Postcard to Peter Mutharika: Tenthani’s Muckraking

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the wayJohn C. Maxwell

Your Excellency, while you were away a lot of things happened back here. We know your team of dedicated lieutenants kept you up to speed on these goings-on.

Mutharika: Mist over his US trip

Mutharika: Mist over his US trip

But official reports are always embellished with some niceties to avoid shocking you or wounding your sensitivities. Do we not know that leaders ensconce themselves in some ivory towers of “hear no evil, see no evil”?

So it is the duty of the muckraking community to tell you the truth, Sir, as it is.

But first things first, I have noticed that you are quickly adopting this dangerous “it’s the fault of everybody else but me” mentality.

Let me explain.

At the end of your US tour you took issue with the media for “speculating” that you attended a function that had already taken place a few weeks earlier.

But what you cleverly, nay, deliberately ignored to acknowledge, Sir, was the fact that the media got the information from your office. In fact the original information pointed to the fact that you had a personal invite from the leader of the free world himself, Barack Obama, to the International Conservation Caucus Foundation for the 2015 US Congregational international Conservational Gala.

This, for want of a better word, was obviously a blue lie. But you personally unabashedly gave it credence by also gloating over it on your official Facebook page when you used the same untruthful words like “…at the invitation of US President Barack Obama”.

But, somehow, you realised someone had called – or would call – your bluff and you quickly edited your original Facebook entry without explaining why Obama had crept in into your original post and silently disappeared in the current one.

But, Sir, I used the word “embellish” earlier. I would be presumptuous to imagine that you update the so-called “statuses” on your social media pages. Maybe some overzealous handler among your many aides and advisers decided – on his or her own – to make you look a bit more ‘important’ than you are by throwing in the magical Obama name.

But, before I continue, can I beg you against aping everything Uhuru Kenyatta does? Your Facebook page looks suspiciously like a ‘copy and past’ of the Kenyan guy. But I am at pains not to tell you he is smarter or has smarter aides…

That said, as an academic with nearly half a century of experience to boot, I would not imagine you allowing information in your name to go out without your approval. So I would like to believe the half-truths, exaggerations and complete lies on your page had your seal of approval.

While still at that, as an accomplished real PhD holder and real academic professor, what was this excitement with some nondescript award that makes no sense at all to any one? I could excuse the Big Kahuna for getting excited with some fake Chinese professorship or some of your other predecessors going all over the moon with some honorary doctorate awards.

But how could a real professor like you get excited with an award that is as fake as the paper it was printed on? They say they invited you to DC so that they award you for your conservation efforts. What conservation efforts, if I may respectfully ask?

Granted, I am more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that we have not seen the best of you yet in the field of conservation for you are hardly a toddler in office, as it were. But this is the more reason why this award is wanting, not only premature but also an insult to Malawians.

In fact, if truth be told, if the organisers of this fake award were credible they should have stripped you of it the moment you failed to incinerate that confiscated ivory using the very lame reasons you gave. How could you say you could not set alight the four tonnes of contraband ivory you had already netted because of the two million more tonnes that still had to wait for the courts to ascertain whether they are legal or not?

That, I must say, was executive baloney!

By the way, allow me to ask: what is it with these fake awards and African leaders? Why are these fake awards hedonistically attractive so that they should be acceptable to African leaders as if they have some aphrodisiacal potency in them?

Former British premier Tony Blair was right on the ball when he said “the art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

Your Excellency, you should have been able to say, “Thanks for the award but, no thanks, I am yet to deserve such recognition.”

Oh, I have also noted that you, too, have started flying those little hired toys on your joy rides. I recall you complained spending seven hours connecting to Lilongwe at O.R. Tambo the other day. So hired jets they should be. But at what cost, Sir?

The figures being quoted for you flying one of those VistaJet birds are obscene, trust me, considering that we have just graduated from a “zero-deficit” to his more ominous cousin “zero-aid” budget. Considering that you went to collect a nondescript award ten days too early you just might have to explain this needless expenditure to your impoverished citizens.

But, hey, we got carried away by your US joy ride. Let us get back to issues of the day.

Honestly, Your Excellency, considering that you flew to DC just to stretch your legs because the award does not justify both the time and cost, I would have expected you to cut short your visit, head for the Mahlamba Ndlopfu Residence in Pretoria or Nkandla in KwaZulu Natal to have a tête-à-tête with Jacob Zuma on the plight of Malawians who are being butchered for the mere reason that they are Malawian.

Surely it was insensitive of you, Your Excellency, to be imbibing Kentucky Trace in Washington while accepting an award nobody can explain when your countrymen were being butchered like pigs ready for the Christmas braai stand.

Some dimwits in your administration will tantalise your impressionable self that you were still in charge thousands of kilometres away in your US $7,000 villa. Actually some crazy minister in the team of clowns that made your big brother soil his otherwise illustrious first years actually lied to the Big Kahuna that because of the wonders of technology he could still be in charge while being thousands of kilometres away.

That old chap is still in your circle and he might be feeding you with the same executive balderdash.

But why do leaders where technology is light years ahead of us still cut short their holidays or official trips to hanker down with technocrats during emergencies? Ask David Cameron or your fictitious host these past weeks Barack Obama.

You yourself, Sir, showed some rare leadership traits when you cancelled a scheduled trip to Maputo when half your country was submerged in water. Was it perhaps because the Mozambican 2M and prawns were less nutritious than the Washington’s champagne and caviar?

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kusyeje
Guest

Anthu inu tangibvomerani kuti M’Malawi nzathu akutha kutilankhulira bcoz Malawians are dunderheads we dont ask these pertinent questions to our leaders be it at constituency level up to our employed head of state.

Mfwethu
Guest

So just because the government can foot the hired plane bills then waiting for a connection has become something inimical to APM? Has he done that all his ADULTHOOD life when going to the same destination? Power really corrupts completely even to those we thought would better understand what Malawi as a country needs.

mdk
Guest

Muzingokhalila kupwetekedwa mtima till 2019 and beyond.i feel sorry for you guys kkkkkkkkkkkk

Kenkkk
Guest

Remember last time he went to USA, he promised us investors will flood malawi. Where r they? No different this time except that he smelled some serious conservation dollars coMing our way to thank us for promising to destroy the ivory and miraculously he becomes a staunch conservationists. Since when Peter? Just following where the money is kuti Abe bwino, enrich themselves and beef up dpp coffers.

The money will be squandered unless you tell us now how it is going to be used so that we can verify on the ground.

Malindima
Guest

I heard that APM doesn’t waste his time reading stuff pasted on Nyasa as JB . JB cited the reason why Bingu collapsed was the trash being pasted on Nyasa.
Good move!

Vimbuza Masekese
Guest

Komatu inu obwana oLafayele mudzagwetsa munthu ndi bp

Teacher
Guest

I wish I had the ability to articulate issues as the Muckraker does. I salute you Mr Tenthani. These are the questions each and every sane Malawian ought to be asking. For the sake of patriotism and developing Malawi. We indeed have leaders who still believe in cheap politics.

What about?
Guest

I haven’t finished reading. I have a question. Is “copy and paste” synonymous with “copy and past”?

grea
Guest

This is a great article i have never read, its just sweet reading it, But would you put it in print media for more coverage

jimbo
Guest
This kind of journalism is essential in a democracy. The President and government must be challenged and held to account. The article is well written and demands a response from the President’s Office. Erukuruku at No. ! also speaks truthfully. With Malawi’s very poor infrastructure, uneducated workforce and lack of resources, who would want to invest in the country? The educational qualifications in Malawi are not worth the paper they are written on. The standard of English spoken/written by Form Four graduates is extremely poor and the knowledge they gained during their education is skin deep. I am afraid Malawi… Read more »
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