I am sorry you missed it but President Peter Mutharika was on terrific form and did your country proud at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week.
Here was a leader in his enchanting element; chairing crucial sessions, articulating his vision, deconstructing the challenges, provoking thought, challenging responses, proposing solutions and taking in suggestions. My non-Malawians colleagues were spellbound by watching him in action they told me that—if the President stuck to his word and operationalized his grand plans—then there was hope yetfor the future of the country.
Butif the country is going to make any progress on this long road to recovery, it needs to change its national psyche.
Judging by the endless inane bartering from some quarters in Malawi, there are still some people who find the idea of Peter Mutharika as president of this country appalling. They wake each morning snarling with anger, call the president a puppet, fire off a few spiteful comments on social media and go about their miserable lives consumed by envy and hatred. We should probably feel sorry for them, by why bother?
I laughed at the the viciousness and banality of their comments during the commemoration of his incarceration at Lumbadzi Police Station and Maula Prison in March this year.That it wasn’t so much about painting the walls blue or writing on them, but the symbolism of it, was conveniently missed.
The truth is that his arrest on treason charges changed the President’s life completely. Not only had he to fight for his rights, he also vowed never to arrest anyone for political expediency. What it did was to transform his entire attitude as a leader and as a man. By writing on that wall, President Mutharika was signing a deal with Malawi that he wold not endanger anyone’s freedoms simply because they were his political opponent.
Many of you will be puzzled at this point. Isn’t this the same Idriss Ali Nassah who once wrote that Peter Mutharika hadn’t shown any leadership during his long tenure as minister? Yes it is. And in my defence I will say I am no donkey with a fatalistic fixation on a singular definitive narrative. People change, situations evolve, circumstances differ and smart people recognize that.
The problem we have, sometimes, is that most people are inelastic and are not prepared to reconcile their minds to changing facts; they are terrified of confronting the fact that there is a reality outside of them.
I have to admit that with adroit management, Peter Mutharika is turning out to be quite a stable hand at the presidency. This is an opportunity to transform Malawi and run the country on sound business principles, once again. The best thing that Mutharika said last week was that he was in the job knowing fully well that it was public service and not a huge party at taxpayer’s expense.
That a country as skint as ours allowed a few select loonies to raid the national coffers at will tells you that we were sitting with rotting fish and that things were going to go really badly and steadily worse. The financial woes caused by Cashgate should send shivers down the spine of anyone who has the slightest understanding of the wider ramifications. Tax money that should have improved the lives of millions of people was either frittered away or it disappeared into the bank accounts of the party faithful. That sort of thing should only be allowed to happen in banana republics.
Apart from the criminality of it, there is also the collateral damage to consider. Since there was no money to buy drugs, for example, it’s a fair assumption that people died in hospitals as a result. I don’t know about you but that is not the sort of society I want to live in.
The most vivid contrast between then and now is that President Mutharika has done well to put a stop to delusions that there is more money in Malawi than there really is. Malawians now need to understand that the money to buy those goats and bags of maize and bicycles and whatever else they were given for free each day during those two years of plenty didn’t come out of thin air.
Unfortunately, as with all good parties, there is always the morning-after hangover and Peter Mutharika has to deal with that now.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :