Peter Mutharika and his DPP minions should concentrate on winning back the support of Malawians other than engaging in empty public stunts by claiming that he will use his private visit to the US to meet President Barack Obama.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that in the unlikely event Mutharika indeed meets Obama, the next question is: so what? First of all, such a meeting would be purely private as the DPP hierarchy is keen to portray the two as old buddies. It would have nothing to do with Malawians who should not be bothered at all. It would be like two good old friends meeting over a beer.
Mutharika does not represent Malawi in any capacity apart from being an MP of Thyolo East Constituency. He is not even a Leader of Opposition in Parliament and so unless he talks about his Thyolo constituency with Obama, that meeting should not be the business of Malawians. Yet, there are serious doubts about whether such a meeting indeed took place.
For starters, Christmas holiday in the West is spent with one’s family. In case of Obama, by the time I was writing this, he was still in Hawaii with his family, vacationing. As far as I heard, he was not to cut short the trip to meet a Malawian MP in Washington, answering to the name of Peter Mutharika.
On the contrary, the only thing that was to make Obama sacrifice quality time with his two girls and wife was the impasse over budget in Congress. But since DPP unwisely decided to make Mutharika’s possible private meeting with Obama the business of the Malawian public, I hope they will see it necessary and sensible to update Malawians on what would eventually happen about this famous meeting. Without which, they should do the needful by apologising to Malawians for lying to them in the name of public relations.
My simple pieces of advice to Mutharika and DPP are this. First of all, the party should hold a convention where the rank and file should be given a chance to make a statement on whether they want Mutharika to continue leading them or they would rather go for someone else not answering to the name of Mutharika again.
Secondly, DPP has an important job to convince Malawians that they are a changed lot who would not tell police to murder them in daylight as it happened on July 20, 2011 when 20 young men were ruthlessly gunned down by those who were supposed to protect them and, yet, their only crime was to protest against bad governance.
Thirdly, DPP has a job to also convince Malawians that, given a chance to run this country come 2014, they would not arrogantly wreck the economy again. That whoever will be the party’s torchbearer will not be a Mr Know-it-All like the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who called anybody with a different view, including donors, stupid.
Fourthly, DPP should also assure radical university students that they would be safe to engage in mental gymnastics with their hot heads without being butchered and thrown on a cold concrete in the manner it happened to one Robert Chasowa of the Polytechnic.
As you can see, not simple tasks, but being complicated by DPP gaffes such as the present one of trying to use the name of Obama to impress Malawians, thinking that they are daft and they would indeed feel good about Mutharika.
Granted, we all need to be inspired by the amazing story of Obama, but I just feel it is now reaching ridiculous levels in Malawi. Honestly, it is becoming pathetic and miserable. Surely, DPP can be creative to engage in better PR moves than this. Miserable stunts won’t save them.