You are not doing too well, Mr. President.
Your press conference last week was a disaster. What most of us find annoying about politicians—and you have started to do this with frequency now—is that they do not seem able to give a straight answer to a simple question.
Your shouting and banging on the table did nothing to convince that it was necessary to take over 100 people to New York at public expense or that it was essential for you to charter a private jet again at the expense of the poor people of this country.
Your performance was the late Bingu wa Mutharika all over again. When the going got tough, Bingu would accuse his critics of envy and hate and would claim that he was rich and did not need the money for doing the job of president. That is lame and I suggest that next time you should come with a better argument than that.
I feel horribly let down by you. It was always my hope that you, as President, were going to be rather more grown-up in this job than your predecessor was. When few gave you the benefit of doubt, I did say that you seemed to be the man to give us decisive leadership in these difficult times and help turn our fortunes around.
But instead of uniting the country around a common purpose and saying let us get on with the business of building a nation, you are now chasing shadows. You are quick to blame Joyce Banda, the donors and the media every time that you cock something up.
By now, you should know that it is the job of the media to put the government of the day in as difficult a position as possible. You have to face them with facts, not threats. The media and communications team at State House have told you that, and prepared you for it, but they are useless. Look around you and ask yourself if those people were the best and brightest brains available. Giving people jobs solely on the basis that they supported you in the past is never a good idea, as many presidents have found out to their cost. Right now, Malawians are not sure what exactly is your position regarding the big, expensive jamboree in New York. Did you address the uneasiness around the fact that it was reported that you only approved a delegation of 18 but, somehow, over 100 people found their way? The answer is NO. You complain that the media is out to get you, but truth is it is nothing to do with you, but the office you occupy. And nobody forced you to take that job.
Bragging that you were a millionaire before you became president is a stupid argument to make. There are too many unanswered questions about how your brother, in a few years as president, amassed a massive fortune and who benefited from it.
Since you stayed out of the country too long, you might not know this, but it is generally considered rather vulgar, in this part of the world, as a leader of the people, to talk about how rich you are when the majority of your people live in depressing poverty.
Also, it is just obscene vanity. I would respectfully suggest that you do not ever talk about those millions again. Even if indeed you had those millions, it is a moot point. The real issue here is how you are using taxpayers’ money right now.
The kwacha is falling, the country cannot supply enough water and electricity, unemployment is rising, food prices are skyrocketing, hospitals have no drugs, teachers are not paid on time, doctors are disgruntled, government expenditure is out of whack, the economy is staggering and there is worse to come. In the face of all that, you think it is wise to boast about your millions in the bank?
I have spoken to quite a few people who liked you when you campaigned for the presidency, but now they are not sure. They had thought you were not going to make the debilitating mistakes—especially the disdain and arrogance—of of the past, but it seems what they thought of you is not what they are getting.
The decision is yours, but if you continue on this track, it will not end too well for you, I am afraid.n