‘Diplomatic snafu’: Muckraking on ‘Mugabe idiot’

“Sometimes working to consolidate the interest of your country demands that you renounce your personal views” –Dr. Brave Rona Ndisale

For some reason I have started liking George Chaponda. You see, every time he opens his mouth the Yale-trained lawyer says something interesting, if not outright wacky. I do not want to remind you of his classic ‘farting in public’ little gaffe.

Thoko Banda: Stood by his 'Mugabe idiot' remarks

Thoko Banda: Stood by his ‘Mugabe idiot’ remarks

Look, Chaponda’s statement in reaction to the Thoko Banda diplomatic snafu could have been hilarious were it not tragic. It was our chief diplomat’s considered view that if President Peter Mutharika was aware that Thoko had once called the 90-year-old despot who has been lording over affairs in Zimbabwe since 1980 an ‘idiot’ he  could not have appointed him as our face in Harare.

What load of executive crap is that! Is good ol’ George trying to tell us that the President just apportions people various positions at the drop of the hat without doing a simple background check? Or, better still, does he not consult the appointees?

It was actually Chaponda’s job to check out Thoko’s closet for any embarrassing skeletons before embarrassing the old man. Why else are we paying Nicholas Dausi if not for him and his band of sleuths to keep dossiers of ‘persons of interest’?

I will come back to the folly of appointing people willy-nilly a little bit later.

But let us interrogate Thoko’s interesting situation first. I must say I am proud Thoko has been principled enough to stand by his decade-old ‘idiot’ remarks. If Thoko were a desperate politician looking for a cheap government job he could have disowned his own remarks and said the German magazine misquoted him. He could have even said nobody from The Foreigner ever talked to him.

But not our Thoko; he told the world, “I’m not a guy to hold back his views.”

The Muckraker doffs his hat to Thoko. Aleke, my favourite Malawian politician, must be proud of his son wherever he is.

But, unfortunately, I have to warn President Mutharika against sending Thoko anywhere in the world as a diplomat for a free-speaking fella is never material for diplomacy. If Peter has to give Thoko a public job, let him make him chairman for the Malawi Human Rights Commission so that when Capital Hill or Area 30 victimise the Muckraker for his views Thoko should stand up for him regardless of who appointed him.

Once again, I am glad Thoko stood by his ‘idiot’ remarks. If he thought Robert Mugabe was an ‘idiot’ when he was an activist back in 2004, Uncle Bob should not suddenly turn into a ‘Mandela’ in 2014 just because Thoko wants to be a diplomat in Mosi oTunya.

So, it is kudos to Thoko for standing up to principles regardless of the price he has to pay.

Which brings me back to where we begun…

Just how do our leaders wake up and appoint people to jobs without consulting them? Do they think we are supposed to be readily grateful to get a hackneyed letter, “It has pleased His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi to appoint the Muckraker to become so and so…”?

Well, we all want a piece of the action; we all want a portion of the national cake. But, hey, a courtesy call from State House to say, “Hey, Mr. Muckraker, I was wondering if you would like to serve your great nation as…” may help.

Look, I knew Thoko’s sometimes disjointed, if not confused, forays into politics pointed to a guy who was eyeing a public job somewhere, anywhere. Look, he came in supporting Atupele Muluzi, then he tantalised himself he was presidential material before deriding his own mother-in-law in his frantic endorsement of Peter’s candidacy.

What was difficult for Peter to tell Thoko, “Young man (well, at 50 Thoko is not exactly young!) Look, I know Brussels may be too big for you but I want to try you in Harare.”

Thoko could have told Peter, “Your Excellency, thanks, but no, thanks; I can’t serve under that idiot!”

If Chaponda and Dausi did not do their job in vetting him, Thoko himself could have told the President the Zimbabwean ruthless intelligence could not have missed his ‘idiot’ remarks. Peter could have shipped him to Lusaka or Maputo, even Pretoria or Nairobi or Dodoma.

Look now, Peter has been left with egg all over his face. He cannot now assign Thoko anywhere for any capital he is sent to may be wary what the acerbic diplomat might say about their leader. After all, we have a fair share of idiotic leaders around.

Moral of the story: consult before making appointments lest you make a fool of your executive self!

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33 thoughts on “‘Diplomatic snafu’: Muckraking on ‘Mugabe idiot’”

  1. Bongololo says:

    O’Tenthani, I like you, but you need to slow it down a notch! Making this nut-case chairman of Human Rights Commission means ignoring that this little man has denied his own daughter her right to know her mother when she was growing up. It also means that this asshole (frankly, I have no kind words for him) has denied his ex-wife her right to know and help raise her little girl and the natural mother-daughter love that comes along. So, how can you, the self declared Muckracker, make such a horrendous mistake in suggesting a man that has abused the rights of his own family could better be suited for the position of safe guarding the rights of the nation? Is he honestly better than the guy he labeled an “idiot”? I doubt that very much!

    But you are indeed right that Mutharika did not look carefully into Thoko’s closet for skeletons. But in making that opinion you sir failed to examine Thoko’s life and essentially made the exact same mistake. Shame on you!

  2. Khadeja Mwima says:

    mwina akasambeko a Viyazyi kuluzaku sindikudziwa kuti zikanamuthera bwanji akanapanda kumupatsa udindo umenewu. Koma anyamata apa NE mumasambadi mtere bola osakakhwimilanso udindowo bale wanu wina kumeneko

  3. sebeleza says:

    so u r tryin 2 make gabriel angelic! despite the name he remains what thoko calls him, a brute, autocratic, be reminded his citizenry lived at the mercy of mother nature very recently

  4. John says:


  5. Shaaz says:

    What kind of muckracking is this? This man Banda is an embarrassment to Malawi as a whole. Surely, no capital in Africa let alone Europe would welcome such a dumb squib to their countries. He is mad!

  6. nachisale says:

    Ku Mozambique kukupita Vyazi, koma imagine anali primary school teacher. Zili bwino pamenepa?

    1. Mr.Bambo says:

      Diplamatic Mission appointments Malawi style.Kkkkk surely Viyazhi not as an Ambassador but maybe as a political attachee.

  7. Mdzukuru says:

    Too bad Thoko I agree let APM give you chairman of HUman Rights COmm

  8. Clueless says:

    In this day and age, you do not need a sophisticated machinery to do background checks. All they had to do was to Google Thoko Banda and walaaaah!!! ………. Embarrassment avoided! Simple.

  9. Kabunduli edundu says:

    Try him there not there

  10. Edundu mtwalo says:

    Good advise

  11. True we have a fair share of idiotic leaders, anthu anapanga dala kufuna kuthana ndi mwanayu, chaponda ndi woyipa koopswa.

  12. Kristof says:

    Still talking about this psychopath Thoko Banda……. Really??? come on people!!!

  13. Plato says:

    So Thoko & the nation through the foolish MBC shall get another press release with the following word ” It has displeased His Excellency Prof. Apa Pali Mavuto (APM) to reverse his offer to Thoko to be a diplomat to Zimbabwe on the grounds that he called that country’s president an idiot. The President is saddened by the unsavoury remarks which were said by the ambassador designate. The President wishes to apologise to the nation for acting ignorantly on the same. Next time the President shall act with due delligence & prudence. Thank you all Malawians.” Basi kanyimbo ka Mulhako wa a Lomwe.

  14. Tukombo says:

    Old news!!!

  15. Asylee says:

    Thoko Banda is done. Why are will still talking about him???? Lets talk about real serious issues affecting Malawi right now.

    1. YOKWIYA says:

      Serous issues affecting Malawi are:
      -the stolen elections
      -the run away Kwacha
      -the rising & rising of fuel pump price
      -the rise in cost of living
      -delays in cash gate cases
      -on going debate on federation
      -the non preforming president
      How do we tackle these issues one by one?

  16. Habitual Asylee says:

    Thoko Banda was trying to please the white man so he could be granted asylum. He is very calculating, so Raphel please don’t be trapped into Thoko’s mind set. I really respect you as a journalist but please dont be drawn to this charlatan and cheerleading for him, otherwise you will find yourself in the same boat.

  17. wafika says:

    It is Governments duty to check someones background. Ask Dausi how he was doing it during the Kamuzu era. He went to the extent of finding out and following all the relations. What is wrong bambo Dausi to expose our country and its leadership to this mess. It is total failure of the presidency and the country. Napepe APM

  18. Zondiwe says:

    Let us leave Comrade Mugabe alone.
    Thoko Banda’s exile to Germany had nothing to do with President Mugabe or even Zimbabwe. Thoko was not even our ambassador to Zimbabwe. How does the Presidency of Zimbabwe feature into Thoko’s interview?
    It just shows that Thoko was assigned a diplomatic post because he was AKB’s son, and did not deserve the posting in his own right.
    Comrade Mugabe is in charge of a much larger country than ours. Leave him alone.
    Because of Thoko’s naivete, he has ruled himself out of diplomacy. He was in the wrong place as one cannot pick and choose in diplomacy. Ask the diplomats in Malawi.

  19. ndangodutsa chisale says:

    Presidents in Malawi are vested with a lot of authority. From Kamuzu to Moya jnr we have worshipped them. No wonder they use executive arrogance in executing their authority. How can the whole president appoint without consulting? Remember the Nampota issue?? We need to trim presidential powers as APM himself has repeated on a number of times.

  20. Tukombo says:

    I think as a nation we have more important issues to talk about than dwell on this charlatan of Thoko Banda. Lets move on. Lets talk about the fast depreciating currency. The price of basic commodities, unbearable living conditions etc etc. we have bigger fish to fry than worry about self-serving individuals. ….lets move on PLEASE!!!!!!

    1. kwiputi says:

      It is not Thoko who is at issue but the educated prof Who is running govt worse than uneducated Muluzi. He has no respect for systems.

  21. Makwasa says:

    Raphael, you are giving Thoko way too much credit. Remember he discredited the interview. He said words were put in his mouth???? Please dig deeper and find out why he gave that interview in the first place!

  22. pierra says:

    I think what we have here, is that the people in high office surrounding and advising the President are: 1] not consulted about the appointments, 2] not empowered enough to challenge due process on names that the President offers, or 3] the President does not give a hoot about what the due diligence panel thinks or uncovers, 4] aware that the President elects his own friends and are unwilling to upset the process pattern for fear of reprisals and/or falling out of favour.

    Surely, you would expect that in least, there is a discussion with the named candidate to find out if there is anything they need to know worthy of contention or embarrassment about the appointment. This would eliminate the need for diplomatic apology for the embarrassment caused such nominations.

  23. Zale P says:

    Views presented by Thoko Banda in 2006 to a German paper were open and subject to debabe and were not definitive,prescriptive or conclusive but was just a mere suggestion that should be debated on by Zimbabweans

  24. kukukuki says:

    Much as I do like Aleke and his family for what have achieved and done for our country but not this boy called Thoko. He is making a name in silly environment. tell I hate him

    1. Chilimba says:

      He is not a boy he is a 50 year old Matchona who is vertically challenged (short) with a serious napoleonic syndrome

  25. Dick says:

    Raphael, I cant serve under that idiot!!! keep it up!! Good story

  26. mwewo woyiba says:

    thoko is an idiot himself if not a stooge for the whites
    comrade Mugabe is the bravest leader in Africa. only kamuzu could match his standards. if you want money from the selfish and greedy whites through your stupid comments just say so. look at the way the west are destroying our economy in the name of merciless devaluation.

  27. DC says:

    Where is the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in these diplomatic appointments. Things are really in a mess. Who is fooling who?

  28. Malawiana says:

    Here we dont do background check or consultations before appointment. If you are a Lomwe , whether genuine or claimed as Thoko did, you deserve a position and you are bound to accept it!

    1. Clueless says:

      That is what this administration call ” appointment by merit” it is based on where you come from and who recommends your name to APM.kikikikikikikiki, vetting, background checks for later!

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