Give Mutharika the respect he deserves as Malawi leader

On May 1, 2017, Malawian workers joined their colleagues across the world to commemorate International Labour Day. Main commemoration activities in Malawi took place at the Kamuzu Upper Stadium.

President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika was Guest of Honour. Minister of Labour, Manpower Development, Youth and Sports, Henry Mussa and other high-profile guests from government and the private sector, including the labour movement, were there too. It was an extremely colourful event by any measure if what I watched on recorded video clips is anything to go by.

One important aspect of the Labour Day celebrations in Blantyre was the consensus by labour movement leaders and other speakers on the need to improve the plight of workers in Malawi. Labour movement leaders passionate plea to the Head of State and his administration to intervene and rescue workers from exploitation was met with positive response from President Mutharika.

It was apparent that all speakers agreed that improvement of employment conditions was paramount in order to motivate workers to ensure real economic development in Malawi.

Indeed, it was generally agreed that work conditions must improve in order to increase output, and simultaneously to bring pride of workmanship to people.  Employees will generally bring less energy to their jobs if they lack motivation and their time will be worthless. As productivity declines, the business’ growth could suffer, they said.

The issue of improvement of the minimum wage also took centre stage. The current K687.70 per day minimum wage is indeed dangerously on the lower side considering that the cost of living is extremely high.

It is heartening President Mutharika pledged that his government would seriously work on improving this status quo. I believe the President and his administration will walk the talk on the extremely emotive matter. It is indeed about life and death for the workers in Malawi.

The disparities in salaries and wages are also another important matter that the President and his administration must seriously be addressing.

The issue of the leaked First Merchant Bank (FMB) payroll immediately comes to mind. I am glad the President noted that there are some foreign employers who exploit Malawians and warned that stern action would be taken against such exploiters.

Workers’ heckle

There were isolated unfortunate and ugly scenes where ‘workers’ heckled and booed the President for reasons best known to them during National Labour Day commemoration event in Blantyre. These scenes were uncalled for and retrogressive.

Instead of ‘playing politics’, the presence of the Head of State at this important gathering was a rare opportunity for the ‘workers’ through the labour movement leadership to seriously articulate their aspirations and demands in an organized fashion. This was an opportunity to engage the Head of State in a serious dialogue, presenting all the burning grievances in a respectful and mature manner.

From the President’s speech, it is obvious he listened to what the labour movement leadership said as regards the plight of workers in Malawi with keen interest.

It is therefore blatant and sheer disrespect for the Head of State to subject him to heckle and boos when he made time, from his ever-busy schedule, to celebrate with the workers on their important day.

Whatever their motivation of the booing ‘workers’ was, it must be put in clear terms here that there is nothing tangible that they would achieve through employing unconventional bargaining tactics. As one Bakili Muluzi put it the other day, “government is serious business” and this therefore calls for workers to systematically engage government (and the Head of State) to find amicable solutions to the many challenges that they face.

It is an open secret that government is the biggest employer and as such disenfranchising government let alone the head of that government is an exercise in futility.

The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) must publicly reprimand the concerned ‘workers’ for such unbecoming conduct. It is simply unacceptable and an abuse of freedom of speech and association.

The worst thing about that unfortunate conduct is that it attracted retaliatory action from the DPP cadets, who could not sit back and let their leader insulted in public. The situation nearly degenerated into anarchy. The last thing Malawians would want to see and experience at the National Labour Day commemoration event is bloodshed. We’re renowned for our peaceful co-existence and let politics not change our history!

God bless President Mutharika and God bless Malawi !

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower 

 

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Chigwere Pa Euthini
Guest

Mr Chiumia!The other day the Vice President[Chilima] plainly put it that we must stop this habit of hand clapping anything.This booing and other form of protest happens everywhere……ask Zuma,Obama & many other leaders have faced this many times.Kodi mumafuna ma president aku Malawi kuno tiziwalemekeza motani?This nosense must stop.

Peace
Guest

Chiumia, if you have good reasons to respect a person, please do so. Fearing and respecting someone are two different things. Most of us fear him. Ask yourself, macadets amazachita chani? I am not against those who love and respect him. In the same way, those who dont, are not to be blammed. One earns respect by ones actions. How can cocroaches respect a person?

Trendex
Guest

“TIT FOR TAT IS A FAIR GAME.” IF HE CAN’T RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS, WHY SHOULD WE WASTE TIME RESPECTING HIM?

kazionele Wanunkha
Guest

Chiumia, your comment is strait forward, detailed but people tend to ignore the message deliberately.
we are failing to develop our country because of hatred. Even the way people write comments, shows that they writing with the influence of ignorant.
I congratulate you to be the first reporter who know what you are doing. This is the quality of reporter we are looking in Malawi. If things are good, say they are good. if bad as well say they are bad. Do not write story with hatred because you show your side.

Mulenga
Guest

Respect is earned and not gained. The president cannot please everyone in this nation. So whether he was booed at or not that is what you should learn as a person. Whether in the family,church,village wherever there are several individuals expect different views. So learn to face such challenges.

winston msowoya
Guest

You do not ask for respect,but you earn respect through your integrity.Why should people of Malawi give respect to Muthalika while he does not respect himself.What does Chiumia intend to get from Muthalika? Peter does not respect Malawians,why should he expect Malawians to give him respect? For instance,when Malawians were complaining about food shortages,he told them disrespectfully that they could aswell eat MICE and GRASSHOPPERS,is that respect accorded to your voters? COMEON CHIUMIA,GET YOUR SENSES BACK!!!!!!!

Ngalamayi
Guest
In a true democracy, leaders EARN respect by their actions: they are not automatically entitled to it. What has APM done to earn respect? He’s good at the talk, but when it comes to walk, we usually see nothing. If anyone criticises him, they are accused of being negative. What other voice did those workers have except to heckle and boo? APM needs to know he is not loved and respected. Maybe then he would stop protecting sacred cows from grazing off the hard work of those hecklers. Read George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’: the Kamuzu banned it because he realised… Read more »
mwarimu
Guest

Ulemu sapempha. Too much of lip service without any tangible solution. Anthu sagulila sugar Mau but money. There is nothing wrong in booing ngati munthu akupanga zopoila. Zuma was also booed so this is not news. Let the president deliver and all this booing will not be there

Chimanga
Guest

One earns respect….. never asks for it. Did you want the people to clap for what was obviously erroneous? Keep quiet when you know someone is being sarcastic? Ask Zuma before you complain about this.

M Sizini
Guest
Mr Chiumia, you say that ‘It was apparent that all speakers agreed that improvement of employment conditions was paramount in order to motivate workers to ensure real economic development in Malawi.’ One question arising is this: what needs to be done in order to motivate presidents to ensure real economic development in Malawi? This is a serious question. As successive presidents have failed to ensure real economic development, what can we do to make them try harder in future? How might we reward them for success? Should we punish them for failure? Should they be required to sign some kind… Read more »
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