bout 23 years have gone since Malawi adopted politics of multipartyism and it seems to be too much to ask for the separation between government and ruling political party to be as distinct as possible.
Of late, much more now with the talking dictionary that is Nicholas Dausi at the helm, the office of the Minister of Information and Communication Technology has become so highly abused that it is now the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mouthpiece.
Coming from the leadership of Patricia Kaliati and Jappie Mhango, it could only get worse and true to form Dausi has not disappointed.
It seems in his capacity as government spokesperson, the Minister of Information has the liberty to remark on anything and everything that the opposition and civil society criticises the government, and DPP, on.
The lines between the government and party have become so blurred in recent times that Dausi can be mistaken for the DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila and perhaps even the Secretary General herself Greselder Jeffrey.
Dausi’s meddlesome behaviour even extends to the point of thinking himself Presidential spokesperson, usurping the job of the man based at State House.
As if that is not enough, the statements that the ministry is churning out, supposedly at his hand leave a lot to be desired.
It does not take away the minister’s power as a Cabinet minister by addressing people for the public positions that they hold. If Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera speaks to the press as such, then any reactions to these should address him as party president or if necessary leader of Opposition who is in essence a government employee by virtue of enjoying perks paid for by the taxpayer money.
It does not take away the fact Dausi is in government by seeking counsel from his office if he did not understand what Chakwera or indeed civil society mean in their remarks.
Big words compiled in a few short paragraphs will not make the statement any more palatable or digestible for that matter. As a government spokesperson, content—written and what comes out of his mouth—will be scrutinised and found wanting in many aspects making his office a source of ridicule in WhatsApp groups.
It does not take rocket science for an ordinary Malawian to see the faces being paraded before the State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for what they really are; puppets in the Ministry of Information not so well oiled propaganda machinery who will eventually be rewarded with postings to parastatal boards.
Every Malawian seeing such displays of exasperation by the information ministry should be embarrassed to be a citizen of this country. That the speakers themselves find what is coming out of their mouths as intelligent and convincing boggles the mind.
What the attempts at propaganda achieve in the end is to give more attention to the Chakwera speech made at the press conference. The so called commentators on MBC succeed in doing something that MCP fails to do and that is to be heard by the masses. Thanks to Dausi and his plaything MBC, the millions of Malawians who can only access the broadcaster in their homes know what Chakwera said and can judge for themselves what he meant.
In hindsight, perhaps Dausi and his ministry should be commended for providing access to information and in a roundabout way, freedom of expression.
But if Dausi envies the position that Chakwera is in, playing the role of opposition, he only needs to work hard at it and be adequately rewarded come 2019. So far he is doing a better job of opposing than the leader of Opposition himself.