At the opening of the auction floors on Wednesday, President Peter Mutharika was charged for no good reason other than that he seems to have discovered a strand of eloquence and a mean streak in him with which he wants to position himself as an assertive leader. But it may turn out to be a disaster.
If he were not President, I would have been tempted to ask about what he smokes or takes when he is all by himself and seeking a distraction to kill the time. Whatever it is, it is doing him and the nation no good. He is the President, however, so I will resist the temptation to question his choice of hobbies, lest I fall foul of some obscure, primitive laws.
Weighing in on Malawi’s food situation, Mutharika went ballistic blaming the one Being who never crossed anybody’s mind but his.
“Let’s not politicise hunger,” charged Mutharika, “hunger is not caused by DPP or Peter Mutharika, but God.”
It was a brief, loaded message that was an inaccurate act of blame-shifting and an abdication of authority for which he was elected. Whatever happened to thou shall not mention the name of your God in vain!
Mutharika conveniently forgot to mention that Malawians—at least 36 percent of them—did not elect God; neither did they, for that matter, elect APM to apportion to other people his failures to put in place policies that would provide solutions to people’s challenges.
Whether we like it or not, climate change is here to stay and Mutharika’s remit was to find solutions that mitigate the problems. As a country, we need someone who prepares for and is ready to deal with calamities, natural or man-made. That is leadership; blaming God is not.
God did not manufacture climate change that has brought about phenomena such as El Nino and brought flash floods in Mzuzu and other parts up North; it was man’s own foolishness and lack of foresight.
Get me right, I’m not saying the disaster up North is of no importance. But is it a disaster that we cannot manage by ourselves? This disaster should not come as a surprise because the weather gurus did warn us beforehand that the weather patterns this year will result in floods up North. Why, then, are we acting panicky and pressed?
It is us that brought this disaster upon ourselves. We have logged all our forests bare. And we are not relenting even when experts are warning us that this is the cause of these weather-related disasters. God has nothing to do with our foolishness. So let’s leave him out of this.
By the way, would Mutharika have declared the State of National Disaster had the flash floods in Mzuzu not occurred?
It has been months since weather experts and the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee warned of El Nino and how it would test our resilience to respond. Yet despite suggestions from several quarters to declare a State of National Disaster ages ago, Mutharika snored on the job and is only coming out now aiming his loaded gun at God.
The devastating effects of the El Nino are continental, yet why are we the only ones crying out loud and taking out our begging bowl? The problem as a nation is that we are easily shaken; we lack resilience because we have been so used to everything being done for us. We have been in a State of National Disaster since independence—only the financial aid in budget support and development aid we received from donors cushioned us from being exposed as such. Now that the donors have abandoned us, we have been exposed.
We need a leader who can remember that Malawi is a basket case that needs delicate handling and who should act when prompted—not someone who goes to open an auction floor and forgets why he was there. But can remember to blame God.