Of Mutharika and Malawi ‘UN’ fiasco

President Peter Mutharika and his larger than life entourage are back from the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) after momentarily escaping from the land of wanton poverty. The merry-making and enjoyment around the pubs of New York by hangers-on have surely come to an end. It is now time for some reality check.Loose cannon

President Mutharika was accompanied by 115 individuals in total amidst the country’s dry coffers and cries for assistance from local and international donors in light of the impending hunger. His entourage comprised of chiefs and party officials, some of who don’t even know what the heck United Nations is.

Mutharika also hired a private jet (there has been haggling between government and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on whether it was hired from South Africa or the United Kingdom) for the trip, spending in excess of 200 million Kwacha in hiring fees. This is obviously outrageous and smacks of high degree insensitivity by President Mutharika and his DPP government. It, once again, highlights this government’s lack of ‘ear’ to heed bilateral and multilateral counsel on economic management. It also underlines executive arrogance and President Mutharika’s disconnect from the suffering of a majority of Malawians.

But perhaps the icing on the cake on this whole UN fiasco has been the comical manner; almost nonsensical attempt by Minister of Information and Tourism, Jappie Mhango, to douse the fire and put a spin on the backlash that Mutharika’s trip has generated.

Mhango is new at the Ministry. It is therefore not a surprise that he appears not to know anything and obviously struggling for small details. He rushed to government-controlled MBCTV to refute allegations that government had hired a private jet from the UK for the President’s UN trip. He clarified that the plane was actually hired from South Africa and not the UK. He also said President Mutharika only approved 18 people to accompany him to the UN and had no idea who might have slotted in the other names—the 97 names.

Mhango’s refutations were buttressed by a badly constructed State House Press Release, which accused ZBS for nursing a ‘loathing for Peter Mutharika’. One wonders what goes inside the heads of the people that are calling themselves leaders of this country.

The questions that come to mind are: Is Mutharika really in control of government? Does it mean of all the concerns that have been raised by Malawians; all what the whole Minister of Information could come up with was a clarification of where the plane was hired from? Is Mutharika thinking he is lording over a bunch of kindergarten kids? This is no laughing matter and Malawians must begin to be worried indeed. Worried because it appears there will be a long and bumpy ride ahead.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just announced that its programme with Malawi is off-track and will not be disbursing the next tranche of 20 billion Kwacha, which they were about to release this month. It is frustrating therefore that all what government could think of is to talk about where it has hired an expensive toy for Mutharika’s fun ride. Malawians are already going through tough times. Inflation is currently hovering at 22% and still rising; prices of essential commodities are already beyond the reach of a majority of Malawians. Daily living has become a nightmare and not fun for the average person.

The least Malawians could expect is for government to be serious and get down to real business. The least one would expect is for President Mutharika and his Minister of Information to put aside their useless spinning and work for the best interest of Malawians. Time for political correctness is long gone.

And what happened for the President to just sneak into the country without holding a news conference to clarify some of the burning issues? At least, he should have had the courtesy to inform Malawians about his UN accomplishments and challenges. The news conference should also have given the President an opportunity to set the record straight especially regarding matters surrounding his large entourage to the UN and the hired jet. What was the President running away from? Afraid to face tough questions? This is exactly the behaviour that is creating space for speculation. Perceptions are created through well planned and executed communication.

In the absence of information, communication will still happen anyway only that it won’t be the communication Government wants. President Mutharika is surrounded by terrible communicators and his government will continue fire-fighting for the rest of his presidency.

In this context, what the people will remember about this UN trip will be the larger than life entourage; they will remember his bland lecturers to empty halls.

Obviously Mutharika’s army of advisors are sleeping on the job. Somebody needs to be fired, and when that happens we will know the president is in business. The jury is already out and at this pace, President Mutharika better start preparing for real pain in 2019. The judgment will be crude and unapologetic. That time, Jappie Mhango will be incapable of putting a spin on anything, not even fishing out an old picture of a Boeing 747 purportedly hired by Kamuzu in 1982 as justification for Mutharika’s hiring of a Bombardier private jet from the UK (or is it from South Africa) to whizz him to the UN.

A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity. “-Dalai Lama


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21 thoughts on “Of Mutharika and Malawi ‘UN’ fiasco”

  1. big boy says:

    Kodi adawinadi ameneyu koma or kubera coz I don’t think my people can volt for someone like this one.school ndi utsogoleri ndizosiyana. Readership is a gift from God.kumavota mwamzeru amalawi degree silamula dziko!!!!!!!

  2. Malawiboy says:

    The first person who needs to be fired is Peter himself. What a total asshole.

  3. Rasta says:

    Mavotavota a malawi,, kuvotera munthu poti ndiwakwathu wthout considering leadership qualities in him/her,,, we’ll always cry foul if we don’t change our mindsets,,,, the guy frustrated malawians even when he was a minister in his bro’s time, anaonetseratu mawanga ake palibe chachilendo ndikuona ine apa,,,, APM will Milk the thin cow untill it dies

  4. ngwazi says:

    No presidential qualities in this man

  5. dee kay says:

    akanakhala kuti chipatala cha ku Thyolo chikusamalidwa, koma pano nakonso kulibiletu ndalama. Chitsiru ndani?

  6. Jimbo says:

    The President in his words and actions is simply putting two fingers up to the people who elected him, if indeed they really did elect him!

  7. JT says:

    The president said at his news conference today that the plane was chartered only to Dubai and that he authorized a delegation of only 18 people. Is there proof of this? A paper trail? Receipts? If NGOs or the UN or the World Bank paid for the other 100+ people, they will need to account for it. And the Malawian government needs to account for the money it spent as well. Please, journalists a and people of Malawi, ask for proof.

  8. Gwamba says:

    The gods are angry. Very soon they will react by sending hell fire. Lets wait and see.

  9. bwandiro says:

    kodi munthu nthumba mwako mukakhala muli K4000 ulendo woti ukwere bus yopita ku Lilongwe kuchoka Ku BT ungakwere coach kapena local bus? Definetly ukwera local bus ngakhale ndiwe President wofuna ulemu wodzadza dengu & ulendo wako ukutengera 4 to 5hrs
    ? ndipo President iwe anthu a mdziko mwako asonkha K4000 basi. Tsono theorem yomati President sangadikire ndege 10hrs pa airport kuti akwere ndege ina kupitirira pa ulendo wake bvuto lili pati? Kodi ukakhala President ngakhale ukuchoka mdziko losauka ndiye kuti uyenera kukwera coach basi or titi ukwere hired Jet basi? A Muluzi ngakhale a Bingu muja amakwera ndege zawamba samawalandira kuchilendoko ndi guard of honour?

  10. Chosadziwa says:

    And in act of allogance and open defiance the President in APM has declared that next stop is UK and India very soon. He also says he did not come to steal our money. The question we should be asking him now is, ‘If he was already a millionaire, why did he have to come to a poor country that Malawi is?”

    There is a saying which goes: A sturbbon fly was buried together with the corpse. It is just a matter of time that APM will wake up from his deep slumber and face the reality that seems to be eluding him. Just a word of caution to APM, when the going gets tough handclappers jump ship. Defection is the catch word.

    Chosamva adachiphikira mmasamba.

  11. Lloyd says:

    Sikumudziwa kuti zimene mukuyankhulazo ndizimene zikuwononga dziko.Ndipo ndi President uti amene adzakhala wabwino Ku Malawi pakuti aliyense amafuna kulamulira dzikolo.Nde ulamuliro wasatana umenewo omangokhalira kulimbirana

  12. Mlauzi says:

    The notion that Zodiak radio nurses a loathing for APM is not only misplaced, it is also a typical case of argumentum ad bacculum, a threat against a free press and democracy.

    No, people are not complaining because they have anything against you, no. They are expressing their frustrations in the wake of a failing economy, characterized by unfriendly interest rates, soaring inflation, a depreciating currency, shortage of maize, no drugs in hospitals, insecurity, unemployment, corruption, water and electricity systems that don`t work, failing infrastructure, increasing poverty among many ills. They are wondering why you opt for opulence and splendour in the face of all this suffering and are concluding that for some reason you cannot empathise with the villager in Mpheni village or the slum dweller in Ntopwa.

    You need to rethink your strategies and tactics. You must change You must not only be seen to share the suffering of the wananchi, you must actually share in the suffering prevailing in the country. You should not express behaviour typical of the ploretariat in pre – revolution epoch.

    Only then will you be judged fairly

  13. Honeycomb Chidyauzu says:

    I think 2019 is too far off. If we let these embeciles to rule over us till 2019 this country will be in tatters. Something has to be done now before its too late.

  14. Charombanthu says:

    We have seen ruling parties being kicked out of government because of poor decisions such as these. PP is a living example – we could not fathom the idea of a government stealing from its own citizens through Cashgate and that hurt us real bad. And DPP thinks that because they are there they cannot be kicked out in 2019 or even earlier?

    By the way LC, the 115 number is the number confirmed by the US embassy on Visas issued; but obviously other people, including the president himself and some cabinet ministers, had Visas which were issued sometime back and have not yet expired (normally the US will issue 10-year Visas). The number therefore is much higher than 115…..

  15. The only Democrat Left says:

    All said and done the question we should be asking is why if our democracy was alive and kicking would a President and his party conduct themselves in this manner?
    Mutharika is a dictator who rigged the elections rigged to become President to enable him to continue where his dead brother Bingu left off – stealing and looting tax payers money.
    It should now be obvious to all Malawians that Mutharika does not care about what is written in the news media about him.
    In fact the donors, British, Germans, the Americans all know that Mutharika does not care, as they too have been demanding that Mutharika return the billions that his brother Bingu and he have stolen from Malawian taxpayers and donors funds as Mutharika just ignores them and carries on as if nothing has happened.
    Opposition parties including MCP and PP have failed Malawians, only the men and women in the Barracks can bring an end to Mutharika’s blatant dictatorship.
    How can we stop Mutharika as President of one of the poorest country in the world chartering planes and wasting public money with huge Presidential convoys and other wasteful spending? ,

  16. Insight says:

    The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

  17. Bandawe says:

    Not only worried about the pathetic state this DPP mafia-like administration had got us into but I’m also sick to my stomach. I’m nauseated.

  18. Nangozo says:

    Good for nothing government!!. No heart for the poor Malawians. Ambulances are grounded, patients are denied of meals at hospitals and yet the one we say is our leader can afford to waste our taxes in that manner. Indeed this is so worrisome, whether one is DPP or not we are all suffering together.

  19. Mtondoli Jonazi says:

    Just shows the type of people we choose to lead us have nothing to do with helping us – the masses. Jappie Mhango just showed his stupidity – whether the jet was chartered from South Africa or the UK is not the issue. The bone of contention is that no jet should have been chartered at all – better still, Mutharika should have stayed at home and attend to more serious pressing issues.

    I personally, would, think a single minister or principal secretary would have done the job. ‘Multi-tasking’, hello??? Okay maybe 4 or 5 people perhaps. I would have expected Vice President Saulos Chilima (coming from the private sector) to understand that. I am not sure if running a country is any different from running a business? It boils down to reducing unnecessary expenditure and maximizing output (profits). And in case of government, maximising service delivery!

    Unfortunately we have ourselves to blame because we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over when it comes to choosing leadership!

  20. Nankununkha sadzimva says:

    Pa Chichewa pali mau oti, “Ndeu yoti udandiyamba ndi kale silanditsika” Tsiku lina dziko la Malawi lidzaona zomwe sizidaonekepo mkale lomwe. Ingotini phee!! muone. Mutharika conduct is too much a lump to swallow. I don’t think there is any room for extravagance when enonomically this country is out of control.

  21. SONG says:

    Useless govt we will boot it out come 2019. Lucky enough, the Lomwes are the biggest sufferers with this leadership and its economy.

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