“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ Or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours” –Zig Ziglar
Allan Ntata is a street-smart guy – suave, sharp, creative, everything that makes a guy ‘a man about town’. The guy dabbled into film-making the other year but his real creativity came to the fore when he took to social media to campaign for his dear party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
If there is a guy who put social media to good use in the run up to the 2014 elections it was Ntata. Using creative aliases, Ntata used any available art form – be it music, video or prose – to beat up all those who stood in the way of his dear party’s one-way ticket back to State House.
After a brief hiatus, the lawyer-cum-political strategist is back on social media, this time as a guy with a lot of issue on his mind and lots of scores to settle. If you are not a social media buff, Ntata’s first bomb on Facebook was to complain loudly that one or two individuals he did not name have ‘ring-fenced’ President Peter Mutharika.
In brief he said the cabal around Peter is keeping away all those who fought hard to put him in power.
Like during the campaign, Ntata seems unstoppable. While the dust from the first bomb was yet to settle here came the guy ‘spilling the beans’ on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the infamous ‘Mid Night Six’ during those ‘three mad days in April’.
While he did not exactly tell us anything we do not already know, what Ntata succeeded in doing was to confirm that – despite other quarters dismissing the subsequent treason charges as ‘stupid’– those who participated in those nocturnal conclaves were up to no good.
Being President Bingu wa Mutharika legal aide, Ntata said he and the government legal team were tasked “to look at how the Vice President (Joyce Banda) could be prevented from taking over”. Perhaps to cover his own back, Ntata cleverly stated that the legal minds told the then Justice Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume – who, according to Ntata, “repeatedly advised that we were to use any means necessary” – that “we were not going to do anything illegal”.
Ntata also delved into the controversial proposed sale of the troubled Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), stingingly accusing authorities of sugar-coating “selfish motives” to hoodwink Malawians that the sale was beneficial to the bank. He alleged that “a few individuals” and “a tribe at the pinnacle of power” were conspiring to “rob Malawians of their asset”.
He went on to dub President Mutharika as a “puppet”. “You know you’re dealing with a puppet,” asserted Ntata, “when every time you try to say something (you’re answered) ‘talk to my assistant’.”
Now this is toxic stuff especially coming from a self-confessed DPP die-hard. And he warned: there is more from whence this is coming!
Shah! I would be worried, very very worried, if I were a DPP strategist. The DPP will dismiss or ignore this guy at its own peril.
Let us interrogate a few things in Ntata’s controversial narrative. First, what is the motive behind this exposé? Why now? Is Ntata only exercising his right to freedom of expression or these are rantings of an ambitious but frustrated young man?
A bit of both, if you ask the Muckraker. Look, Ntata was close to the seat of power. He was one of the most trusted aides of the first President Mutharika. So when the Big Kahuna suddenly dropped dead his life crumbled around him.
In what some may call an act of betrayal or sheer cowardice, Ntata unexpectedly skipped the borders even before the body of his boss was interred. Ok, it may be just a coincidence that his PhD studies coincided with Bingu’s death but could his university not understand if he asked it to delay his enrolment for a few weeks to bury his dear boss? Death is death, as John Tembo famously said; surely the respect surrounding death – especially that of a president – should be the same whether you are black or white.
Ok, maybe the doctoral studies could not be put off for a few weeks. But was it also just a coincidence that Ntata came back at the heat of the campaign and stayed on when the DPP snatched the State House keys from Joyce Banda?
Ntata campaigned heavily for Peter and the DPP. He chose a platform that is popular with the youth, those crucial first time voters. Of course, the majority of Malawians are rural based where telephony penetration is minimal but still a significant number of Malawians are on social media nowadays.
So was Ntata looking for a reward of some kind? He will tell you a straight ‘no’ if you ask him. He says he is comfortable with whatever he is doing. But his own writings kind of betray him. Sample this: “Many talented and capable young men and women,” he writes, “led the DPP push to power. These need to be given an opportunity to now utilise their talents in promoting national development agenda.” To put it in plain English, Ntata is subtly saying, “These talented and capable young men and women need to be given government jobs!”
He may argue he is not talking about himself but you must be living in la-la land to believe that balderdash.
Of course it is not a crime to expect a slice of the national cake but we must be frank about it.
Be wary of the loose canon
But, like I said earlier, it will be foolhardy for the DPP to dismiss Ntata as a frustrated young man seeking attention, favours or sympathy. Ntata may have the verve and platform to air out his frustrations. But there could be a million others within the DPP who are suffering in silence.
For such toxic stuff to come from someone who ate and drank DPP it is indicative that not all is well in the governing party. The DPP must take a hard look at itself and amend things before these fissures reach the breaking point.
Ntata’s coming out now, while embarrassing, may be a blessing in disguise for there is still time for the party to correct things. While I do not advocate abusing tax-payers’ money by doling out government jobs to party cadres, giving an ear to such disgruntled fellas may do the trick.
One of the issues Ntata is wailing about is that a cabal that is surrounding the seat of power have ring-fenced Peter. While the President cannot give audiences to each and every Muckraker, over-protecting him may sometimes be dangerous for he will be made to live in an ivory tower where he only hears one voice – his own.
Like Ntata has rightly observed, Malawians gave the DPP a second chance because it promised not to be a re-incarnation of the toxic DPP of old. The Big Kahuna lost his marbles because he arrogantly refused to listen to the voice of reason.
It may have been Bingu’s own arrogance that closed his ears with wool. The new guy must be helped to learn from his big brother’s mistakes.
The surest way Peter can learn how not to be Bingu is to listen to everyone, even the supposedly mad ones for do we not say in Chichewa ‘Wamisala adaona nkhondo’? As Max Ehrmann rightly puts it in ‘Desiderata’, “Listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :