I understand Uladi Mussa whenever he goes to town on Joyce Banda’s challengers. In fact, it’s not news whenever Sidik Mia misses the policy plot and begins to vilify JB’s critics.
The two—let’s call a spade a spade here—are what in English we call ‘recycled’ politicians. They are fundamental descendants of Bakili Muluzi’s rotten and stinking politics of castigation. Their political DNA is already spoiled by Muluzi. Don’t expect them to change.
The good news is that the future has already started spitting out such monsters. Let’s just give the two—and fellow recycled politicians out there—time. The future, trust me, will spit them out.
However, I get sick whenever I observe politicians whom I regard as symbols of the Malawi’s political future getting caught up in the philosophies of recycled politicians.
Look at Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu. I am told he is all out in his constituency—which is also my constituency, by the way—calling people not to support the ‘mass’ demonstrations slated for January 17, next year.
He is not just doing that in his constituency. Early this month, he issued a press release, which MBC is running up to now, that is not just calling Malawians to refrain from these demonstrations. Shamefully, it also attacks Mr John Kapito, the man organising these demonstrations.
Honestly speaking, I am baffled. I am baffled because last time I checked, such a strategy was used by the Bingu Wa Mutharika’s government. Let’s face it: people know that they have the right to hold demonstrations. They don’t have a duty to convince government if they want to exercise it.
Haven’t you forgotten, Honorable Kunkuyu? The Bingu administration tried, through dangling carrots and throwing sticks, to snatch this right from the people. Did they succeed?
Hence, blowing fuel by going all out talking to constituencies and issuing strong worded press releases that are aired repeatedly on state broadcasters, is a BAD IDEA—I repeat, a BAD IDEA—of reasoning with the public in times of pending demonstrations.
Unarguably, I didn’t expect Kunkuyu—whom I should confess I respect for bringing honour and dignity to the information ministry—could sink so low. Letting discredited ideas come back into fashion when there is no good reason to resurrect them? No, Honourable Kunkuyu.
Trust me; if government maintains this bad idea, they, just like their predecessors, won’t succeed. But is there a way out? I think so.
In the first place, I, do not support the idea of going to the streets.
Yes, the cause of economic pains is genuine, and there is none more devastated than me. The cost of survival—not living because this is not life—continues to soar against static incomes.
In fact, as I am writing—I should confess, I am quite a bitter and an angry man.
But in the depth of my anger and bitterness, I ask myself: If I am this terrible yet I am a graduate with a full time job; what about the unemployed, those working in Indian shops, those in small scale businesses, minibus touts, and etcetera?
My innermost fear is that the country is living in a season of mass anger and bitterness. Such a season is not healthy to take people to the streets. The entire thing will turn into a therapy, a medium to vent out every inch of deep seated anger and bitterness. I am not saying there will be mass looting and destruction but I am seeing that from a sober distance.
I have listened to Mr Kapito’s concern. He argues that the country is in this ‘epic mess’—a phrase coined by a friend, Lonjezo Sithole—because of governments’ move to float the currency and also to adopt an auto-pricing mechanism of fuel prices.
The demonstration, according to Mr Kapito, carries a word to government to reverse these two policies.
I am not an economist, of course. But I understand that JB’s government didn’t just adopt those two economic policies from the blue.
We know she inherited a dying economy. To begin the process of recovery, the economy demanded a massive jolt in the system. That ‘massive jolt’ couldn’t have been possible if government didn’t go by the usual dictates of the IMF who kept the key to all the doors of donor inflows.
I am really sure—especially now when donor taps have begun to open—it will be quite difficult for government to, in a flash, go by the wisdom of Mr Kapito. May be I am being naïve?
Hence, I expect Honourable Kunkuyu to stop going to constituencies and issuing strong press releases. I expect him, on behalf of government, to invite Mr Kapito to the State House so that government clarifies to him why it is difficult to easily go by his proposal. I am sure Mr Kapito is level-headed enough to understand.
Otherwise, if government maintains its recycled ideas, I shudder to think of January 17.