Talking to the President of Malawi

I had the time and opportunity to watch and listen to MBC TV’s “Talk to the President” programme on Sunday  night, January 17 2016.  In this programme hosted by Mgeme Kalilani, the President is given the opportunity to respond to questions sent earlier by the “people. For all its weaknesses, which I will present later, the initiative need to be commended as an attempt by the presidency to get closer to the people.

President Mutharika

President Mutharika

The first issue I want to raise is the ambience and spendour, and opulence of the interview room. I have watched interviews where Christine Largarde, Barak Obama, John Cameron have been hosted.

The decor of the rooms in which these interviews have been conducted have been clean and fit for purpose, but never the apparent opulence that Talk to the President exhibited. The interview looked more of the opulence one saw in Central African Republic’s Francois Bozize’s or  Mobutu Seseko’s throne rooms. I would beg to be understood here. When I am referrring to Bozize or Mobutu’s throne room, this is less to do with the dictatorships and authoritarianism, but really on how the power was being projected.

Despite being one of the “poorest” nations on the planet, our President  was sitting on one of the biggest chairs on the planet. And this is not good for public relations. This sends the wrong message.

The second issue I want to comment on is the President’s own admission that there had been a break in the Talk to the President since November last year. So two months or so had passed, despite the fact that the programme was scheduled to have been recorded and broadcast.

In the President’s explanation, this is because he had travelled abroad and he had “played cat and mouse” (this is what the President himself said) with Mgeme Kalilani. I estimate the President did not fully appreciate the meaning of what he said. “Mr President, cat and mouse?” Those of us who have to engage with colleagues in the public service have this misfortune of meeting people who play “cat and mouse” with us. They say the document will be ready on such and such a date and what happens is that other things come into their way  and they can not deliver as promised. Mr President, let our yeah be yeah. When we say we will have “Talk to the President” which be broadcast every month, every month it must be.  There are no excuses and the country out there will learn  that we mean business. You can’t play cat and mouse with Mgeme. Please show Mgeme that you are trustworthy.

The last point I want to criticise is the president’s statement towards fraudsters, tax evaders and  illegal forex externalisers.  The president stated: “we know your methods now..” No, Mr President, if we come one step after the criminals we will always be outpaced. Government does not need to know the methods of the criminals after the fact. Government must be ahead of the criminals, and not behind. We have to know what the criminals are thinking before they even do it.

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8 thoughts on “Talking to the President of Malawi”

  1. Bondo says:

    Aaaaa this is useless and worth to be called trash …very archaic . All the arguments raised sound illogical and mediocre. Please if you have nothing to say just keep quite

  2. Justice Lazarus Smock says:

    Nothing more 2say bcoz we are stranded,Idon’t know where this country is going and these leaders are leading us to

  3. phetelere says:

    I feel so sympathetic with the type of arguments raised by this writer. He is fixated in a stone age mentality. The president does not furnish the state house. Its you the people through your taxes that you decide what he sits on or drives. He does not tell the detail to lay the red carpet. So did you want the president to be sitting on a rock or tree trump? Come this is 21st century and start thinking big.

  4. Lindo says:

    Analyst why don’t you take you own advice and shut up.

    1. The Analyst says:

      It takes wisdom to listen to wisdom.
      takes wisdom and courage to accept advice.
      It is a lack of both wisdom and courage therefore, to refuse to take a word of advice.
      Choose to be wise and couageous, my friend.

  5. The Analyst says:

    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O
    Most people do not suceed in life, not necessarily because they dont do something or anything; but because they do something worth less OR focus on trivial and little itsy-bitsy nothings.
    . . . Are you sure that the ambience in which an interview is staged in more important and worthy of criticism than the content of the interview itself?
    . . . Are you sure that the size of a chair is a symbol of opulence? Is it not quality, maybe? Even if the size or quality of the chair on which the president was sitting is more important than the content of the interview, to you; is this even an issue worth one’s mighty pen, ink and mind on, anyway?

    Come on Adamson, you can reason better than this!
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Sadly, you arent even comprehensive in your arguments but what wrong message is being sent here and to whom? Are you sure you are so afraid of the donors that you even expect the president to be wearing sackclothes, sleeping on a mat and walking in his bare feet?

    Going further in your weak and higgledy-piggledy arguments, you assert that the government should always outwit criminals in thought. Are you sure that this is possible?
    . . . Who can wear the mind of a thief, but a thief? Who but someone with amayembe (ask the Ugandans) can read another’s mind?
    . . . Who doesn’t know, but only a man who cares not to look around; that today’s great works are but improvements of previous inventions and discoveries e.g. technologies?
    Thus, the criminal or fraudster or thief, will always study the system, improve their skills and beat it, no matter how improved it may be.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Now listen . . .

    While . . . “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill.

    Realising this is a mark of wisdom. As such, if you we have nothing of worthy to criticise, it is better to keep schtum.

    This; . . . , is an advice from a friend.
    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………O

  6. Rankin Kumwenda says:

    It is a useless programme.

  7. Goodall cosmory Chisale says:

    Are you baffled by the Presidential opulence???? He is someone who had a red carpet rolled for him when visiting flood victims last year. The long and the short of it is that he is simply a joke of a President.

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