“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” –Albert Einstein
Today let us briefly talk about how we are embarrassingly trying to do the same things that never worked before and somehow we would like to hope that they will work now.
But, first, allow me to be gentle with my dear president.
Look, sometimes I feel for Peter. I know the old man will always be – unfairly, I must quickly add – be judged on his big brother’s eccentric record.
I know if cops gun down four thugs trying to rob a service station in Lilongwe, we will always jump, “Hokoyo! Take cover! Bingu’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy is back in town!”
If government raises the middle finger to whoever wants to ‘toyi-toyi’ in the streets by publishing meaningless centrespreads in newspapers touting government’s purported achievements, we will always go, “Here goes the ‘small Kahuna’ daring us like his big brother did on July 20 with a colourless hours-long public lecture nobody listened or watched.”
So, from the beginning, it has not meant to be easy for Peter; however hard he tries the poor fella will always be viewed in the prism of his brother’s lens.
But, to be fair, there is nothing much he can do; he will always be his brother’s brother however hard he tries to be otherwise.
That said, however, Peter can be his brother’s brother but still successfully do things differently.
The professor did well by roping in a fresh-faced No. 2 and a few folks with untainted partisan backgrounds. Look, if truth be told, the likes of Saulos Chilima bring to politics a breath of fresh air.
The Vice President, with folks like Bright Msaka who have never seriously been in the trenches of partisan politics, can help salvage the Peter presidency.
Angoni Saulos is already doing his part. He has shocked Capital Hill by practically doing things in a ‘business unusual’ manner. Has he not astounded the veterans on the Hill by being at his desk at 7.30 and urging the aficionados at the government seat they need not have to line up every morning to welcome him as he goes to his office?
And if we thought the ‘business as usual’ attitude is confined to the civil service, Saulos called our bluff by besting even the titans of how to do ‘business unusual’ – the private sector. He scheduled a meeting for 8.30 in Blantyre this past week but he knew, us being Malawians, there will still be some 20-minute room to be wasted for needless camaraderie like ‘how is the madam, Mary, at home?’
So he showed up some 20 minutes early to cover for that wastage but nobody was there!
That is the ‘business unusual’ stuff President Mutharika has to encourage in government.
As his deputy, Saulos must be Peter’s most-trusted advisor. It is great that Angoni is almost half the professor’s age. He can do all the running around while Peter is busy reviewing long-term policies.
But such policies, if we have to briefly come back to what I really wanted to discuss today, must not include re-experimenting on experiments that have achieved nothing before.
Look, Bakili Muluzi tried to use vendors and chiefs to further his impossible antics. Were chiefs not paraded all over the national airwaves tricking us that the guy from Kasupe was the best thing that has ever happened to us so much that if we did not give him a third chance Malawi would be wiped off the map?
Now we are doing the same things, parading vendors on national television to deride next Tuesday’s planned demonstrations against pilferage at the National Aids Commission.
And this day and age we cannot be using chiefs to urge the President to fire judges for demanding what is constitutionally owed to them. Chiefs, if truth be told, lost their halo once they allowed themselves to be used as political pawns.
I know someone will jump to claim that the vendors and the chiefs are only exercising their constitutional right, nobody is aiding them. C’mon good people, we know the business of vending…vendors use time to the maximum. No clever vendor can waste 30 minutes of his time blurting for free.
And we also know the highest honorarium a traditional leader gets in Malawi is K50,000. No sane chief, trust me, can burn fuel to travel from, say, Karonga or Nsanje to drench in the rain in Blantyre just to urge the President to do things that are beyond his mandate.
Somebody – you know who – funded them.
Malawians may be susceptible of being fooled once in a while. But, please, let us be a little creative. It is disrespectful to use same tricks and hope people will fall for them all the time.
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