Every country deserves its leaders: The case of Malawi

Strange things happen in Malawi. If Malawi was a movie, I know it would not have been from Hollywood. Maybe an inexperienced and an untalented Nollywood writer could have written something like that; perhaps Smart Likhaya Mbewe could have made it up for his MBC Kapalepale program.  The movie would have been so uncreative and so unrealistic that nobody would have bothered to go to a theatre to watch it.

It seems this country’s politicians have majored in performing below expectations.

The much-celebrated new leader of MCP has appointed a new National Executive Committee.  Lazarus Chakwera was to be the breath of fresh air in Malawi politics. He was the enlightened and visionary leader for whom Malawians had been waiting for a long time.

Unfortunately, Dr Chakwera seems to have failed the first test of leadership. He has appointed a NEC with no woman in the top 4 positions. The highest-ranking woman in the committee is a spokesperson. Ironically, she happens to be the most qualified of all the committee.

Chakwera appoints MCP executive members

Chakwera appoints MCP executive members

There are some things you just do not do as a leader in 2013. You cannot appoint a party committee without women in it. Every political party in the country knows and understands this principle. This is not about affirmative action. Party leadership is not such a complicated task that only few people are qualified to do. The only way you do not have women in a national party’s NEC is if you are specifically avoiding them.

The fact that the new MCP leader did not see this as an issue may be an indication that Chakwera is not ready for prime time, after all. What a huge disappointment he has turned out to be!

Across the political isle, even more disturbing things are happening. Malawi is experiencing the worst corruption and broad day robbery of   taxpayers’ resources in history.  The leadership of the country has lost control. Law and order have broken down.  Huge sums of cash are being found in government officials’ houses and vehicles.  And they cannot explain how they got that money; except we know that these people work very close to the nation’s coffers.

One individual from the same office was shot, in what seemed to be an attempt to silence him. His attackers had courage to put online a detailed description of the victim’s itinerary that night; a sign that they had been following him and that this was a premeditated murderous attempt.

In spite of all this chaos, the minister responsible for finance does not see a need to resign.  And while all this implosion was going on, the president decided to disappear from the country for a month to do that important task of delivering a speech at the UN; a speech nobody remembered 1 minute after it was over.

Just like Chakwera, Joyce Banda was held by many as a glimmer of hope. When former President Bingu wa Mutharika died, there were some muted celebrations in some quarters within the country and also in the diplomatic corps circles. We were told that the nation would now be on a path to quick recovery. After all, Joyce Banda had sold the presidential plane as demanded by the British. The media started talking of “aid taps” which were supposed to be flowing into the country.  Things were supposed to be getting better and better. What a difference one and half years make it politics!

Oh before I forget …..

Malawi cabinet has now been dissolved. If history is anything to go by all ministers, except one or two, will be hired back. The two, who will be dropped, will be rewarded with huge diplomatic posts.  And the rest of the citizenry will go back to their favorite game of pretending that everything is ok in Malawi.

At some point Malawians will have to stand in front of the mirror. The kind of leaders we elect speak a lot about the nation’s values and intellect.

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