‘Misadvising Peter’: Tenthani’s Muckraking on conspiracy to mortify Malawi President

“We are what  we repeatedly do;  excellence, then,  is not an act  but a habit” -Aristotle

Sometimes avoidable blunders Capital Hill and State House are making almost on a daily basis make one think someone is out on a mission to embarrass my good president.

President Peter Mutharika

President Peter Mutharika

Just look at the parastatal boards fiasco. Someone must have known how many heads make up certain boards and advise the President accordingly.

How can you have a board that only requires five people have 17 and the other one that requires eight have 11, for example?

Just how?

Also, how can we make Peter announce a ‘new policy’ on disaster management when one comprehensive draft policy on the same is busy gathering dust right in his executive office?

Let us come to these issues in detail a little later; let us first demystify the presidency.

For starters, apart from the right age and right state of mind, there is no set qualification for one to be president of the Republic of Malawi. Of course, like members of Parliament, you need to be able to write in English and speak the language. You need not to be fluent, even coherent; the fact that someone checks out that you have a genuine Malawi School Certificate of Examination or you are able to converse in the Queen’s language you are good to go.

So all of us who are above 35 and can write or speak the language do qualify to run for the big office. You do not even have to have any backing from a political grouping; you can do it as a lone-ranger – a chiyenda yekha, ask Justin Malewezi or James Nyondo.

And when you finally land the job you do not have to be a ‘Jack-of-all-Trades’ at all. You have a free hand to employ all manner of people to do all the thinking for you.

What an easy job, the presidency!

All you have to do as president is to place the right people in right places. You need, for instance, a good diplomat to man your foreign affairs so that, unlike Bingu, you do not rub important donors the wrong way by running out of town one of their numbers.

So Peter Mutharika, as a forty-year university veteran, may be the most educated president among the five Malawians we have so far sponsored to State House. But Bakili Muluzi, with his humble academic papers, seems to have outsmarted everyone among the exclusive Group of Five in where to place who.

Look, if truth be told, Atcheya – in Alaudin Osman and Willie Zingani – had the best press office that is yet to be matched. And because he knew his limitations Muluzi had an inner-circle that did all the crucial thinking for him. Look at the star-studded Cabinet he had during his first term.

In came ‘Mr.-Know-It-All’ Bingu wa Mutharika. Down the line his down-fall begun when the Big Kahuna’s started thinking he knew everything from journalism to economics. Remember how he advised the likes of Mathews Chikaonda, Chancellor Kaferapanjira and Naomi Ngwira to rinse their brain in OMO when they advised him he had no choice but to devalue the kwacha?

Now let us get back to the subject of the day and how the current president’s men (and women) have let down the big man.

Ok, ok, Peter is a constitutional lawyer, of course! But it will be unfair to expect him to remember all the laws of the land at the snap of the finger.

The President depends on official advisors – and non-official ones, too, of course! – to have people to place where, for example. I can hazard a guess that nine-tenths of the names he was made to approve on various boards he has no clue as to the shapes of their faces. Some people recommended them to him and all he did was to approve them.

How could nobody then tell him how many he has to place on boards A or B?  The President has the duty to fill boards but he does not have to head-hunt who to put where himself. Somebody has to do that for him and all he has to do is to endorse those folks trusting that his trusted aides and advisers have assembled the right cadres.

But, look now, the President has egg all over his face and he has to reconstitute the boards just because somebody did not do their job properly.

And, if he had a functioning advisory team, Peter should have known there was already a draft Disaster Risk Management policy in his in-tray he had just to review and approve. The President should not have been trying to re-invent the wheel in the Lower Shire by waltzing lyrical about stuff that should be incorporated in the ‘new’ disaster management policy which is already in his office waiting for his executive signature.

Perhaps this is the price we have to pay for the disruption in ‘institutional memory’ whenever we have a new tenant in State House. If we kept Capital Hill in tact while we changed occupants in State House may be ­– just may be ­– someone should have ‘remembered’ there is some draft disaster management policy somewhere before making my good president cartoon himself somewhere in the flooded Sorjin.

Of course, as President Harry Truman famously said, the buck stops at him. Peter Mutharika is the one who was supposed to place the right people in the right places to advise him how to do what.

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44 thoughts on “‘Misadvising Peter’: Tenthani’s Muckraking on conspiracy to mortify Malawi President”

  1. Mphwache says:

    We have landed ourselves a Nutty Professor as President. Sorry fro Malawi.

  2. munyapa says:

    bola ife alomwe zathu zikutheka

  3. KUNGOTI says:

    Tizisamalira polankhula osamanguchulutsa chidani, kumeneko nkupanda mzeru kokhakokhako! IG ndi contract imene angatenge muthu wina aliyense so long adafikapo pa Rank ya Commissioner of Police.
    Mbuzi za anthu

  4. Namihavani says:

    Ma bootlicker trying to back their foolish APM but thats a fact there is lack of institution memory since everything is poilitics . Inanso ndi yosankha IG wopanga kale retire iyi nyasi basi. The public service reform is full of pple who have never worked in govt and currently so many bootlickers eg the Violas , chimwemwe Bandas etc have been appointed in senior govt positions yet leaving senior officers who might have been frustrated

  5. Horrex Ngangabulawayo says:

    Achulukilenji ma advisors, of no use at all. What can inlaw advise the whole president?

  6. chakwanuleka says:

    APM is a waste of space in the state house. In fact we are just waiting for his term to expire so that we can have someone who can think on his or her own. He is far much worse than JB.

  7. mtambo says:

    motha-raping a**hole.

  8. Dick says:


  9. Alshabab says:

    The truth pains , ali ndi khutu amve

  10. arkmm says:

    Mr tenthani, koma nde mwampezereratu APM yi?? sakumvetsani chisoni day in day out mumangomutokotera iye osayankha?? lets say APM dies today, will you continue with your profession?? coz honestly a tenthani mwatchukatu as soon as APM became president, in the cocoon of advising him. honestly if you were doing the same during Joyce Banda’s reign,(when there was pure mediocre, wasting public money and time distributing Ufa and abakha while siphoning billions of kwachas with the Paul Mphwiyos to support PP, a party of no single policy or direction) people like me couldn’t believe that your articles against APM are based on a personal vendetta against him and not out of goodwill. of course kukufunsani mumakana koma pansi pa mtima you know wat I’m saying here is the truth. By the way, when are we seeing any small feed on BBC from you on these floods that have devastated our country?? Coz osamangooneka kuchenjera apapa pomunyoza APM inunso mukulephera ntchito yanu. Mwina anaona kuti simusamba, munathimbilira ndi dzibukhu kkkkkk

  11. ndunde says:

    Message is delivered home

  12. zabvuta says:

    I always look forward to reading Tenthani’s posts. I totally agree with you. Any sensible President would have asked for the Disaster Preparedness Module that is already in place and may be just may be modify it. Our development partners think it is laughable that Malawi does not have a “Disaster Preparedness Module” infact this is what is delaying International help. ……… Lord help us!!!

  13. mtumbuk says:

    Awanso ARaph ndi achitsilu China chilichonse anyoze adzayamika liti? koma azitsilu azake alamule ngakhale Abe ndalama zaboma amangoyamikira.

    1. Dapa says:

      Chitsiru ndiwe.U want him to shut his mouth when things are obviously going astray.Yimeyi tomato constructive checks and balance

      1. ayu says:

        iwe dapa chitsiru mapeto. vuto a Malawi ambiri mumangotha kunyoza chilichonse chomwe mzanu wapanga without providing any single alternative. mostly you do this, not that you can do better than your friend, but because of jealous. to me, this drunkard in tenthani is one big idiot PP loser and sympathiser who writes all this gibberish out of jealous and desperation. if he did the same during pp era, I could have at believed that he has no person grudge with peter muthalika and dpp

  14. Think Tank says:

    The president should be thankful to have Tenthani as a critic. On surface Ralph seems to have a bone with the president. But actually he is an unpaid advisor who has no one to please by writing useless praises. The president is give free advice and its up to him to ignore and accept being misled by spongers he surrounds himself with.

  15. Mngoni says:

    Wamakutu amve, wanzeru atolepo mfundo, chitsiru chisiyeni chinyoze, wansanje azilimbana ndi Ralph,
    But Ralph, has something to share with us.
    Whether we take it or not the ball to develop this nation, to move out of this pathetic and miserable life is in our hands.

  16. Horrex Ngangabulawayo says:

    Pafe m’mwenye ndiye mumati tikhwimitse chitetezo. Ma advisor achulukilenji opanda ntchito. Kuononga ndalama za boma anthu kumudzi akusowa ndipogwira pomwe. Mbava za anthu inu.

  17. Jacob chitseko says:

    We thank ur parents spending k1 for your school fees for learning a,e,i,o,u. Why do u make personal judgements always instead of bringing both parties to express the reasons of doing A,B,C and D leaving the gap to be filled by readers themselfs. Your school for is nothings.

  18. Horrex Ngangabulawayo says:

    Ma advisor achulukilenji opanda ntchito, kuononga ndalama za boma basi anthu a kumudzi akusowa pogwira. Mumadikira ma floods ndiye mudziti pafunika policy? pafe m’mwenye ndiye muziti tikhwimitse chitetezo. Mbuzi mano kusi, mbava.

  19. ntchenachena says:

    Two of three parts of what makes a good leader is a combination of experience, education and good luck. The rest is character, personality, integrity. That part (1 of the 3 parts) can make or break a leader – squandering even the best opportunities available to him/her. Look at how the true Joyce Banda took over the best of our lucky JB. She squandering the good will of the people of Malawi and donors. And our “lucky” Bingu – that difficult product to sell. Atcheya did everything for him. But look at his true self coming out gradually. Like a rabid dog that way lays its victims, he deceived us with a few good deeds. His brother is trying to make up for all that. Watch him in the second term. He is likely to become his true self. Whatever it looks like, beware!

  20. The Truthful One from the West says:

    The only problem I have with what you have written is that you are taking it for granted that it is the advisors who misled Peter Mutharika. What if the changes-such as cancelling some names and putting in some names such as DPP stooges were done by the president. Would blame advisors? The problem is that advisors cannot come into the open and say the president did not take advice. Those who have worked in the public service know and agree with what I have pointed out. An advisor advises but it is up to the president to decide. That is why I am very concerned that members of the public service reform commission never worked in the public service.

  21. Maximus Decimus Meridius says:

    a e

  22. concerned citizen says:

    Kodi ma presidential advisors amatani? I thought they advise the president?

  23. sapitwa says:

    Mr chuma being chairman and violet chinkono a board member really?are you people mad?u board omakatsegula pemphero basi?this is not serious

  24. Mlolo says:

    Aona chochita

  25. Malindima says:

    You say anyone can become President and run the state affairs well provided one has chosen the right advisors? I disagree with you. It takes the President to be critical of the qualities of the advisors he chooses thus academic, experience, attributes thus any notable practice exhibits the candidate has addressed befit or innovated etc. This is the type of the Management skills the Presidential candidate needs to have. Kamuzu was a medical Doctor when he became President and had no any Managerial skills thus why it took him over 10 years to figure out what best he had to do for Malawi. Muluzi though he was MCP admin secretary was very clueless intact he was the worst President who refused good advices thus why his 10 years in power destroyed Malawi for a 40 year damage. JB was even worse. She fitted for the job of a social worker and always thought of any advice from wazunguz as perfect! Bingu being the executive secretary for COMESA gave him the edge since this was a public entity that interacted with many countries and their presidents in Africa. APM will make blunders but he is on the right track compared to JB and Acheya who waffled during their tenure. So far so good APM in a country with zero aid budget.

    1. nthandalanda says:

      Malindima, you written trash here. How can you say apm is on the right track while just few months in office, we hear issues of theft and corruption? And the issue at hand is the disaster policy not performance or educational background of someone.

      1. Malindima says:

        Your brain has no analytical capability fill of cotton thus why you see trash in my comment. If disaster policy was there why didn’t JB apply it when there was also disaster in some parts of country in 2013 to 2014 rainy season? I contributed building houses in my home area to the displaced people whose houses were blown off by the storm and heavy rains in December13 and Jan 14.We reported the matter to the District Commissioner’s office but up until today, he never attended to us. We recently visited his office to find the status of our request for help in September 2014, we were told that there was no Government policy that they could apply in assisting the displaced. He did not say the policy was in draft process awaiting approval.
        It appears to me that you and Raphael are drankards who have impaired vision to see your country’s direction.

        1. kanchenga. says:

          First the DC had no business telling you where the draft was. Secondly APM should have spent a few nights reading memos and in his office left behind unfinished by JB so that he is aware of things like the presence of draft awaiting his approval. Thirdly insulting people is a sign of failure to argue for case intelligently. Peoples brains are made of water proteins carbohydrate minerals in an intricate combination. Not cotton. If indeed yours are made of such then that’s why you can’t see that this country is running on auto pilot. The president went on leave in may 2009. Off he died he died while on leave and we haven’t found the right replacement.

  26. This president of ours leaves alot to be desired.

  27. nganga says:

    Lets jst say he has no advisaz.

  28. Achimidzimidzi says:

    Wankulu salakwa.

    APM is a professor, therefore no one less than a professor can advise him.
    We all know that. I have known him as a super natural intelligent person.

    Any advice is malicious..

    1. Ineyo says:

      You can’t progress with that mentality. A professor is someone who knows more about less. He can be advised.

  29. Chikopa says:

    Tenthani you are talking shit. You are useless dog barking for no apparent reason. Malawi can only develop if you come up with strategies and not busy complaining. Ndiwe Mtembo Odya Nsima.

  30. Okay says:

    Zake zimenezo asova

  31. Thumb up Ralph, I like that – disruption of institutional memory. They argued they are employing equally qualified relatives but they fail to consider what you have raised. I promise to keep reading and shame the cheater.

  32. Ngungudya says:

    Kkkkkk kodi another one in his try poti ndi lawyer mwina silibwino

    1. Think Tank says:

      ngati siilibwino amati tipange “redraft.” apa zikuwonetsa kuti mu in-tray sanawonemo.

  33. That is “Aqua Peter Munthalika”

  34. Nkhuwawe says:

    Mr Tethani u don’t hav something that people can hear from u. Inu koma carsberg green basi, asiyeni anthu alamulire. Where were u during JB regime when cashgate ws prominent at capital hill? Za zii basi.

    1. Tsiku la Mowa says:

      Please learn to address the issue at hand: If the President can make basic blunders like appointing more people to a board than the law requires then there is something wrong.

      The problem with DPP supporters is that they think any criticism is bad. Constructive criticism like the one Ralph provides is very helpful. The Attorney General has advised the Government to re-visit the board appointments. Would it not have been better if APM had followed the law in the first place?

      What kind of support glosses over such glaring mistakes? Being in power is not a licence to do as one pleases – The President swore an oath to follow the laws of this country…

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