Ntata: A rebel with a cause in Malawi

One reading of Z. Allan Ntata’s recent rantings and it becomes clear that he wants one of two things, or both; (1) attention and (2) a modicum of relevance in the political discourse of the country.

Ntata: Ranting

Ntata: Ranting

I don’t believe in this reincarnation of Mr Ntata as the knight in Shining Armor, who is here to smite the dragon that is injustice and oppression and that he is fighting to put Malawi firmly on the road to responsible governance and inclusive democracy.

As we now know, Ntata worked day and night to give the DPP a new lease of tenure at State House but by some political hara-kiri, he now finds himself in the cold. So if the government had given him a job, he would not be this exuberant, acerbic self-acclaimed critic henow seeks to become.

But Ntata must be the first to know that there are no endless jobs to go around to cronies and sycophants. And if we want President Peter Mutharika to restore some semblance of equilibrium to an economy severely battered for years by self-absorbing policies, then we can’t expect him to be giving out jobs like they were confetti at a wedding.

Ntata reminds me very much of South Africa’s Mongosuthu Buthelezi, who was in the headlines with his Inkatha Movement shortly before the first democratic elections in that country, threatening all manner of mayhem. After that, until now, Buthelezi has hardly been a factor again in South Africa’s politics. Close observers say he was bought off with a cabinet post by Mandela that has shut him up ever since.

Malawi has no shortage of pseudo-analysts and activists who do what they do in the hope of getting attention and then getting a plush government appointment in return for their silence. They fish for jobs in the government and when that doesn’t happen, in silly acts of childish pique, they then turn themselves into arch-enemies and rabid critics of the government.

They then become careless with facts, they become sensationalists and emotional and manipulative. For no reason, except anger and envy they will disrespectfully call the President of the country a puppet. Malawi should be wary of such people, imbued with the determination to find fault with the government at every turn only because they feel aggrieved that the gravy train left them behind.

Over the years, we have seen seemingly well-meaning “human rights and justice” activists be taken over by anger and disappointment when their peers were offered government jobs and they were not.Through acts driven by anger and disappointment, these activists dug themselves into a hole—to this day; they have not been able to climb out of it.

There are many valid reasons to criticize this government, but surely not what drives Ntata.

During the excesses of the Bingu years, Ntata was not one of the few courageous men and women who risked all in the fight to bring Malawi back from the precipice. I was in journalism at that time, editing The Sunday Times and writing a weekly column. Ntata was not with us in the trenches. In fact, he was known for using his position to intimidate, bully and threaten those of us who were brave enough to speak for democracy, for just governance, for accountability.

Then, we grappled with matters that mattered; the buying of a presidential jet when public hospitals had no oxygen cylinders and syringes, the ostracization of a dully-elected vice president, the shrinking of democratic space, the muzzling of the press, the murder of Robert Chasowa, the jailing of political opponents. Those who the dark, hard, years and the people responsible for putting Malawi on its knees during that time will surely have to answer to posterity one day.

Ntata was a cog in that very system that plunged Malawi into a maelstrom of political and economic chaos. So, unless I missed his confession, he can’t suddenly have metamorphosed into a champion of democracy and accountability and all the niceties he worked hard to deprive us from not so long ago.

Malawians have never truly appreciated what role a unity of purpose can play in marshalling the people’s energies towards rebuilding a country. If Malawiansstoppedbeing driven by narrow and petty selfish interests, there is no telling how this country would benefit.

Or how Ntata himself would benefit…in the end.

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26 thoughts on “Ntata: A rebel with a cause in Malawi”

  1. Mwama Du says:

    Alli you are low in your head.

  2. Notorious Treacher And Total Asshole (NTATA) says:

    Thanks all of you for having ample time to argue about me. Actually this is exactly going on according to my initial plan. I really need this kind of fame in order to pursue and reach my political goal which i will not disclose for now. Thx.

  3. Maximum Prison says:

    Kunali a china Bamusi kuno! Mwalubunju, Rafiq Hajat! Pali chani apa . Allan Ntata kulirira udindo. Watopa kusuta chamba cha KK. Mutopa DPP for life!

  4. mbuli says:

    kodi idris inu munambuli ku xul ndiye ife tisiye kumvela zomwe mukunena chifukwa chakale lako….ndikuganiza mukamalemba zosusana ntata muziganiza kaye chifukwa chilichose mungati ntata analakwisa anapanga pamodzi ndi peter and Dpp yose..

  5. Mangwanani says:

    Abwana mwalemba chizungu.

  6. John says:

    Can someone PLEASE pick Ntata’s arguments one by one and argue against them instead of commenting on the general personalities of the man? Please show some journalistic critical thinking and good research and refute the arguments he raised and STOP misinforming us about the irrelevant Buthelezi’s 1994 political carrier. For your information Buthelezi is still a strong political figure till today, his one comment started the xenophobic attacks in KZN, South Africa. But you would be excused not to know that because you Malawian journalists just give us INFORMATION that you disguise as NEWS! Sies mam.

  7. nana says:

    amwene boma wodyere kawiri anthu ake si ngati ntata iyayi,u were doing the same i dont know how to avoid what u write.dzisakuwawe ife timadya nsima osati ndale,

  8. clement says:

    Ntata ndi DHILU. Kukutuluka zingelezi zoopsa in trying to demonize him. I would rather have one prove to us that Ben Phiri is not our Prime Minister or that APM is not a puppet, etc. “Left Overs” like Ntata are good for our democracy coz they were in the system and can report/inform fairly accurately about abuses. Do not shut his mouth. Rather, just counter argue his facts. Don’t tell us he is a frustrated/bitter man. We know that already. But is the bitter Ntata lying? Address this question pliz

  9. Kavuluvulu says:

    I entirely agree with Again.Ntata is a grown-up baby.

  10. namarokoro says:

    Beautiful article, well written! congrats Idriss Ali, young and up coming jounalists should emulate this type of writing. Keep it up and well done

  11. Greencardless Malawian says:

    Leave Ntata alone…we need people like that to keep this God forsaken government on their toes so they cant stop taking Gods creation for granted

  12. dalitso says:

    You need a theif to catch a theif, he was one of them and him alone can hit them on their weakest points. What if he has repented, give the guy a chance please coz mwanayu ndi dillu man since not many of you including the writer of this article can take on the panga welding DPP machinery, never but Ntata is taking them head on so forget that he missed the graivy train and that he is frustrated. Mabodza basi, DPP has paid you to write this nonsense, Ntata ndi dillu and sakulira even Range Rover sport akuyenderayo ndi machine a mphepo man SO KEEP THE FIRE BURNING NTATA tikukumvetsa iwonso akumva moto, wakwiya ndi mfiti coz there can not be smoke when there is no fire akudziwa ukutokota zoona.

  13. Chimwemwe Mputahelo says:

    lf as he claims Ntata is being prevented from entering government by Ben Phiri, then I think Ben Phiri is making a good firewall.

    One is left with an imagination that people like Ntata can easily turn a good president into a ruthless dictator if allowed to be anywhere near a president, as happened with our old man Bingu.

    Let him remain outside, muppet!

  14. chingolopiyo says:

    The gravy train missed Ntata,wow!, no wonder he is a wounded man and he will remain wounded forever. There is no healing to the wounds he has inside him. He will remain a confused man. Mr writer, I like this article. Its only people who are in the same wounded and confused camp with Ntata that will support him. There is a saying. Chitsiru chili ndi mwini wake,so if Ntata thinks the president is a puppet, we call him our president and he has no time to respond to the wounded and confused Ntata. Let him cry untill all the wells , rivers ,lakes, seas and oceans of his tears are dried up, he will come to his normal senses.

  15. Again says:

    My first question after seeing this article is “Don’t we have things to write about than reading personal issues of Ntata?”

    Is Ntata qualified to take any senior position the way he is exposing his childish? Tell me more about his education background.

    Another problem with Malawi governance is putting people in positions based on how much they support a political party with no consideration of they will deliver on a particular position .This kind of governance will lead Malawi nowhere.

    Ntata…have you finished your PHD you claim to be doing in UK. Is your visa still valid? you sound like you have nowhere to go. Why don’t you come over and enjoy English Money.

  16. Patriot says:


  17. real man says:

    The article has been well presented,but not making sense as it over hypothesizes Z. Allan Ntata’s intentions. Never, at a time has Ntata said he wants jobs; despite the fact that we can speculate that he might be frustrated. He might be indeed frustrated. In fact, every patriotically sensible Malawian should be frustrated with what is happening. It seems people like Iddris don’t believe humans can reconsider their previous thoughts and develop new ones. If the same stories Ntata is telling were told by another person other than Ntata, would they have had different understanding. My advice to the author and people like him in that have the chance to land yourself a job like that of Ntata and then come back and tell us how internal activism works, Don’t blame Ntata !!!

  18. Junyuntu says:

    dd he rilly assist dpp?Consider hm.

  19. Masoambeta says:

    Ntata is irrelevant and very idiotic. He is very childish and I doubt his legal training.
    What kind nd I advice did he give late Bingu??
    Attention seeking sod.

  20. kes munthali says:

    Idriss you forgot also to point out that he is a lying coward, who fled the country once Bingu died. Bingu trusted Ntata, only for Ntata to be giving him very crooked legal advise. It is this dodgy advise from Ntata as legal advisor that made the old man very unpopulor during his last days, infact knowing what we know now i would not be supprised that this was a purposefull well calculated move from Ntata to wrestle power from Bingu. Malawi and DPP needs clean brave smart indivuduals like Bwana Chalima and the like not wicked snakes like Ntata.

  21. dickson says:

    well written and very true. beware of false prophets like Ntata….a wolf in sheep’s clothing!!

  22. khwangwi says:

    well written!

  23. makito says:

    I like the argument Idrissi, you have presented facts. But the point some of us who did agree with your points then, when Ntata was a”cog” in the system, are saying is that whatever reason that is driving his metamorphosis, he is raising issues that we should be concerned about. We did not need Ntata to point out how Ben Phiri had overgrown his shoes. Nor did we need Ntata to tell us how nepotistic this government is. He is simply saying what we know. For me he is still one of the people I would rather avoid for public positions precisely for the role he played in Bingu’s government. But let us not throw the baby with the bath water. The bathwater being Ntata in this case.

  24. Dick says:


  25. crimebuster says:

    Bingu threw in jail a retired General and three active Brigadier Generals, a retired Inspector General of Police a retired Director of NIB and put a retired Head of State under house arrest! Allan Ntata u knew that the treason charges against the eminent persons were fabricated, why did u not advise the late Presdent?

  26. Emmatuwa says:

    Mr Ntata bwinotu

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