This write-up joins President Peter Mutharika and the media fraternity in the country in paying tribute to Nation Publications Limited (NPL) managing editor Edward Chitsulo who on March 17 was laid to rest at his home, Ntepele Village, Traditional Authority Likwose in Chiradzulu.
Surely, Chitsulo’s death is a heavy loss not only to the NPL family, but to journalism as a profession.
That Chitsulo has left an indelible mark in Malawi’s media circles is summed up by the President, who through Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa described him as a patriot whose writings fought for democracy in Malawi.
Nankhumwa disclosed that the President was an avid reader of Raw Stuff, Chitsulo’s didactic and witty weekend column published in Weekend Nation.
In Raw Stuff, of course, Chitsulo spectacularly succeeded in his civic duties as a patriot by sensitising the leadership and the public to their rights and responsibilities.
He matches Ken Lipenga, Hama Tuma and Alex La Guma in expressing the romantic vision of village life in realistic form through the use of humour and satire. His choice of diction is relatively simple and lucid, making his message clearer to the reader. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Ironically though, Mutharika seems to not have benefitted from Chitsulo’s rare wisdom depicted in his articles. Neither has he learnt anything from his predecessors’ failures.
As at Friday, the President has since January made 11 trips.
He led centenary commemoration of freedom fighter the Reverend John Chilembwe in Chiradzulu on January 17, visited flood victims in some parts of the country on January 19, opened the 60 kilometre John Chilembwe Highway that runs between Blantyre and Zomba on January 24 and left the country for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend to African Union Summit on January 28.
He launched the Public Service Reforms Programme in Lilongwe on February 11, presided over a pass-out parade of prison recruits and the award of medals to officers in Blantyre on February 21, toured Limbe central business district to revive the ‘Operation Red Star’ campaign introduced in the mid-1990s to demolish substandard and archaic buildings in the country’s major cities and towns on 23 February and launched a He4She Campaign at Parliament grounds in Lilongwe on 26 February.
He led the commemoration of the second anniversary of his arrest on treason charges in March 2013 on March 11, launched the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources on March 12 and launched Community Technical Colleges Programme at Ngara Community Technical College in Karonga on March 20.
Yet, prior to the recent tripartite elections that saw him ascend to the highest office of the land, Mutharika with his Democratic Progressive Party’s disciples, was all over screaming against former president Joyce Banda’s (JB) unquenched thirst for voyages. He promised to change the script on unwanted frequent presidential travels.
And majority Malawians voted out JB as their chief executive officer for criss-crossing the country every other day to give out freebies of all manner and description, hoping her successor would bring the desired and promised change.
Certainly not all the 11 functions—an average of a function per week—the President has attended are worth his presence. Considering the money drawn from the public purse they are accompanied with, the trips are just too many for Malawi’s ailing economy.
The more Mutharika treks around the country, the more he becomes an irony of himself and slides into the coterie of predatory and visionless leaders Malawi has ever had since independence; making the country remain a warm heart, smiling in the way of approaching ruthless poverty. n