n campaign trail, a whole former president went to town berating her successor for some unsocial behaviour during a trip to China in years gone when both presidents were ministers. According to former president Joyce Banda, President Peter Mutharika embarrassed her during a trip to negotiate Malawi’s diplomatic pivot from Taiwan to the Mainland China, when during dinner, Peter Mutharika allegedly took it upon himself to dry a few glasses of highly effective Chinese alcoholic spirit.
According to Banda, fully aware of the drinking habits of her brother minister, she called upon him to stop embarrassing her.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was lady JB’s idea of campaigning and selling the Tonse Alliance at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre. If that statement was designed to bring out the President out of his hide out—a supposed Covid-19 proof bunker he has sought refuge to ever since he presented his presidential nomination papers those many days ago—it worked as Mutharika came out—and, boy! he came fighting back.
Talking to MBC, he gave us his version of the story—unsolicited. JB and he, he told the public broadcaster, fought because Banda wanted to sleep in the presidential room when Bingu had delegated them to negotiate the deal. Fair enough, all sides heard.
Only that it wasn’t the end of the story, the President, like those at the biblical wedding at Cana tale, had served the best wine for the last. Back on campaign and speaking to his Goliati home ground, he unleashed the “full version”. Joyce Banda and he, actually, had another fight in China when they went with Bingu on the next trip. But as the president dined –and possibly wined, too—his ministers were fighting in the corridors over, again, who will sleep in what room. “She wanted to sleep in a room next to the president. I said no, it won’t happen, you can practise your prostitution in Lilongwe, not here.
My apologies for publishing that, but that’s what was said.
Neither should you think this incident is an exception. This week, truth be told, we even saw the lengths of this unpresidential antics when Mutharika, on the same trail, continued his incessant incendiary attacks on our Judiciary simply because the two highest courts in the country—the High Court and the Supreme Court—in total, a panel of 13 judges—ruled against his wish.
It must never be forgotten, that the Mutharika presidency was only kicked off when the same courts, in 2014, ruled that he was a legitimate president. Had JB used her executive powers as careless leader, we would’ve probably have never had the Mutharika presidency.
But simply because the courts have ruled against him, Mutharika is now launching the biggest assault on our judiciary and consequently, our democracy.
All this, though, could have been easily dismissed as welcome entertainment were our country not as poor as it is. But what is obtaining in this country is poverty that kills its babies so early and more often than in majority countries; kills pregnant women and others for preventable causes. A poverty that is perpetuated by greed at the top and a dysfunctional public service.
More dog meat
…As I explained last week, our leaders are feeding us dog meat or not telling us the truth during this political campaign. Folks, what did you make of the episode in which Tonse Alliance running mate Saulos Chilima went to the podium and told us he is going to double as Finance Minister in the next government and that he and Lazarus Chakwera have an agreement that “this is Chakwera’s time, but in the next election, he will be the candidate” only for Chakwera to consent to a TV interview in which he effectively repudiated both statements. What exactly did the two former Mtendere Secondary School and Chancellor college students really agree?
More importantly, in this context, why did the torchbearer find it necessary that he should rein on his soon to be deputy. For the optics, it didn’t look well for the Tonse alliance and unless the two go on a podium together and publicly explain the small incident, it might leave behind a big yawn for the rest of the campaign and possibly, the start of their government.