Pharisees and Hypocrites: Tenthani’s Muckracking

The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why” –Warren Bennis

 From the beginning I must declare that Kondwani Nankhumwa needed not have gone down so low to issue a government epistle that was very high on hyperbole and too low on substance.

Name calling: The 'hypocrite' Mutharika and modern day pharisee' Chakwera:

Name calling: The ‘hypocrite’ Mutharika and modern day pharisee’ Chakwera:

I mean, I scrolled down the whole treatise just because it is my job to torture myself enduring such empty verbose. But before I hit the last full-stop on the very long press statement, I was lost on what message the good minister wanted to communicate.

Look, if Nankhumwa needed to answer back to the Leader of Opposition’s take on the daily confusion on salaries coming from State House – or is it Capital Hill? – he should have been brief and civil. Calling the MCP leader a latter-day ‘Pharisee’ does not succeed in making government a band of modern-day ‘Magi’ or the ‘Wisemen from the East’.

My interest this week, however, is on the Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s reaction to the whole salary issue.

Look, when Chakwera dubbed Peter a ‘hypocrite’ I said, “Hey, Abusa has learnt the ropes in politics!”

Now, ‘hypocrite’ is not a pleasant noun from wherever you are standing. It describes you as a pretender, a fake, even…yes, that noun again, a ‘pharisee’ with a small ‘p’!

I will not call either Peter or Abusa Laz ‘pharisee’ or ‘hypocrite’. I would, however, like to interrogate the man of God’s choice of nouns. (By the way, I am using the term ‘man of God’ advisedly because I always argue with self-anointed ‘born-again’ Christians about that term because I always wonder if they are ‘man of God’, then who am I? Was I not created by the same Creator?)

Of course, that is fodder for a separate discussion.

But, that said, Chakwera’s choice of nouns for Peter set me thinking: the ‘man of God’ has arrived; he has found his footing in politics. If you cannot beat them, join them!

Chakwera has always been measured, if not apologetic, in how he approaches politics. While his more secular lieutenants come out on all fours, shooting from the hip, Abusa Laz has always been meek and measured, carefully choosing his verbs, nouns and adjectives.

All along Chakwera has been projecting himself as a good guy, untainted by the ugly ‘mudslinging’ our politics is known for.

But, if truth be told, the MCP seriously needs to re-invent itself as a serious ‘government-in-waiting’. The first step in doing so is being coherent with its message.

Look, before Abusa Laz came out with his inconclusive position on his own whopping 168 percent salary hike, his minions were all over the place justifying such an obscene hike. I was actually beside myself with disappointment that my good friend Jesse Kabwila could justify her own salary hike as a parliamentarian because she has to do this and that from her personal purse or else she will not be voted back to Parliament at the next election.

What balderdash is that! Jesse should have been the first to tell her less enlightened colleagues that it is not their role to physically alleviate their constituents’ every day problems.

Your role, my dear Jesse, is to make sure you pass laws that will eventually make it possible for your folks at Khombedza to make ends meet. You have no business sharing your salary with them.

In all this confusion one would have expected guidance from good ol’ Laz on how the MCP must come down from this ‘Tower of Babel’ where everyone is speaking in incomprehensible tongues as to what the oldest party on the land really stands for.

But statements like: “Personally, I do not care whether I’m paid very little or nothing at all” are leaving us none the wiser as they do not begin to inform us the exact position  the Leader of Opposition has taken in this salary imbroglio.

In its ordinary sense, Chakwera’s position means, “I’m not a fighter; I’m ready to accept whatever is offered to me.” Which means Chakwera is ready to accept, “…very little or nothing at all” or, indeed, a hefty 168 percent salary hike while public universities are offered only 14 percent and the general civil service a paltry 24 percent.

If he wants us to believe he is the leader we hope he is, Chakwera should be clear about his position on national issues. He must be ready to show his hand, only then will he be able to give wise counsel to – to borrow his irreverent terminology – the ‘hypocrites’ in government.

By the way, as the Leader of Opposition, Chakwera is part of government. If it is true that he actually learnt of these obscene salary hikes for himself and his MPs from the media then he should begin to interrogate how relevant he is.

In fact Chakwera should not condemn these obscene salary hikes because of their immorality, no. According to law, the President cannot make his own salary, that is the role of Parliament. Likewise, Parliament cannot make its  own salaries, the President must.

As a House of Laws, Parliament must not be guided by public emotions; it must be guided by laws. And this is where Chakwera must show leadership.

And, come to think of it, are people like Chakwera standing on the moral high ground on this salary issue because of the public outcry over the same? I am asking this because MPs irregularly increased their loans to K24 million and the Chakweras of this world secretly partook of the same without any noise. Does that not sound like hypocrisy to you?

Chakwera’s current station in life is crucial especially now that things are falling apart in the country. We need not only a vibrant but also a coherent voice in the opposition to hold the government’s feet to the fire so that it does not sleep on the job. But they say those who seek equity must come with clean hands.

Leadership is guiding your troops to a common goal. It does not make sense for your spokesperson to celebrate and justify your obscene salary hikes while you come here and pretend to condemn the same. That is hypocrisy at its worst.

Tame ‘hangers-on’ mentality

Malawi News of December 13 carried a leaked memo from President Peter Mutharika to State Residences Chief of Staff Peter Mukhito.

The memo outlines six guidelines how to save State House coffers in the wake of the ‘zero-aid’ budget.

One of the most interesting guideline is an order for officers and aides to follow him to functions on ‘needs basis’ only.

It is unfortunate that this order is coming in the wake of the ‘zero-aid’ budget. This is what is supposed to happen even when our coffers are busting at their seams with dollars.

Look, the muckraking community has always wondered why, for example, the Vice President, the entire cabinet, the Capital Hill ‘who’s who’ and the heads of the Police and the Army should always follow the President wherever he goes.

It is worse when the President is going out on – or arriving from – an international assignment. The whole Capital Hill literary shuts down!

These are unnecessary expenses even when the economy is on the right keel. If the President is opening a tobacco factory, for example, let the ministers of Agriculture and Trade accompany him. His Economics advisor may also come in handy. The rest of the cabinet and aides must stay in their offices and make themselves useful.

These measures are a good start. They should not end when the economy looks up. I know the Presidents’ men and women make a killing out of these junkets. But you were called to serve, not to make money. If you want to make money quit and find a proper job.

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30 thoughts on “Pharisees and Hypocrites: Tenthani’s Muckracking”

  1. KASIYAMALIRO says:

    One excellent Muckrackar…. Ralph, this is a balanced diet! One Jesse, one Chakwera. Koma ndalama abale? Zimachotsa ulemu wathu… Shameeeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    Every day, I am waiting for MCP’s spokesperson, Kabwila-Kapasula, to come out of hiding and tell us that her party’s President, VP. and MPs will not be accepting the raises. Maybe, this would be embarrassing as she propounded the raises as justifiable already; and she was ebullient in her position.
    So, perhaps her boss, the good Rev. Chakwera should declare the party’s stand on this issue to the public. Like DPP have done. Staying quiet is not an option! Is MCP going to accept these unjustified raises while the majority in this country are suffering further, due to “Cashgate”, inflation and the downgrading of the Kwacha? What does the bible say about this degree of economic inequity?

    1. kazeze says:

      My take is that if MPs and the opposition leader do not reject the hefty salary increases then I SUPPORT THAT all the striking public servants in various sectors should prolong their strikes without ceasing. In fact in future whenever there are proposals for increments, all sectors must be considered at the same time, not separately, after all this should be done at budget time not merely because this month cost of living has gone up and therefore an increase for the MPs!!!!!, what about munthu wamba kumudzi? Nanga the civil servant? MILITARY/POLICE? Akabaza, matelala, magadi, estate workers etc, iwowo cost of living siimawapeza? Iwowo salipila msonkho umene umalipila ma MPs? Mr PRESIDENT CHANGE THE REMUNERATION SYSTEM for the whole nation, not this garbage of selective and non-transparent way of doing things. Be the statesman that Malawi so desparately needs at this moment. Have the guts and b!!!!!

  3. jkkkk says:

    Why is Saulosi also following the president everywhere. We expected better from him but I guess he has been sucked in as well and he has become one of them.

  4. big boy says:

    Become an effective communicator raphael

  5. Good citizen says:

    This article is a very good example of how balanced Journalist must approach issues. It is objective. Mr Tenthani Maintain this not what you have been doing few months ago by showing partiality in your approach. I like Jessie Kabwila honest comments on the hike. But ii hate Hon Chakwera hypocritical approach on the same just to agree with you Mr Tenthani. Abusa be careful…..

  6. Apa ndiye Apm+Nankhumwa are cornerd. Wina azadwala nazo bp. Musova

  7. BISM says:

    Thanks Raphael Tenthani,,,, you are spot on, and they need not fool us more!

  8. jongwe says:

    hahahahahaha. achikulire zomwezi mpaka timusake dausi.

  9. KUKHALA says:

    REV. CHAKWERA MUST COME AND CLARIFY THEIR STAND ON POLITICIANS’ SALARY SAGA.

  10. Ngozi pa Ngodzi says:

    Mtolankhuni wankulu iwe dziwa kuti posachedwapa amalawi ayambakupempha kwa Chimnakenji kuti azimitse moto mdziko muno

  11. RFD says:

    These guys are all idiot! The country is literally going down the tubes, turning into a failed state faster than you can say cashgate and what is the best they can offer Malawians? Namecalling and fingerpointing? Useless press releases in the local media? They should all go to hell, pharisees, hypocrites, the whole lot of them, just get the F$^# out!!

  12. ngakha says:

    This is what we call professional journalism boss. Usamaoneka like you just hate some individuals when things are rotting on the other side. Just imagine if Honourable Chakwera silently presided pa burial ya apolisi 9 aja without taking side? Ena akanapusapotu. I hope he has learnt lessons and will change from this rich aeticle

  13. pharisee says:

    verbosity and lack of substance? its like the kettele calling the pot black!!! Tenthani every week u are the epitome of verbosity and lack of substance served woth a dash of hyperbole and pomposity abd fried with perambulation around the periphery!

  14. sniper says:

    kaya as u talkin here malawianz r facing hardships mmakukamu nde kumaoneka ngat azeru apa…

  15. Dausi says:

    U are goats dont deceit to Malawians

  16. Rudolf Phiri says:

    Number 3 Dyakumusi, It seems like chingelezi alemba a tenthanichi Chakudutsanitu. I am a long time MCP suppoerter who was in the fore front from the last days of HKB, to the Gwanda v Tembo fights, to the JZU years up to the rise of Abusa Chakwera.

    Tenthani is one of our finest fearless writers/commentators and we will do well to encourage people like him who will speak their minds uninhibitedly.

    The point he is making, and I agree with, is not that Peter is right and abusa is wrong, ayi! But that there is a tendency for our politicians to just jump in and say things, in criticism against a sitting government, just to be populist by siding with the loud masses. in the process, they fail to clearly state where they stand, popular or not. In the case of the salaries, which you are right were done by Peter and Goodall alone without consulting parliament and the likes of chakwera, the slaries of MPs including Chakwera himself have been obscenely raised. Hon Chakwera has come out to criticise what the Mutharika government has done without involving parliament, but Chakwera has failed to come out and say whether he condemns the increase of the salries, including his own which has gone up by 168%! nNor did he say anything about the increase of allowances from K14/15m to K24m.
    Leadership is about sticking your head out in a crowd and making pronouncements which sometimes may be unpopular but at least shows decisiveness and direction and not just saying things that will sound nice to the voters.

    MCP supporters should not just be cheer leaders for Dr Laz, even where he is showing no spine like this. We have a blundering incompetent greedy government in the DPP with a leader who is clueless, and Chakwera cannot just throw around words like Hypocrite at them and think that is impressive. Even as Followers of MCP, we need to keep the Reverend and his people on their toes because that’s the only way that they can be prepared and start looking as a government in waiting. So far, its not looking impressive, and praise singers like you who want to believe that Dr Laz can do no wrong are not helping.

  17. Wozinyanyala says:

    I think it is stupid to address Chakwera as abusa or man of god. He is also absolutely clueless as to what a man of god should be doing. He also wants money and he like Kabwira who likes publicity are empty tins. Malawi is doomed and Lucius was right to say Bakili was the best President Malawi would ever had in a democratic society. Enawa nde makoswe okhaokha atumbuka amati “mijanctha” a very destructive rat…and thats exactly what Chakwera is. Stealing from the poor and come sunday standing infront of them preaching manyi….shit Chakwera I didnt know you that cheap.

  18. meya says:

    Mpira amauona ndi akunja. Koma ukakhala ndi phuma kuti ndilowe ndine uyu achoke umakathyoka mwendo.

  19. pompo pompo says:

    I think you are now talking like a learnt person. We have been talking of an independent body to look at salaries. Parliament should take its nose out in determining salaries for any arm of government. Kamuzu was a strong leader who looked at qualification of individuals to be where. Look another government had to favour judiciary to get better conditions as if they are the only ones sustaining the economy at the expense of the likes of various specialists in the health sector and education sector. Using tax payers money they come out of the public with their so called press release as if they are now working to support strike by the support staff when they know that they will benefit. It took a certain government to table the bill for their welfare to be improved and thanks for the statement from the spokesperson for finance for not messing words that any government elected by the will of the people can also table a bill to reverse that decision and put it into law that no one is better than the other so all should share the same cake available to all. Where is the justice that they belong to justice ministry. The country is going through troubled times. Malawi congress party should come out with a statement on the injustice the judiciary is trying to impose on an elected government. after all since they are not working now we can also take them to international court to put them into jail for their injustice to behave and try to cheat Malawians that whatever was passed by parliament cannot not be reversed by the same parliament. I am looking forward to the next sitting of parliament to reverse that unjust law. It had happened with the media act why not this one? we have one GOD who is just and all of us are indeed sons and daughters of God let know one shield themselves under the unjust law which is being protected by unjust arm of government. I was also wondering men of God leaving the church and claiming to save people outside the Church……..this is what we are reaping now. Long live JT

  20. God knows who is saying the truth, mukawona kuti dzuwa lalowa m’mitambo sindiye kuti sikudzawala koma kukudikira tsiku lake. God is in control

  21. ndatani says:

    Takomentani timve

  22. mulitani says:

    malawi is doomed
    during the miserable last term of Bingu malawians thought like a blessing in disguise the demise of Bingu and believed we had a lady Moses who actually proved to be clueless just to lead us into another tragedy ‘CASHGATE’ Now the mighty DPP is diving toward the same fate as it did during the time of Bingu, the only visible alternative is ABUSA who’s is also proving weak in political leadership which likely to cause another tragedy even worse than we may perceive
    The only redemption I see before it’s too late lets write a big sign post in big block letters
    MALAWI FOR SALE!!!

  23. Sindikunvetsetsa chomwe mukutanthauza nkulu wanga Tenthani,komano osadandaula masiku sakoma onse,apa ndie mwaphonya.

  24. lilian says:

    Good one Ralph.The Vice President should not follow the President kuli konse in fact it’s a security risk

  25. saini says:

    First is to make money you have only five years before the next government who knows you will be in that government next time 2019 ,let us make money Mr President more salary more allowances that is the moto

  26. Dyakumusi, says:

    A Rapheal Tenthani inu musamakhale ngati mbuzi yopanda mano kumusi! The whole salary increament saga was hatched through the confines of the state house, approved through the same without the knowledge of ministers let alone Chakwela. Ndiye iwe Tenthani ukubwela pano kufuna kunamiza anthu bwanji? If you have started licking Mathanyura’s ass its up to you but for us Malawians we know that MATHANYURA has failed big time to govern this country. H e is not only a hypocrite but clueless and a dunderhead.

    1. Zamanyazi says:

      If you have not understood Tenthani’s argument,just shut up!! Can’t you ask yourself why Chakwera is contradicting the Party Spokesperson? You mean the whole opposition leader can hear about this through media as he claimed? Your outbursts on Raphael are a product of blond loyalty. Chakwera is hypocritical just like Tenthani and his friends who pocketed money from State House and kept quiet until somebody revealed it to the public. Palibepo wabwino apa… Dyakumusi,don’t be a blind follower!!!

  27. Masoambeta says:

    Malawi is uncivilised because our leaders do not tell the truth when it comes to issues of national development.
    There are so many educated folks running different departments displaying aura and pomp unsocial circles. More people are getting higher education than last years. Yet the country is going more to the dogs than before. Surely people like Tenthani must be encouraged to display their constructive criticism. I salute you Lafayele (as we used to call you ku Likuni)

  28. Patriot says:

    Paja Nankhumwa ndi uja analinamiza dziko kuti kuli ma cctv?
    Useless man working in the wrong dept. That is the Ministry of Information NOT MISINFORMATION.
    This minister has failed big time and HE MUST RESIGN.

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