and disinterested. Mutharika simply is not the kind of leader that needs another 5 years. These past five have been torture enough. Malawi needs a leader with an active brain as opposed to an active mouth or belly.
I wish you thank all of you that have followed this column faithfully from its inception in 2015. Those who will make the mistake of thinking that simply because this column has reached its end then my voice will be silenced will do so at their own peril. My zeal and determination to speak on issues that matter remains as strong as ever and will continue to be evident in other fora.
Hello, I must be going!