It appears Malawi could have developed years ago if the opposition were in government. The folks seem to have great, great development ideasâ€”ideas that only those in government hardly see.
Take Joyce Banda for instance. A few months ago, while in opposition, she looked densely wiser. Her consistent criticisms of the late Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s administration meant she diagnosed the devil behind Malawiâ€™s failures.
Those completely sick with Mutharikaâ€™s visible failure of leadership sought relief in JB. They so wishedâ€”just wished because they knew it couldnâ€™t easily happenâ€”that Malawi could be better with JB as president.
Well, here it is. JB is now the president. Yet seven months in power, JBâ€”flanked by same old politicians that were distorting figures during Mutharikaâ€™s eraâ€”doesnâ€™t look wise anymore.
Letâ€™s face it: does JB really need the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) to tell her that it doesnâ€™t make sense for an entire head of State to be wasting millions by going all out, distributing relief maizeâ€”which, by the way, costs less than the cost of distributing itself â€”when there are numerous juniors who can do that?
Does the President really need Malawians to go the streets, again, for her to understand that, in these seasons of austerity, she needs to trim her excess Cabinet which is packed with politicians who present manipulated figures to Parliament, politicians who have an excellent track record of failure?
It is interesting to note how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)â€”the same DPP that led us into the economic ditch we are now, the same arrogant DPP that JB looked wiser on while criticising itâ€”has become wiser.
Just recall how its leaders dressed down JB during the rally they held last week at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre. They criticised her on everything.
Just like JB in their time, the DPP, too, it appears, now have become wiser. They have now understood, something they didnâ€™t when they ruled, the devil behind Malawiâ€™s consistent failures.
In fact, and this is slowly becoming an anthem, some Malawians have already started idolising DPP.
I have heard about people arguing that Binguâ€™s rule was better than â€˜this JBâ€™. I have readâ€”in columns, in post on social networksâ€”that Malawians were better off with Binguâ€™s economic and political policies.
These popular flip-flopping of thought, gestures of politicians appearing wiser when in opposition, isnâ€™t new.
They happened during Bakili Muluziâ€™s era. Malawi Congress Party (MCP)â€”after three decades of butchering its own people, something which characterised its dictatorship ruleâ€”appeared wiser criticising Muluziâ€™s visible failure of leadership.
In fact, popular sentiments like â€˜bola Kamuzu yemwe ujaâ€™ were quite common.
Now the question I am asking is this: why do Malawians always revere a past that is evidently rotten as an alternative to a rotten present? Why do Malawians say: better the devil we knew than the devil we know?
As a man on the frontline, I am convinced that the entire spectacle here is symbolic.
It is symbolises a nation searching for alternative leadership in a confined pool of politicians with a common rotten philosophy. This is a philosophy defined by instant urge to get into government, and when they get there, the motive is three fold: vengeance, predation and primitive accumulation through mass loot of state coffers.
Joyce Banda was there, sitting at ease in Mangochi watching her vice Khumbo Kachali and legislator Yusuf Matumula spit venom on Atupele Muluzi. If she condones politics of substance, how come she let the two to go on?
Atupele Muluzi resigned after being crossed with slurs from Kachali and Matumula. But his fatherâ€”the invisible hand behind his every political moveâ€”is a god of Malawiâ€™s politics of lies, slurs and vengeance. How come, if he values politics of substance, he hasnâ€™t spoken against such?
Peter Mutharika, just like JB in Mangochi, sat at ease when, during their rally at Njamba, the likes of Patricia Kaliati unleashed torrents on JB calling her a president â€˜with a head full of mandasi thinkingâ€™. How come, if he is a new face of Malawiâ€™s politics, did he not condemn that?
Letâ€™s not cheat each other here. I strongly believe that governments hardly develop nations. Itâ€™s people who do. But I also understand the critical role government plays in creating an environment where people work in to develop their families, their communities and their nation.
The pool of the current politicians has failed to do that. MCP had its chance, it failed. So too has UDF , DPP and PP.
To mean, Malawi canâ€™t go ahead if we continue to choose from this breed of politicians.
The future of Malawi, then, does not depend in choosing from the current breed.
Rather, in destroying this old order through the same spirit that destroyed colonialism in the early 60s and Kamuzuâ€™s dictatorship in the early 90s.