Mixed feelings over Chinsinga’s ‘accidental leadership’ in Malawi

Malawians ‘movers and shakers’ have expressed mixed feelings over  the statement by University of Malawi political scientist, Blessing Chinsinga, who suggested that the country is in deep political, economic and social problems because of “accidental presidents” that have ruled Malawi since the dawn of multiparty politics in 1994.

Mollande: Chingasa opinion wrong

Mollande: Chingasa opinion wrong

Chinsinga made the opinion in his presentation at the just ended high-level conference of civil rights and religious leaders and academics, who met in Blantyre under the aegis of the quasi-religion Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

A researcher and activist at Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Makhumbo Munthali said Chinsinga’s observations were on track as they provided the causes behind the current economic problems from which solutions could be built on.

“You can’t just start to go straight into providing solutions to the current economic and socio-political mess without first digging into the reasons or causes of the status quo. And one of the key causes as suggested by our learned professor is accidental leadership which we have had since 1994 to-date,” wrote Munthali on his Facebook page.

Added Munthali: “In fact, a solution from this is simple and obvious: we must try as much as possible to avoid experiencing another ‘accidental leadership’ as we move into the future. That should be our collective responsibility as a nation.”

Munthali further observed that it was possible to have “accidental leadership” originating from a democratic  electoral process.

“Chinsinga’s remarks were neither misplaced nor out of context. The remarks were within context. It is possible to have accidental leadership emanating from a democratic, constitutionally backed electoral process. What is key for us is to seriously find best ways on how to avoid having or experiencing accidental leadership” including the one which emanates from a democratic electoral process which is originally intended not only to produce democratically elected leaders but also transformational leadership as opposed to accidental leadership as has been the case in the country” said Munthali

But a social commentator Bright Mollande disagreed with Chinsinga’s opinion as flawed.

“Either the professor had not done much research or he has forgotten. What he said is not true,” he said, arguing the problems are a combination of factors dating back to the 1970s.

Ken Ndanga, United Democratic Front (UDF) spokesman described Chinsinga’s remarks as an overstatement.

“We respect his credentials but we take this statement as an opinion which can be challenged,” said Ndanga.

He said as much as the leaders that ruled the country had some shortfalls, they did extremely well in some areas.

“Any President who ruled Malawi had their achievements and shortfall therefore it’s very important when making these statements to look on what these leaders did to the nation. Therefore, to say that they didn’t do anything is an overzealous and wrong statement”, challenges Ndanga.

During the PAC conference, Chinsinga argued that for the past 20 years Malawi has been governed by “try and error” leaders.

He said the country need political parties which have concrete fundamental political base project where all people will seat together on how could be done to transform this country instead of having leaders who come from a group of people “opportunistically”.

Public Affairs Committee is one of the powerful religious grouping whose influence on Malawi’s political scene is undisputable which is comprise of Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Malawi Councils of Churches (MCC), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Quadria Association of Malawi (QAM) and Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM).

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39 thoughts on “Mixed feelings over Chinsinga’s ‘accidental leadership’ in Malawi”

  1. George Kamanga says:

    Chinsinga thit is the truth koma agalu ndi mbava izo sizivomera. agaluwa ndi a gontha khutu

  2. Akungolonje says:

    B. Chinsinga is right no beating about the bush on this, surely all the multiparty era Presidents are accidents.

  3. ngongoliwa says:

    Munthu kukhala president with 35 % only of votes SHAME

  4. The Partriot says:

    The problem in Malawi is that we see every statement through party or ethnic lens! What Chinsinga said is true , but do we expect Mr Mollande, who is swimming in money at the moment, due to his appointed position, to see it as a fact? For Mr Mollande, APM is the best president for Malawi!!
    For Mr Ndanga, he sees things in yellow with a shade of blue. For him Muluzi was the best ever!!! Mr Ndanga and UDF are more than pleased with the food situation in the country at the moment and the vision which APM has for Malawi!! Just imagine!!
    For the rest of us who have no coloured lens, we totally agree our leaders have let us down, big time. This is not what we fought for in 1994!
    Politics aside, our Presidents since 1994 have messed up big time! What is more worrying is that they cannot see that they are making a mess!!! Vuto ndi anthu ngati Mr Mollande and co, who are always telling our leaders that things are ok!!!

  5. DOBO says:

    Professor Chinsinga’s remarks is are too technical and academic for raw minded people to understand some of these technical terms as ‘accidental leadership” There so many terms like incidental leadership’ which you cannot just comment without knowledge though such terms have some similar elements and consequences as of mere accidents we know. Apart from this , education level and age should also help us to choose our leaders.Researches for successful presidents favours aged 40 to 65 not advanced aged from 70 above and moderate educated not advanced educated as professors who belong academics and not politics.

  6. Nkhombokombo says:

    Fellow Malawian, critiquing what Pro. Chinsinga had written would only mean that you did not follow his story well. He does not say that all these former Presidents didn’t perform nor excelled, all what he is saying is that they became Presidents through accidental means whereby they were not wholly prepared. That is to say where they should start from, what to do, how to do it and how to finish it. If unfinished, how to pass it on to the next incumbent. It is like avoiding hitting a rock but smashing into trunk!! It is still a serious accident!

  7. Optic Computer says:

    Ojambula is one of the critics who has commented only after understanding Chinsinga’s work. Emotions can be decifered in some critics in this article, and that’s one reason we fail to elect responsible and visionary leaders. The cost we pay is that we continue to be the poorest country in SADC and the whole would by GDP per capita. Chinsinga meant that the president don’t have the vision (long term plans) that can change the political, social-economic and other factors that can change Malawi for the better, instead they start plans with a bunch of party hooligans after elections whose aim is enrich themselves, without the wellfare of the Malawians at heart.

  8. usisya times says:

    The following leaders have destroyed malawi Peter,Joyce,Elesion,Bingu mbava zokhazokha apa

  9. Malawi agrees with you Dr Chisinga. Some individual can disagree on your vital opinion because they are benefiting from this mess. Continue doing good work you are doing for genuine Warm Heart of Africa.

  10. Response to Mavuto says:

    Mavuto, I do not think you are fit to comment on this column if you can not even express yourself in English. Leave these things to people who went to proper schools.

  11. Anaosidwa says:

    Chisinga is crazy and he knows nothing.

  12. The Analyst says:

    The idea that Malawi is underdeveloped because of accidental leadersip is as flawed an assertion as the assumption that accidental leadership is the same as leadership without skill, misplaced and misguided; hence as regrettable as coming from a man of Chinsinga’s political candour.

    A leader can be accidental like Joyce Banda, but have the skill to govern and vision to move the country forward. Conversely, a leader may not be accidental like Muluzi, Bingu, and Peter; but clearly lack the skill or vision.
    In short, it is very regrettable for anyone to be so lazy with thinking as to fail to realise that an accidental leader is not the same as an unskilled or visionless leader.
    Let us therefore not impose order where there is no order by seeing a crocodile where there is a lizard or a lion where there is a cat; hence assume that Chinsinga’s definition of “accidental leadership” is “leadership without vision or skill”, because the two are different; figuratively or literally.

    Thus, Chinsinga could have done better by not being lazy with thinking and being clear in his definition of what he meant by accidental leadrship.
    Otherwise, just being as ambuguious as he has been (in a bid to look more professiorial) does not bode well for him considering the ambers of the academic credentials be basks himself in.

  13. Iback says:

    I dont agree with neither Chisinga nor Munthali and I also dont agree with all the comments from you my fellow commentators. As far as I understand there is one major problem that we Malawians need to deal with. Believe it or not but this problem has put Malawi at the worst position. All countries on earth including Malawi are governed under the laws, the laws of the country are supreme and always should be respected. In our own country Malawi not even a single leader has ever respected them. Malawi’s laws are not used by the excective and the presedent is too protective. The laws of Malawi deney its citizens to take part in polical development. It also deney chance of its citizens to enjoy their national heritage, for instance parliament is our national heritage but no Malawian citizen is allowed even to touch the fence of it. If Malawians can have direct access to any development, politica, social etc they will come to understand to know their besic need in their lives. And they will start to force the government where it is wrong or if it is corrupt. The citizens themselves will start to demostrete their rights to achive what their hearts desired to have in their lives. The majority of Malawians are unaware of economic rights, in short there are no people to force the elected leadership.

  14. COMMENTATOR says:

    The argument of professor chinsinga is valid and indeed undisputable. Those of you who say that chinsinga is a professor of news paper commentaries,you are just mentally slaggish and ignarant fools of the highest level, for you have apparently failed to decipher the meaning of ‘accidental leaders’ as argued
    by the learned professor, no wonder you comment trivia. If the argument was false, why is malawi still a miserable nation then?. My advice, if you know that you are uneducated fool, dont dare comnenting on professorial arguments because they are not of your level.

  15. Ojambula says:

    With due respect I would like to concur with Professor Chinsinga said. In my raw understanding of what he said,it simply means that leaders that Malawi has had seem not to know what they are supposed to do as Presidents. They do not have tangible and chronological order of developmental activities that can uplift the country’s face. What they are interested with is the political of appeasements and of politics of KUTHANA with their political opponents. They do not have the peoples’ welfare at heart. They don’t care about people that put them (politicians) there on trust. All they care about is how to quickly get rich thru dubious means at the expense of poor Malawians. It is therefore my hope that everyone should be able to digest Professor Chinsinga’s statement with sober minds. In short he impregnated the meaning of the statement so that only those that have got ears should be able to know the meaning. Unfortunately, most Malawians are not able to understand him. Recently I happened to visit Kigali the Capital City of Ruwanda. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa and the country’s economy is doing just fine. When I enquired the magic behind that success, the answer was just a very simple mathematics. Austerity measures put in place by the country’s president Paul Kagame seem to bear fruits. His cabinet ministers are allocated one official vehicle each and self driven, no body guard, no driver and no personal assistant. The president himself has an old model range rover and his convoy is comprised of a single motor cycle with two or three security cars. By this you know what he saves at the end of the day, unlike here whereby a cabinet minister is allocated three official cars with a driver, PA and a bodyguard all fully paid by the government. When say the President is inaugurating a borehole at Goliati for example, how many cars line up on the convoy? How many ministers accompany him? How many liters of gasoline? How much money in terms of allowances? Can a nation do well economically? Ndangodutsamo please don’t shoot the messenger.

  16. Jijo says:

    If the president resigns as demanded by some people, it won’t change much except that there will be a new tenant at State House. There will still be shortage of medical drugs in hospitals, shortage of food among the majority of Malawians, shortage of electricity among Malawians etc. Peter’s failure is also partly a failure of our political systems in the country. He was elected by a mere 35% of the people that cast their votes. PAC therefore needs to urge government to review the country’s electoral laws that usher in minority governments thereby entrenching a culture of nepotism and tribalism in government. Some sections of people in the country are asking for a federal system of government, because they believe that their vote does not count at national level. PAC has failed these people because it stifled debate on the matter and this theme was not even brought up for the discussion at its conference.
    Corruption is still rampant in the country and there is selective prosecution of suspected Cashgate suspects. The Asians who were involved in Cashgate still drive their Toyota VXs freely along Masauko Chipembere Highway while Lutepo is rotting at Chichiri prison. What about the k577 billion that went missing during Bingu’s misrule when his brother Peter was minister of justice, education and local government?
    Food production in the country is in the hands of subsistence farmers in the country who fail at the slightest impact of adverse weather or lack money to buy farm inputs. It is clear that the farm input subsidy programme has failed because it targets vulnerable people in society who do not have the financial muscle, technical know-how and sufficient land to feed the nation; hence there is frequent hunger in the country with or without good rains. Why not put in place policies that encourage commercial farmers to grow maize at a large scale and feed the country like it is happening now in Zambia from where we are importing maize!
    Yes, Peter can go in 90 days, but for sure, another president will come in with just 30% percent of the vote and continue from the failure where Peter stopped. We need to change our political system first!

  17. Professor of Medicine says:

    Joyce Banda was the main accidental leader so too was Kamuzu Banda. They were never elected. Kamuzu stole from Orton Chirwa whom he later killed. Chinsinga is just a professor by memorising, by answering questions. What important publications has he authored? Is there any book published to his credit? What type of professors at a college that has never seriously researched on real issues. A professor of newspaper commentaries. The colleges that produce much needed skills in Malawi are College of Medicine, Bunda College (now Luanar), the Polytechnic and KCN. Chancellor college is bullshit, producing political scientists and newspaper commentaries. Have you ever heard professionals from Bunda, Poly, Medicine etc talking rubbish? They are serious minded fellows.

  18. pido says:

    no 5 Muluzi did not mastermind the end of MCP Tyranny. Uzikumbuka Chihana Muluzi akubisala kwao uko. If anything the first multiparty leaders were supposed to be either Kamlepo and Shyle Khondowe or Chakufwa Chihana. Muluzi adawina because anthu ankaopa atumbuka kuti mwina adzapanga nkhaza anthu a ku mmwera ndi pakati. Anthu kuvotera mbava, kamba ka mantha not kuti Muluzi anali ndi features of leadership no.

  19. peter says:

    Ndebvuzo mumete. aaaaaaaa

  20. Guarantor says:

    We are responsible for such accidental leaders…….we focus on short term projects just to appease so called CSO and voters who can offer nothing to the country. Bingu had long term plans but the same Chinsingas, Kabwiras and PAC made calls to step down just like what you are doing now. Its until when he died that people realized that he had a good vision for the country. I don’t understand why people can’t see the root cause of the problems we are currently facing. We have been sleeping for the last 30 years or so in the name of donor dependency. The are some useless dudes they call themselves economic experts who make some silly comments without knowing exactly what they are talking about. Removing Peter is not a solution to the current problems……even if we bring Chakwera and Joyce Ntila to jointly rule our country there will be little or no change. We must define our destiny as a country. We must have a strategy to export more to earn FOREX. That’s what I expected PAC, MCP, Blessings Chinsinga and others to champion and not confusing people like what you are doing.

  21. billy says:

    yes it is true with what chisinga has said all these presdents are there accedentaly look what Bakili deed brought this cruel rubish BINGU DIED in his office ready emporse his rubish brother leaving people in hunger .JOICE BANDA TRIED to bring poor people to the higher postion of making things open she was much better than these mbuyembuye .

  22. Dada Gondwe says:

    Ndevu muzimeta akulu inu, you look like a stone age man. Am giving you a thirty day ultimatum to shave or face imprisonment. Upeze lawn mawer yometera

  23. Shame says:

    I told you fellow malawinas that this country is degenarating into a banana republic. It reminds once upon a time we had Uncle BoB, King of Mashonaland and Ndebeleland when he destroyed his economy and people were buying a 300ml coca-cola bottle at 1Billion dollar. Come next year, if the situation continues like this, the same coca-cola might be sold at MK20,000. Shame on our so called visionary and public reformist leaders.

  24. Charombanthu says:

    Chinsinga is spot on! I entirely agree with the Professor. If I were to do a performance appraisal of the 5 leaders that this country has had from Kamuzu to the current president, Kamuzu would score highly followed by Bingu. The other three have indeed been managing through trial and error without any concrete direction. The shortfalls for these 3 outnumber their so called achievements….

  25. International Observer says:

    Strange that our ANALYSTS are realizing about accidental leadership now after having Multiparty system of government for quite a while. Why didn’t they come up with the observation during Muluzi second term or during Late Bingu’s term? In other words the analysts also have an axe to grind with the electorate because they are the ones who came up with the type of leaders of their choice. Should a leader be despised due to nature (rainfall and floods), due to world economic order etc. Go to the USA, UK you will find companies/businesses closing, flooding in parts of UK, more than enough snow in USA, flush floods in Asia not forgetting earthquakes. On the employment side you will find people losing their jobs worldwide. What is Malawi for her to be saved from the world order as is seen to day?

  26. Charlie Hebdo says:

    Muluzi became president because people wanted change and he was coming from the most populous region in Malawi, not the vision he had for the country. Can we say he was voted because he promised Malawians free shoes? Bingu became President because Muluzi wanted to rule behind the back door. Alone, there is no way Bingu could have become President of this country. We all witnessed how miserably he performed with his United Party. Once in government he had government resources at his disposal and therefore difficult to unseat him. Then came JB. We all know what happened for her to find herself at state house. The current president APM became president because of Bingu. Without Bingu he would not even have dreamed of coming to Malawi to do politics. We all know how hard his brother fought for him to the extent of making enemies with those that supported him before. Professor Chinsinga is right. We have had accidental presidents since Kamuzu Banda.

  27. mbewe says:

    Some of these Proffessors are accedental Proffessors. They are not worthy being called such. Why always skewed analysis. Thats the people they are part of destebalising the country because of their poor political analysis of the country. Because of goofing in analsing political set up of the country during the tripartite election they are continueĺly in denial state that arenot good in analsing issues. No wonder our University is lowly rated amongst others. Malawians democratically elected tge current government why should only few greedy people put at ransom the country? Despite whatever is being said or purported there are people who voted for the current government and are currently watching. Why so called learned people fail to understand the problem we are currently faced with are our corrective problem. These are aftermath of our greed. We asked donors to stop assisting us. Everyone of you are not objective enough to think real cause. When we want to deal with Malawi problems shouldnot personalise the priblems look at the priblem as our problem not their problem. Thats wrong thinking. All of you delegates at the forum if you poorly, myiopically think you will turn the country ungovernable cause of few greedy people. This boma is democratically elected. Whose wishes are you representing, i see all political parties took party won with differently percentage and the one with high percentage won the race.

  28. Myao says:


  29. 2016 welcome says:

    Ndanga and Mollande at this level and age you should have realized that Malawi is in this socioeconomic mess because the good things you claim the leaders may have done to the country are outnumbered by the ills the same leaders have occasioned on this nation. And it is the very reason that this nation is on its knees economically because of unpatriotic people like you who are in leadership positions by default. All what you say is motivated by the love of personal gains at the expense of nation good. Pathetic!

  30. mwachaje says:

    Leadership has nothing to do with how someone became a leader. It is about whether a person can rise up to the challenge to lead or not.
    At national level while the ultimate leader is important in setting out the vision, for successful implementation to take place we need concerted effort of all leaders and followers who are scattered around at different levels of the system.
    I daresay professor, you are part of that leadership, you are an academic leader in your field. How have you led in the research and practice of your discipline for the benefit of Malawi.

  31. Clemence R. Sendeza says:

    I think we also need opposition that is there to add value for the common good not just opposing everything for the sake of it to the detriment of the country and its citizen development.

    My experepience for the past 20yrs in governance, has been that Malawi has been ruled by largely selfish leaders and the opposition has also been more selfish because instead of helping matters, has worsened them. Jealousy and personal interests have directed the minds of the opppsition so that their being vocal would be silenced by big scones in their months from the sitting govrnment at the expense of the ordinary poor.

    Malawi needs patriotic leaders or rather servant leaders if I may call them in both the govrrnment and the oppositon for positive change and development. Leaders that offer transformative service to the nation and not those led by jealousy and selfishness.

  32. mavuto says:

    Kodi inu Chisinga Chisinga u Professor anampatsira kukhwima kapena chani? Amalankhula mwa u pedestrian. Munthu wanzeru komanso ophunzira amakhala objective pochita report zinthu pomwe Chisinga amangokhadzula kusonyeza kuti mmuty mwakemo zinthu sizimayendamo. Kodi ma research amene iye amapanga amatsatiradi ndondomeko za research kapena amangochita mwa chimbulimbuli. Kodi iwe Chisinga umadziwa kuti anzako ma professor eni eni amachita publish mma high impact factor journals? Kodi iwe umadziwa kuti newspaper ndi ya ma pedestrians osati anthu ophunzira. No wonder University ya mawolera muyang’ane position yake pa world index rank mupeza kuti ili mma four thousand. Omwe akuchitititsa zonsezi ndi anthu ngati a Chisinga anthu owoneka ngati anzeru koma ali ma brutu enieni

  33. Felix says:

    inde all were accidental leaders. Bakili we chanted “wakuba yemweyo, ” Bingu anakantenga m’mini bus, atasauka, JB wina atamwalira uyu mukudziwa nokha aaa chilungamo kupweteka Chinsinga wanena zoona apa

  34. Chimuzanga Majoti says:

    In as far as l am concerned the only accidental leader in Malawi was Joyce Banda. The rest came driven by their different agendas to transform Malawi. Bakili Muluzi’s agenda was to end tyranny of the MCP. He masterminded the movement which led the downfall of the oppressive regime of Kamuzu Banda. Bingu was a product of a political transition guarded by constitutionalism. He went for national elections and was voted into office. That is no accidental leadership he was elected into office. Only Joyce Banda was accidental on the basis of her taking over when she least expected to be President of the country also having been sidelined by the then President Bingu wa Mutharika. Her leadership was so ruinous the rest is history. Then came Professor Mutharika, he was elected through national elections. He was elected on the strength of his manifesto. He is no accidental leader. The problem with these armchair analysts is that they tend to focus too much on negatives ending up with too much knowledge and little knowing. But worse still they are paid brown envelopes to do bidding for their handlers.

    1. Cymru says:

      Chimuzanga Majoti, your comment is very good. Through your explanations, even uneducated person like me can easily understand what accidental leader means. It seems most people are confused to understand the transition we are going through. Politics is the major source. Malawi is operating without donor support and obviously will go through tough times until she stabilizes. The situation is even worse due to narrow production and exporting capabilities. It is a consuming nation. Many people are unpatriotic. The list is endless. May be you should tell us that donors are to support Malawi if the current government is out of power otherwise even any leader coming might not bring any change with the prevailing conditions for Malawi.

  35. musah says:

    A ndanga munena chani tamango nyambiitan nsete zambabva nzanoyo atupele basi

  36. Morton Hara says:

    It’s true what professor is saying no need protecting these leader because there leadership system is on the are just targeting people to touched instead of doing development and tribalism also when comes to election the rigged while the don’t know what they will be doing at end just stealing and put the country in a mess like the way we are now

  37. Mulande says:

    Iwe bright molande utametako dzindemvu zakozo zikuthandiza. Ukuwoneka ngati chinyau ndi zimagalasi zakozo. Ngati chimunthu cha ku mental hospital.

  38. nyani says:

    what is the definition if accidental leadership as opposed to incidental leadership? intentional leadership? divinely proscribed leadership? semantics? or just bulls-t? babbling bufoons or peramabulators around the periphery? clueless clowns? whatever.

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