Lucius Banda’s new single sounds off-key with Chakwera’s gospel of a better Malawi for all. Our Features Editor JAMES CHAVULA reviews Muchira.
President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera promises a better Malawi for all, but his most musical advisor sounds off-tune.
Lucius Banda, his go-to person on arts and youth affairs, has released a new track that screams ‘it’s our time to eat’.
The State House confirmed him as the presidential adviser just a day after his 50th birthday on August 17.
The man selected to give Chakwera pep talk on arts affairs and the dominant population’s aspirations, ceased being one of the youth 15 years ago.
The President has also stirred debate for selecting retirees, spouses and cronies to Cabinet, a casting political analysts described as rewarding campaign contributors.
However, Lucius’ new song says its okay and takes no prisoners. It says the appointees sweated for their lofty perch and accuses their critics of wallowing in luxury when the appointees were hitching lorries, travelling dusty roads and sleeping rough during the battle to the top.
The singer likens State positions to m’memo—a communal dish exclusive taken by those who contribute money or labour to its making. The imagery discredits critics as crying for a share despite contributing nix.
The song released a week after taking the job that calls for the president’s ear exudes a feeling of entitlement if not arrogance.
The metaphor of m’memo shows no one will get to the table except those who sweated for the meal.
This contradicts Chakwera’s day-one promise to embrace people who did not support his mission.
In his acceptance speech on June 28, the former opposition leader said: “This new Malawi is a home for you too, and so long as I am its President, it will be a home in which you too will prosper.”
The 65-year-old only asked for one thing in return: “A chance to earn your trust and make this win a win for all of us.”
But Lucius, christened ‘Soldier of the Poor’ after the 1994 hit Son of a Poor Man, sings a different tune.
He repeatedly chants muchila koma mochedwa (you will get over it, but not soon], a refrain arrogant DPP cadres chanted to taunt their critics, including marchers in the 10-month protests that preceded the nullification of Mutharika’s messy re-election. During the uprising, soldiers stepped in to protect protesters from horrifying attacks by DPP ruffians as police looked on helplessly.
To political analyst Blessings Chisinga, Malawians on June 21 had rejected the impunity, corruption and nepotism Mutharika’s rule came to represent.
Yet it appears the methods of the ejected regime did not peter out the day Chakwera rose to the top.
Two months on, Lucius plucks a dreaded tool from the haunting past to scorn Malawians questioning public appointments. He prescribes ginger, garlic and painkillers for whoever it hurts.
But his stance is not new.
On social media, self-styled sympathisers of Chakwera have forced two personal assistants to Cabinet ministers to resign. They include Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo aide Lyson Sibande and Minister of Sports Ulemu Msungama’s Arnold Chimtengo.
The governing alliance loyalists argue that DPP operatives cannot be trusted with Cabinet secrets, but latently murmur that it is their turn to get the jobs.
However, leadership that thrives on give and take cannot build a better nation for all. Rather, it can only sustain and trite into favouritism rejected by 58.5 percent of voters who elected Chakwera.
The President has kept his campaign funders a top secret. This creates room for State capture and cronyism to snake back and bite harder at the peril of transparency and accountability.
The rising chorus from Lucius and other self-touted enablers of the current political elites discredits the talk of a new Malawi that benefits all regardless of political differences.
In the referendum of 1993, which birthed Lucius’ succesful music career, Malawians elected to do away with the one-party rule in favour of multiparty democracy. This includes tolerance.
He does not emit the wisest reasoning and tone from a presidential advisor. It sounds like the street stuff from Limbe in Blantyre where some governing alliance apologists welcomed Chakwera’s ascendency by waging a battle of supremacy on DPP cadres they once disdained as heavy-handed thieves.
Any presidential advisor worth the ear should know State business is more serious and Malawians deserve better.
The “our time to eat” tune only fans favouritism likely to dash the dream of a better Malawi for all before daybreak.
The music icon, will release his 20th album this year.
Will the Muchira track make it on the album? Let’s wait and see.