Mr. President, perhaps it is time to stop going to the UN

Every year scores of heads of state from around the world descend on New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations. Each of these heads of state claims he or she has a special message for the world during their respective addresses in the chamber.

President Mutharika speaking at UN general assembly

President Mutharika speaking at UN general assembly

Yet after hundreds of these speeches, only 3 speeches (US President, Russian President and Robert Mugabe) eventually get to be reported in the world media. The rest do not get mentioned at all except by their local press. This raises the question: why don’t these heads of state just stay at home and make speeches to their respective local press?

Yes, I do understand that the gathering of world leaders and diplomats creates an opportunity for meetings among the leaders. I do understand that leaders can take this opportunity to talk to investors. However, I doubt that with modern communication in this era of social media, travelling to New York is the only way to achieve these results.

Even if it is imperative for the president to go to these meetings, it is just hard to justify a presidential delegation of nearly 100 people at a time when Malawi is battling with the fallout from cashgate. What is it that these 100 people do in New York that cannot be done by a delegation of 10?

This government has done quite a few things right: the cabinet size has been reduced to 20; the civil service is being reformed; and a credible competent Anti Corruption Bureau chief was appointed, and cashgate prosecutions are in progress. While there is still much more to do, these are substantial achievements. Yet all these achievements will be obscured if the government continues with these inexcusable unforced errors.

Allegations of bloated delegations and bloated allowances on these UN trips are becoming a constant feature of this government. These allegations are distracting from government agenda and painting the government in an unfavourable light. In fact to be fair to the critics, the leadership has not taken serious steps to address this issue. It does not make sense for the president to cancel a trip to a SADC summit because of money, and yet proceeds to take a 100-man delegation to the UNGA.

2019 is just around the corner. The tragedy suffered by PP in 2014 should also be a warning to DPP in 2019. Political experts often say that once the electorate of a young democracy realizes that they can kick out an incumbent president, the likelihood that future incumbents will not be re-elected is usually high. DPP would be wise to take this advice.

A picture is worthy a thousand words. Perception is everything. The picture being painted by these UN trips is terrible. Perhaps, it is time for the president to stop going to the UN.

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23 thoughts on “Mr. President, perhaps it is time to stop going to the UN”

  1. defender says:

    one can not think much to come up with atickle like this one, kuganiza kwa leteral ngati uku mkovuta kuti titukuke. though u say u understood but it is clear u din’t & u can hardly understand things ur mind is locked

  2. Blessings Samalani says:

    ndizonyasa kuona anthu ochuluka akunyamuka kupita ku UNGA ndindalama zansonkho komwe ena sakagwira ntchito pamene ife eni ake andalama tikusowa chakudya, kukadasangalatsa akadatenga ndalamazo ndikugula chakudya ndikupatsa anthu amene akusowa monga ku Balaka.

  3. hastings says:

    The most funny things is that being a lawyer and the state president, how would he forget all important aspect of th current national needs. and go on cheating the world that 15 milion people in malawi are HIV positive and that his Govt is planning to put them on ARTs Yet the total population is there about? How would the world media press such nonsense ? He heard the national complaints while there, he is home no national address to clarify this missery, do we realy have the president or a Robbot? No policies for economic recovery, instead harming it more n more, Raising school fees to cover his financial mistake and yet this national economic trama is due to his stingy and selfsh money rooting but would want to put it on us poor innocent malawian shoulders to bear it? i personaly have a very bad prayer for his n his govt

  4. shii says:

    one one the president of botswana was going for a summit,he travelled with only 4 people using commercial airline.6 years ago i was coming from london using kenya airways.mwai kibaki was aboard with a delegation of about 10 people,these two countries are far better economically but they spent wisely.problem with our leader is that he is selfish and greedy.our president can travel in a commercial airline with less than 10 people accompanying him.

  5. Issa says:


  6. Mwethu says:

    It is well documentated that APM is a top notch lawyer, and lawyers are known for memorization as they have to recite cases and the like in courts. on top of this he was a professor of law for many years, which means he had to read and regurgitate of the same to students.
    Frankly speaking am buffled by this man. It doesn’t add up at all his actions and what has been written about him. Please someone enlighten me.

  7. The DPP gvmt cheated us a lot. What happened with PP will be the same with DPP in 2019. They will be shocked to see the sword going to another leader after 5yrs only. If care should not be taken they will greatly be disappointed with Malawians whom they take for granted. we are not the same Malawian of 1993.

  8. John says:

    It was better for if he was quiet till the assembly end than wast time wth that speech while and transport that would at list help 10 of his country citizen.

  9. makiyolobasi says:

    The speech itself was nonsense and doesn’t a address Malawis problem. Since when did Malawi become interested and an advisor in the UN security council? Whoever wrote that speech should be fired and doesn’t belong to the government of malawis interesrs! Kuno anthu akufa ndi njala. That’s Wat the idiot that passes for a Malawian president should have highlighted. Akuyesa adakali ku USA eti.

  10. I like this man APM. Honestly. Enanu kagwereni uko. After all, all of us can not like the same things. A P M ndi more mpaka 2024 wooooo!

  11. msumbo rsa says:

    He is of the mind that he will rule malawi 4 ever, we’ll him accountable on all what he is doing (he will pay back all money stolen by his fuckenbrad)

  12. msumbo rsa says:

    Uneducated president iz alwayz wish tu make allowances when his office is failing tu pay for waterbills

  13. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping – and New York is a great place to shop, if you can get your hands on a few buckshee dollars.

  14. Kulibe kantu says:

    APM does not listen

  15. Mfumu Tchiretchire says:

    Palibe chomwe chimapindula kupita ku UN Assembly.Ndi chifukwa chake Kamuzu amatumiza a Wadson Deleza basi…amadziwa kuti ndi zopanda ntchito…zimenezo.Anthu 115 plus 18…koma kutibela ndithu

  16. Mbiyazodooka says:

    Since the President goes to the UN to deliver a speech which is already prepared in Malawi before he leaves in addition to attending a few side meetings, the delegation from next year onwards should be as follows:

    1. State President with no First Lady as there are no functions for such at UN
    2. Security Staff – at most 5 of them considering the host government already provides alot for that.
    3. Cabinet Ministers – Foreign Affairs and Economic Planning only
    4. Principal Secretaries- Foreign Affairs and Economic Planning only
    5. Chief of Protocol and 2 Protocol Officers
    6. State House Staff – maximum of 4 to carter for presidential requirements such as food

    A delegation of 15 people as such makes sense. I don’t agree that we can forgo such important meetings but what is required is to be sensitive with our expenditure on the same.

  17. BigMan says:

    what a silly story

  18. Nankununkha sadzimva says:

    Tsono mlomowo kuti chiliri ngati mbaba yoti ikumwerera madzi. This dude stinks!.

  19. Mr says:

    Malawi need a to revise its foreign policy but not attending the UNGA would be a very bad idea

    1. Fingo says:

      The UNGA is just a talking shop – many heads of state skip it. Even with Malawi it is only in the last few years (since Bingu’s second term) when this notion that we must attend EACH year has creeped in. If the delegation was kept to a bare minimum, it wouldn’t attract people’s ire.

      Another problem we have is APM’s obsession with the USA. In less than eighteen months he has already been to the USA five times! Why did he bother coming back to Malawi if he loves the USA so much?

  20. chivwamba says:

    Thats what u put in the high office. The MAPWEVUPWEVU party and president. Nice advice falling on people who dont care.

  21. Peter27 says:

    Good advice!
    On deaf ears of course.

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