APM, it is time to be Malawi Head of State: Do away with nepotism, appeasement

Being Head of State is a high pressure job. His Excellency Arthur Peter Mutharika  (APM) holds a high pressure position. He is Head of State and Government in Malawi. He became Head of State following national elections held in May 2014.Loose cannon

All those who aspire to take up the responsibility of serving a nation as president are well aware of the pressures that come with the job. Thus such people are well prepared for the challenges ahead.

Undoubtedly, when Malawians vote for a president, they ideally look for an individual who would lead by example; an ethical and moral person who would not be afraid to take a stand on questions of ethics or morality, on questions of behaviour, questions of decency, and questions of justice. These are some of the basic attributes that make a leader ‘complete’.

His Excellency Arthur Peter Mutharika holds that office on trust by the people of Malawi. Section 12 of the Constitution contains what are referred to as the fundamental principles of the Constitution. Sections12 (i), it is provided that:

All legal and political authority of the State derives from the people of Malawi and shall be exercised in accordance with this Constitution solely to serve and protect their interests;

(ii) All persons responsible for the exercise of powers of State do so on trust and shall only exercise such power to the extent of their lawful authority and in accordance with their responsibilities to the people of Malawi:

and (iii) The authority to exercise power of State is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only be maintained through open, accountable and transparent Government and informed democratic choice.

From these provisions, it is clear that in Malawi, the authority to govern or exercise the powers of State derives from the people. Further, the provisions emphasise the concept of trust in constitutional governance. The sustenance of trust as a precondition for the continued exercise of the powers of State buttresses the idea that the authority to govern derives from and rests on the consent of the governed.  Subsection (iii) then stresses the three overarching cornerstones of openness, representative democracy and accountability as the only means through which trust can be maintained.

Every time the President opens his mouth, he must ensure that he does so to meet the expectations of Malawians. His utterances and actions must be uniting and not divisive. President Peter Mutharika’s recent talk about an “MP from the north” is the worst thing that should ever come out of the mouth of a Head of State.

The President must endeavour to discharge his core constitutional duties, such as when appointing senior public officers, without regard to which party, tribe, region and religion he belongs to. Some of recent and previous important appointments of some top public officers have been made based on where the appointees come from or which party they belong to and not on merit.

Against the spirit of Public Sector Reforms that President Mutharika and his government are championing, the President recently appointed Justice Lloyd Muhara as Deputy Chief Secretary to Government. Do we really need a Deputy Chief Secretary when the economy is right on its knees?.

President Mutharika must work to balance the interests of all Malawians regardless of their political or tribal extraction. In the spirit of the Republican Constitution, the President must be in the forefront to tell Malawians the difference between right and wrong both through actions and utterances. As President of the country, President Mutharika must endeavour to be the catalyst for morally sound behaviour.

Our Head of State must demonstrate conviction and willpower to rid the public sector of corruption and fraud instead of waiting for foreign diplomats to point out such ills. President Mutharika’s recent admission about the existence of top level corruption is merely a drop in the ocean. He must demonstrate his commitment to root out official corruption and fraud by ensuring that the law takes its rightful course against the seven ‘rotten’ cabinet ministers that are allegedly implicated in the Malawi grand corruption scandal.

Mr. President, Malawians expect you to personally to intervene in daily power outages that are causing the rest of us inconvenience. Yes, you must intervene in saving us from the collapsing economy. Indeed, Malawians expect their government to provide easily accessible hospital services, and good schools. Government must protect us from violence and crime.

President Mutharika rode to power on the back of a promise that he would transform the way government worked in Malawi. He has not lived his promise, almost three years down the line. We still hear the same empty rhetoric about the fight against corruption; the same abuse of state resources; and utter nepotism in the appointment of senior public officers and distribution of national wealth.

The President must become the ‘genuine’ Head of State. That has to happen now.

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”- John F. Kennedy

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20 thoughts on “APM, it is time to be Malawi Head of State: Do away with nepotism, appeasement”

  1. MLOWOKA says:

    It is absolutely amazing that less than 4 million Northerners can render the overwhelming majority of the Lomwes,Chawas,Man’ganjas,Yaos and others,sleepless nights.Tribalisn and racism are one thing in nature,both are evil and messengers of hate.If Mgoloso thinks that Northerners are not Malawian citizens,then the Lomwes,Senas and Yaos can cross over to their fellow beings in Mozambique where they belong.We are tired of being marginalized by fellow citizens who also came from other places.It seems,however,government leaders who themselves are Southerners and Central Malawians,are backing their people behind scenes to divide the nation for their own political and economic gains.However,the overwhelming majority of the Southerners and their bedfellows from the Central Region,are largely unlettered that is why they are easily pushed into this dangerous path to the Tumbukas HOLOCAUST.The level of Tribalisn in Malawi has reached a dreadful dimensions which if left unchecked,the consequences would be catastrophically unbearable worse than Rwanda and Burundi and nobody will be spared in this carnage,so HELP US GOD!!!

  2. Winston Msowoya says:

    Mgoloso,Iam very positive that you are not a normal creature.In the first place,let you be informed that the Party that won independence for Malawi (MCP) was formed by Orton C.Chirwa QC.In the Commonwealth of Nations,there were only two QCs,the other one was a Nigerian,the African National Congress (ANC) was formed in 1944 and its first President was Levy Zililo Mumba from Ekwendeni in the North,Kanyama Chiume in his 20s was the first member of the Legislative Council with his dear friend Masauko Chipembere to represent Nyasalanders in the 50s,it was after Mumba that James Sangala took over the leadership of the ANC and lastly,TDT Banda from Nkhata Bay.So Mgoloso,must know that the Northerners played pivotal role in the freedom struggle of Nyasaland and that they had no time for Nyau or chasing Mbewa,we deserve respect.At independence,Banda appointed six Cabinet Ministers from the North alone viz: Orton Chirwa,Kanyama Chiume, Dunduzu Chisiza,Yatuta Chisiza,Mikeka Mkandawire,Rose Chiwambo.He new Northerners were brilliant people.I can assure the misguided tribalist Mgoloso that if the Northerners were in the government hitherto,Malawi could be the Jewel of Africa instead of the jungle of Africa.How about Chihana’s role in bringing the passion of multi-party struggle in Malawi? Jealousies will not take you anywhere apart from pushing our nation into regressive path.Another thing which makes you the loughing stock of Africa is your primitive and retarding culture of CHIKAMWINI.If Tumbukas can be Presidents in foreign lands like Zambia,one day whether you like or not,Tumbuka will rule you and you will love it you fool,you have destroyed our magnificent fatherland because of your illiteracy.SHAME!!!

  3. Thinktankmalawi says:

    The problem is the “the governed” don’t know what to expect of the people they put in office.An average malawian don’t even know power to govern is derived from them.As a result they can’t hold president accountable;to the contrary,they “kiss” his feet like some kind of messiah.How many cases of executive arrogance has this adminstration exhibited while the citezenry just sit “phwiii?”….When few people protest in the streets,you see others peeping through their office windows in amusement like some ‘crazy heads” are making noise on the streets.So you talk of arrogant,out of touch president?..Well,he is the product of dead citizenry….and he just walks over us as dead wood…..because we are to some extent.

  4. Mwananyanian says:

    reading between that lines, It is probably safe to say the writer is NOT a fan of APM, is NOT a supporter of DPP, is NOT from the South and is NOT a Mulhakho. Right? Right..
    If one replaces the “President” or “APM” in the essay, what is written is probably more applicable to Kamuzu, the paragon of Malawi nepotism; Muluzi and even Joisi Banda. The latter especially being accused, albeit silently, of favoring the North, even though she was only adopted there. It was then said, maybe with hyperbole, that the Northerners “high jacked” the government apparatus. True or not, that was the consensus on the street. And PP have damaged their stock in the south and center due that perception AND Cashgate.
    Perhaps, those who used to dominate, completely dominate, are just seeing their control slip a bit.
    Nobody should defend nefarious favoritism, like nepotism. But we should also consider political realities, and the past. It would be naive to not consider where the political support comes from, and what actions are needed to correct the past. The balance is tricky, and clearly not pleasurable to all observers.
    And how realistic is it to expect the President to “… PERSONALLY (my capitals) intervene in daily power outages …”? He should come to my house and magically turn the power on? Aaaaaaaa.
    I do, however, agree with the criticism that APM has been not been assertive enough in exercising his authority sometimes for the common good. Like many heads should have rolled by now in some of the quasi government bodies, like BWB and ESCOM. If an employee can’t deliver, all other reasons should be thrown out the window.
    APM lacks the experience of how a typical household lives in this country. Was ever a time he actually entered a grass thatched mud house in Kamoto Village? Or, as he drives to Ndata, his mind is already on the caviar dish on the table? Or on how good life was at Washington U? Maybe a 90 degree, not necessarily a 180 degree, turn is what is needed. Summoning Ntaba et al. stat.

  5. Winston Msowoya says:

    The PATRIOT,living 40 years in the U.S. does not make somebody a genius,what kind of a patriot are you? The Patriot,I think you are deeply in the shoes of Mathanyula that you have even lost your self-esteem.In fact,Peter did not live in the States for 40 years in the sense that he lived in Tanzania for several and several years in Ethiopia,the rest few years is when he lived in the US,so the Patriot narrative is totally misguided and bunkum.It is dolorous for Patriot to highlight Peter’s unreal credentials.He is not,I repeat not one of the most sophisticated Presidents In Malawi and Africa as a whole,in fact,he is the most unsophisticated and objurgate President Malawians have seen in 32 years of independence.Even when he was in Tanzania,as a Member of the Pan-African Democratic Party in exile led by one of the most respected leaders of our time Prof.Henry Boston Masauko Chipembere.He once told me that he had respect for Peter,but if it comes to leadership of our country,Chip said and I quote: “Peter is unfit”.Instead, recommended the late Pro.Dr.George Attati Mphakati the brightest Economist icon on the level of Dunduzu K.Chisiza the greatest Economist and respected Pan-Africanist Africa had ever produced.Du was brutally murdered by Banda’s ruthless killers at Nthondwe Bridge in 1962 while serving as Deputy Minister of Finance under a white expatriate who with his fellow expatriates,controlled the affairs of our government and Banda as their client.It is an open secret that Peter has totally failed to navigate the vessel and if we still believe in tribalism and nepotism the scourge of our nation,we are betraying our fallen heroes,our children,their children and the future generations.It is people like The Patriot,who support Mathanyula for their personal interests and we must ignore these idiots in order to self guard our decorum and national unity.GOD HELP US!!!!

  6. VYOTO says:

    @ 77 Years of age, the learned law professor is betrayed by his advanced age, it is worth to recall that when Kamuzu Banda reached such advanced stages, it was the John Tembos, Mama Kadzamiras who used to make bad but crucial presidential decisions through the back door, JZU could made decisions for some Cabinet Ministers not only to be fired but even killed!. Similarly, In our current case, the Professor President is no longer making decisions befitting a professor, due to his advanced age, most of the presidential decisions seem to be contaminated by the shallow thinking of the Charles Mchachas,Kaliatis, Kudontonis and the like.

    Evidence is there to show that Peter Muthalika just like his late kid brother Bingu Muthalika is too LOMWELIZED to be a Head of State….. amawonjeza!. The President forgets that we all pay taxes to MRA.

    Surely, Honorable Ministers, Atupele Muluzi, Goodall Gondwe and VP Saulosi Chilima can be as shocked and disappointed as everyone else if we to have a full list of the appointees by the Professor President in key Government positions and Embassies right from page 1 to page 20, it will be a Lomwe, a Lomwe….I always ask myself these three feel about such an open selfish and nepotistic system by the DPP led Government of the Muthalika Brand.

  7. Dada says:

    Count how many people he has removed from various top positions using the word “re-assigned” and bring in milakhos latest being MDF boss. We need explanation or reversal of such decisions. We are not pro-Joice Banda, she only found us already in civil service, sanakatitenge kumudzi and it was not out of favourtism

  8. Bibo says:

    Mr Thom Chumia, your understanding of the role of the president is well articulated and this role would be well celebrated by the subjects(Malawians) if civilized governance was in place.

    Unfortunately, Malawi has a system that exposes presidential aspirants prior to elections who speak good about what they would follow once in power for the betterment of the country, and promises sold to the unsuspecting electorate come from such aspirants’ deep-rooted convictions. Standing aside when presidential hopefuls are elaborating their manifestos, are vultures that have invested so much in the political game and that stand to lose.

    The understanding is that APM might have benevolent intentions for the country in his mind, but those surrounding him especially from his home area and areas close by, harbored and still do, evil intentions for the country. Only those who love their country and those who respect God would let a president follow the constitutional obligations and rule by respecting all tribes,races,and regions. The problem is our president,Arthur Peter Mutharika, was like an alien to Malawian politics after he came back from USA, and therefore, had to build his power on the political experience of those he found. Given APM’s passiveness, he has therefore, subjected himself to being a figurehead in decision making by those crowding his rule.

    Nothing special is expected from APM’s presidency because he has allowed a rotten system guide his policy making. He is playing second fiddle to the likes of Ben Phiri, Chaponda and others, at least behind the scenes.Within a short period of his presidency, APM has shown a vacuum of leadership; he is tolerant to corrupt practices in his party and government but is not tolerant to dissenting views from the opposition-this is not toughness but weak leadership and leadership without a vision. Malawi is suffering because of APM’s weakness to make proactive decisions against vices that are crippling Malawi’s progress.The president is mute on important issues but vocal on useless issues, isn’t that a dangerous path for our country?

  9. Thako Panja says:

    Thom Chiumia for the Next President of Malawi. He has more knowledge than the current president, he is very intelligent and a genius. He will surround himself with very intelligent Tumbukas and will be operating from the UK. Malawi will surely be a better place.

  10. Achimidzimidzi says:

    I do agree with you Thom, our president needs to act but trust me we have a very big problem here. People who are stealing, are in government and they are the same people to prosecute themselves.

    Absolutely IMPOSSSIBBBLLEE. What you are saying is wishful thinking.

  11. Costly Gochisale says:

    The worst president in Malawi’s 52 years of history

  12. Zoona says:

    The only statement that my fellow friend The Patriot has written in your article is “Northerners cannot be trusted”

    1. mgoloso says:

      Northerners MUST forget ruling Malawi as President at any point (Fact). There is NO way someone from Centre or South could vote for someone from the North to rule this country.

    2. mgoloso says:

      No way can Malawians vote for a Northerner to rule this country – you can take it or not, it does not matter BUT this is a clear fact – whether you like it or not

    3. mgoloso says:

      Tagawanapo basi – lets accept it

    4. mgoloso says:

      Chihana tried it and miserably flopped – who else in the north is of same/similar/equal/more caliber as Chakufwa in the north? – be frank to yourself.

  13. The Patriot says:

    APM appears to be a good person, a learned man of integrity and having spent 40 years in the USA , he undoubtedly is one of the most sophiscated Presidents in Malawi and even Africa as a whole. But the problem is the people surrounding him, especially the Mulhakoism! Here is a whole tribe pressuring their kinsman that they deserve all Board positions, ambassadorial positions, parastatal head positions and anything that moves. Like vultures the President’s men and women are pouncing on Malawi and eating its fresh even before the country is not yet dead! The people surrounding our dear president would like him to believe that without them , he is nothing! They feed him on a hatred diet of “Northerners cannot be trusted” for breakfast, “Mulhako deserves all positions” for lunch and “thou shall throw mud at opposition” for dinner! I pity this 76 year old man, who knows how to do right( if the reforms and manifesto are anything to go by), but the tribalists surrounding him are so drunk with power that they cannot see beyond gheir tribe and unsatiable appetite for power and materialism!!Shame!!!

    1. phiri says:

      Well said Mr Patriot. Can agree more!!!

    2. Ida says:

      The Patriot you are 100% wrong. Peter himself is very dull and a daft. And the people around him are very clever and use him to their advantage. They simply take advantage of his dullness basi. All this is happening becoz Matanyula is a confused man, he does not know what to do and not to. He relies on his kinsman for everything, he can’t make a decision on his own. Words fail me, the guy is just USELESS. He is a headless chicken going round in circles without any real direction. Even if I was one of his kinsman, I would also use him to my benefit.

    3. If he can’t control them then he is not worthy a president. Period!

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