Hon Folks, Hertherwick Ntaba is a medical doctor who’s equally adept at spin-doctoring, a skill that has made him a de facto propaganda surgeon for any failing Head of State since the latter days of Kamuzu Banda’s one-party dictatorship. Joyce Banda was the only exception.
She avoided him despite the fact that Ntaba is the only mercenary politician who, way back in the days of Bakili Muluzi, openly declared that his allegiance would only be to the ruling party because that’s where lies power, the ultimate pursuit in politics.
True to his philosophy, when PP dislodged DPP from power following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, Ntaba did not just decide to lie low but he went for a refresher and activated his career as a medical doctor.
Now he’s back with a bang. But wait, did he really mean it when he alleged earlier in the week that intelligence had tipped DPP of a PAC plot to stir violent demonstrations to coincide with its 6th All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference held in Blantyre on Wednesday and Thursday? Was it meant to reinforce the DPP construct of PAC as a political party?
He even said PAC will be held responsible for the bloodbath should its irresponsible actions lead to a repeat of July 20 2011 police brutality which led to the needless loss of 20 lives when trigger-happy police opened fire on citizens exercising their right to demonstrate against Bingu’s failed dictatorial leadership style.
What should we make of APM’s trip to Europe if government had it on good authority that carnage would follow fast on its heels? Would government honour PAC by sending an 11-member delegation comprising Cabinet Ministers and top government officials to the meeting if it were deemed partisan?
My take is that Ntaba was simply playing the kind of politics he is good at; defending his ultimate trophy in politics—power—with all there is, including lies. PAC is dubbed a political enemy for simply taking the stand that DPP has failed.
Chiefs were paraded on TV to bash PAC and so too some leaders of faith communities. They set the context by demonising PAC, saying it is doing things outside the mandate for which it was established. DPP then came in and declared that PAC’s intentions are politically motivated.
Then Ntaba comes in to associate PAC with violence which appears to exist only in the imagination of his party’s intelligence. The same criticism is echoed when a newspaper publishes a story which government does not like.
It is also the same when the university conducts a research that reveals something negative about government or the President. As for NGOs, they are given MBC TV’s boom mic when praising government or bashing opposition. Otherwise, they are also perceived as enemies of government.
What is at stake here is democracy itself. Its functionality is often measured by free speech and tolerance of the dissenting views.
In Malawi, right now Chancellor College remains closed and so too are many primary schools in the country. Lecturers and teachers are disgruntled with their miserable salaries amid ever-rising costs of living. Civil servants are also baying for a show down with their employer, protesting government decision to hike salaries by 10 percent this year. They want a higher pay hike. Corruption is rampant, economic growth is at rock bottom and our human development index shows our levels of poverty and deprivation are unmatched even by African standards.
Yet even with all these woes, to say things are falling apart makes you an enemy of government. You have to see it the APM way who the other day appealed to his compatriots to really feel proud that we’re managing just fine on our domestic revenue after a donor freeze of the budget support due to rampant corruption of Cashgate magnitude exposed in 2013.
They want us to believe our suffering is a passing phase of the darkest hour which proverbially comes before dawn. They want us to believe that DPP is on course to transform our poverty into the milk and honey that define life when the economy assumes the middle income status.
The only problem is that we have derailed and everybody says so, except Ntaba, APM and the DPP ofcourse.