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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :