I do not really like the former president, Joyce Banda, just because she does not appeal to my customized taste of political leaders. But when I read the press statement which she released recently on June 29 2015 where she was responding to accusations that have been levelled against her by President Mutharika and the DPP government, I was unfortunately very impressed by the tactical politics well played in the entire statement.
Though the statement is entitled a response to accusations of Mutharika and the DPP government, Joyce Banda is clearly targeting a broader audience and she is not just responding to Mutharika and government. Rather, she is pleading with interested parties in Malawi and especially the international community whose sympathy she values the most, that she is a pure victim of political witch-hunt. She is de-linking her questionably prolonged stay outside Malawi from rumors that she fears corruption charges, and instead presents herself as a possible defenseless target of an assassination or a political prisoner should she return home.
In order to legitimize her victimization and persecution, she has calculatedly, with facts and real incidences, presented Mutharika to the world as a desperate leader who is obsessed with causing her harm and or getting her arrested on fabricated charges. Joyce Banda has also presented Mutharika to the international community as a hypocrite who tells the world one thing reconciliatory about her and does the contrary vengeful thing the next minute. In this regard, Joyce Banda has successfully made Mutharika and the DPP guilty of plotting against her, and made herself innocent of running away from corruption charges.
But I am not surprised at the politics that Joyce Banda has played here. Banda is a political tactician, and a very good one. What she has done in this press statement is that she has gathered the weaknesses of Mutharika and the DPP and made them her strengths. She has just taken everything that Mutharika and his government have carelessly said and done and used these shortfalls against them to earn herself some legitimate story to escape returning back home. With such a story, even if a legitimate case is filed against her on cash-gate, she can easily claim political asylum among her darling Westerners who already enjoy her presence and interaction.
I know that some people may not agree with my analysis and assertion that Banda is a political tactician, who seeks the easier way out by exploiting weaknesses of her stronger opponents to build her greatness, or to position herself advantageously to secure quick and short-term benefits. But when you look at her presidency between 2012 and 2014, you will agree with my analysis and assertions on tactics of Banda.
When she became president in April 2012, she had less than 24 months to change Malawi which was on the verge of collapsing and face the ballot the same time. Banda, the tactician, made everything simple for herself by utilizing the weaknesses of her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika, and made them her strengths just like she has done to young Mutharika in the press statement: Joyce Banda simply indentified what went wrong with Mutharika’s presidency and decided just to do the opposite of that.
For example, she knew that Mutharika had fights with donors over gay rights, extravagance, the presidential jet, and autocratic tendencies. She knew that Bingu had problems with Malawians over issues like bad laws, the national flag, fuel shortages, forex reserves and Zero Deficit Budget. And she also knew for certain that Bingu had problems with the IMF over the devaluation of the Kwacha and related economic policies.
To build her own strength, Banda simply reversed everything that had made Mutharika evil, whether it was right or wrong, important or useless: She simply promised the IMF she was going to everything they wanted. She told Parliament to repeal anti-homosexual laws, she repealed the infamous bad laws, reverted to the old flag, abolish the Zero Deficit Budget, floated the exchange rate regime and devalued the kwacha without even thinking. And soon fuel was back, forex reserves boosted, diplomatic ties restored and etc. And all the noisy CSO leaders were gagged and some of them like Undule Mwakasungula just retired and met with God.
As a matter of fact, another sign of her tactics can be evidenced by how she quickly commissioned an audit inquiry into the cash-gate corruption scandal soon after the shooting of Paul Mphwiyo, the Budget Director, and released the report so quickly. Banda knew that, whether she was part of it all not, she need do distance herself from Cash-gate with visible evidence before Elections and she managed to do that just in time. And her miserable loss of the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections were not because she failed to give substantial change or because of cash-gate. I think I will get sometime soon to share with hard facts, why Banda lost Elections, and why she could and will never be President through the ballot.
However, my point here is that Banda is becoming stronger, because DPP is becoming weaker in the manner they are pursuing her. The best way, is to stop pursuing her, and concentrate on governing the country. If it’s about her involvement in cash-gate, then just provide the evidence and request her to come home and defend herself.
But even if she does not return to answer to the charges, Malawians have worse problems than her. After all, such cases don’t yield anything. We already have Muluzi walking free even visiting the State House and maybe I am the only one who does not understand how his corruption case ended or even how his back got cured.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :