I keep hearing a lot of lies these days. And I won’t stop.
Sometime before Bingu wa Mutharika died, Atupele Muluzi told us he is advancing a Change Agenda. I thought he meant a complete 180-degree turn from the post-independence patrimonial politics.
Then a chance came for Atupele to practise what he preached. I mean, to be different from the post-independence politics that makes a leader straddle all of us like a giant, making us look like petty souls walking under their huge legs.
But see what he did?
Before it was changed for reasons I don’t know, Article 39 (f) of UDF constitution read: “Notwithstanding any provision of this constitution to the contrary, a person shall only be qualified for nomination for election as presidential candidate or running mate if he or she: (ii) has attained the age of thirty-five years.
Atupele, we all know, isn’t thirty five. Yet, even when he knew he wasn’t 35, he allowed himself to collect nomination forms when he wasn’t supposed to and went ahead to compete for a position that he, as a lawyer, is well placed to understand that didn’t qualify.
I am saying even when knew he wasn’t 35, Atupele, a man pushing a change agenda, allowed not-so-politically-sober UDF gurus to change the law at the convention to allow him compete and win.
Tell me, is this the kind of change we need as a country? How is this different from the politics his father and Bingu pursued—the politics of changing laws so suit their personal motive?
Muluzi wanted to change the law in 2003 to allow him rule forever. Mutharika changed the Local Government Laws so that the country doesn’t hold local polls. Even when he, himself, was saved by court injunction, Mutharika pushed to limit people’s freedom of getting injunction.
Tell me, how different is this from what Honourable Atupele Muluzi did during the convention? I am not a pessimist, I have never been one and I promise I won’t be one, but, at least, on this one, me and my family won’t believe in this Change Agenda.
It is just one of the lies I keep hearing a lot these days. And I won’t stop hearing them. It is because I won’t stop hearing them; that is why I heard another one from Lilongwe.
Peter Mutharika, I am told, rode on public transport—a minibus, to buy bonya at Chinsapo market. Hahahahahahahaaha! To me, Peter’s stunt was a move to remove the elitist coil which defines everything about him.
To me, that sounds like a desperate man wanting attention from people he ignored when his brother said: ‘gonani pa msewu muone ngati mafuta m’dziko muno mulibe.’
To me, that sounds like a man dying to gain political mirage out of tough times primarily caused by a government where he was a senior Cabinet minister and worsened by the current government.
Like I have argued before, just like I do with anybody wishing to rule us, I wish Peter Mutharika well. But I have strong reservations on some of these characters that are playing nice gentlemen today just because they need my and your vote.
I have a strong feeling that this generation has—and I can say this a thousand times without fear—been let down by the generation behind us. Even when they were warned against the abuses and dictatorial tendencies of Bingu while at Comesa, they still made him a president.
Even when they were told about Muluzi’s ‘sugar scandals’ and ‘six pence scandals’, they still made him the president. Even when they knew that Kamuzu Banda was a mystery they hardly knew, they still called him a ‘saviour’ and made him a life president in 1971.
I don’t have a child yet. But I will have one. I don’t want to bequeath a Malawi always defined by absolute poverty to him/her just because I failed to make a critical and sober choice of today’s leadership.
I don’t want my future son/daughter to blame me that I bequeathed an ‘absolute poverty Malawi’ to them because I voted for somebody whose only leadership credential is being a professor or he was former president’s brother or because he rode on public transport with ‘us’.