“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.
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!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :