I was shocked to hear President Arthur Peter Mutharika feeding the nation with a sumptuous diet of lies during the consecration of the new Mzuzu Diocese Bishop last Saturday.
Rather than concentrate on preaching peace and unity among Malawians, the president completely lost himself and was busy telling the nation that he survived five assassination attempts. Of course, he did not mention the names of the people who tried to kill him but we are not young, we all know from what he has said in the past who he was referring to.
By making a hate speech at such an occasion, the president not only spoilt the function, he also degraded himself in the eyes of right thinking people. The president should by now have graduated from churning out partisan and hate politics to propagating a narrative that portrays himself, his party and government as entities that are focused on developing this poor country. When hate statements are made by the leader of the country, they are a dangerous recipe for hatred. The president should leave hate speeches to savages who have nothing better to say because they have nothing of substance in their brains. Is it not surprising that someone tries to kill you and then you dont report it to police?
APM has a daunting task of fulfilling the promises that his party made during the campaign period as outlined in his party’s manifesto. Hunger, disease, rampant drug pilferage, rising cases of armed robbery, corruption, fraud, lack of classroom blocks, students failing to enroll for university education, worsening power outages, perpetual shortage of water in the cities, low wages for civil servants (which are paid late), unhappy teachers perpetually threatening to stage a sit-in, dwindling purchasing power, a shrinking private sector, to mention but a few, are some of the issues that should have been exercising the mind of a president with an agenda of developing this country.
APM should not feel great and triumphant when some party zealots cheer at everything he says during his political rallies. When they do that he should know that many millions of Malawians listening to him feel embarrassed including some who are genuine Democratic Progressive Party supporters and wish he could avoid politicking over serious issues that demand total sobriety and sanity.
APM should by now have started promoting intra- as well as inter-party democracy which come with divorcing oneself from partisan politics.
In case APM is sitting on his laurels because of what is happening in the Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) rank and file, developments in MCP should actually jolt him out of his comfort zone. Far from weakening the party the infighting in the opposition parties will eventually strengthen them. Having to deal with issues about leadership, authority, rules, responsibilities, structure, evaluation criteria and reward systems rocking these parties is a normal storming process—as Bruce Tuckman would call them—after the parties failed in the 2014 elections. What is important for now is for the leadership in these parties to do a thorough SWOT analysis and renovate. The re-engineering and repositioning is exactly what MCP needs so that it can get stronger.
And that is what should be worrying the ruling party. The response from APM and the ruling party should have been to busy themselves doing the needful—implementing policies that reduce poverty and improve people’s livelihoods.
APM ought to be worried that the country is now at its lowest ebb economically, and all this is happening on his watch. Malawi is only better than war-torn Somalia and Niger economically with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $225. And all eyes are on him and his government for this state of hopelessness in the country.
The teething poverty in the country is what any visionary and caring leader ought to be paying attention to rather than trying to seek cheap sympathy from the people by saying he has been hunted like a wild animal. The president will not get such sympathy from the people. n