Trust in the LORD with all your heart; lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your ways. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones.– Proverbs 3:5-8
After 26 years of democracy in Malawi, the soul of the Malawi nation cries out for genuine leadership. In the midst of a global pandemic, President Peter Mutharika declared a national disaster that swiftly led to a variety of preventative measures, including the closure of schools and universities since March 23. As appreciable as the presidential directive is in these challenging times, Mutharika has not spoken to the Malawi people on the deadly virus that has hitherto, no known treatment or vaccine. He has also not shown that he is taking part in any other directory function on the matter.
And while the preparedness appears to be jumping the gun and the President not speaking directly to the people during the two weeks since announcing the disaster, the figures of coronavirus cases in the United States should rocket Malawi to preparedness. On March 1 2020, the US had an alarming 89 cases; on March 31, the cases scaled to a staggering 186 259 cases and 5 000+ dead. The country has gone on auto-pilot lockdown with 45 states ordering people to stay home, while medicines, medical equipment such as ventilators, protective gear are running low as bed space dwindles.
If one asks why the concern with the US when discussing the virus in Malawi that has no case, the response is that the leaders of these countries, with vastly wide margins of financial viabilities, appear to be playing from similar playbooks.
Although to be fair, President Donald Trump has been speaking to Americans since the first case in January, albeit while he dilly-dallies, politick, and use the briefings to jab at his political opponents. Additionally, like Malawi, the US in 2020, has a presidential election.
Thus, Mutharika took time from his busy schedule of electioneering to invite Malawians to pray for the virus. Understandably, members of the opposition said they would not attend. These included UTM Part leader, who is also State Vice-President Saulos Chilima, and Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and former president Joyce Banda and others.
While Mutharika has been sticking his tongue out at the Constitutional Court order, refused to sign four Parliamentary bills, retained electoral commissioners whom both the court and Parliament labelled as incompetent.
One thinks perhaps the President’s all quiet on the hot seat is due to his having no mandate to be there. He has 150 days to hold elections (from February 3, 2020).
But despite his bandwagon of election robbers at the Malawi Electoral Commission, being given votes of no confidence by two of the three arms of government (Judiciary and the Parliament), the President and his compromised MEC, continue in “business as usual” mode, with MEC setting an unrealistic election date that is too close to Malawi’s Independence Day, July 6.
Clearly, Mutharika is lacking in characteristics of a true leader. As a leader, one does the following: 1. He or she talks to the people. Often. 2.Speaks with authority. Conviction to govern with love mingled with heaps of integrity. 3. Speaks on all issues affecting the nation, not just what will keep him/her and cronies in office. True nationalist at heart. 4.Fixes broken roads so people have safe paths to travel on, builds schools and hospitals. Love and empathy. 5. Protects the provisions of the Constitution. Never ravaging or selfishly twisting it for self-service.
Unlike the US, Malawi does not have money for this kind of failed leadership in its election process.