Wither austerity? Muckracker on Malawi Pres. Mutharika’s business as usual

If a problem is fixable,  then there is no need to worry;  If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying” –Dalai Lama

I find President Peter Mutharika quite an interesting character. He seems to know what he has to do and says – albeit inaudibly – all the right things at the right time. It must be his long years as a university don.

Ok, ok, forgive him for his yester years’ misadventures as a government minister. He flunked his time at Justice (those crazy laws empowering ministers to ban publications at their whim), made a cartoon of himself at Education (failed to give leadership during the eight-month academic freedom saga) and completely lost it at Foreign Affairs (failed to advise big brother that it was suicidal to expel Her Majesty’s top diplomat).

President Peter Mutharika: Business as usual

President Peter Mutharika: Business as usual

But, hey, he had an eccentric brother at the helm; it was not his time.

His time is now. But then he still seems, for some reason, to be clueless how to implement his otherwise lofty ideas.

Take, for instance, his vow not to sack public officers on political grounds and check the village of officers he has sacked even before he clocked a hundred days in office.

He also vowed his will be a ‘business unusual’ administration, but whatever policy action he takes makes you remember the oft abused saying, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.

Peter did well to make good his vow to keep his Cabinet dogs to a manageable 20. But look at what the old dude did? He cancelled all the benefits from that lean Cabinet when he roped in a village of advisers and pseudo advisers.

Add to that his gullibility to choose to work with the very crowns that confused and misled his big brother.

The President also vowed to implement austerity measures in the affairs of government. He vowed not to attend international conferences where benefits to the country were negligible. For example, Peter did not attend the African Union summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

But, of course, he had to fly to Washington to attend Barack Obama’s picnic with African leaders. Which African leader can miss the opportunity to be in the same room with the first ‘African’ leader of the free world?

Indeed, of course, he had to attend the SADC summit in Victoria Falls because he had inherited the chairmanship from Joyce Banda and it could have been an insult to send a proxy to hand it over to big man Mugabe at Mosi o’Tunya.

And, again, I cannot fault Peter for attending his first United Nations summit in New York. He has to announce his arrival on the world stage.

But did he have to fly to the Big Apple a week before the summit with a bloated entourage in tow? And I am told he will be away for a good 25 days. Whatever for?

And this is the guy who told us he will not go on a honeymoon after his hasty betrothal to Hendrina Gertrude because he wanted to save government money. What is he going to do in the US for 25 days when he is only needed on the lectern for only 15 minutes to address the world? How much money will we lose to keep our president and his hangers-on for a good month in the US? Where is the austerity in such wastefulness?

And did you see the village of ministers and government officials who saw him off to the US on that Sunday? Ok, it is our tradition for whole government machinery to close shop to see off one guy who is going out on a scheduled trip.

But, hey, Peter Mutharika told us his would be a ‘business unusual’ way of doing business. Could he not have left quietly without all the needless pomp and ceremony? How much money in drivers and security officers’ allowances do the ministers and government officials blow in such useless junkets?

Ok, his apologists will tell the Muckraker that ‘but Bakili, Bingu, Joyce had all this pomp and ceremony’. True that. But this guy vowed not to be as ordinary as Atcheya, Mose and Ama for crying out loud!

Talking about his international junkets, we faulted Ama for globe-trotting on chartered jets, be they hired by well-wishers or otherwise. But here was our ‘business unusual’ Peter having the audacity of telling us that he had to charter a jet from Mosi o’Tunya because he could not afford to endure a seven-hour wait for a connecting flight to Lilongwe at OR Airport!

Some of us still have the hope that Peter Mutharika just might be that transformational leader Malawi has been seeking for for the last 50 years. Kamuzu tried and failed in some areas; Bakili, too, tried to take us to the Promised Land but stumbled along the way; Bingu started well but lost it when his ego got the better of him; Ama failed to get the clue when fate gifted her two years to lord over us.

We thought Peter may be the anointed one. But while his brother allowed us a breather of five years before he showed us how ordinary he was, Peter has managed to show us he is as ordinary as they come in less than 100 days.

Are we cursed as a nation that we cannot get a leader who cannot show us the middle finger for the simple crime that we elected them?

 

*The article first appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper under Muckracking column

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Harrison
Guest

Not good at all. Mr. President you promised the people of Lower Shire and Malawians at large to open the Port of Nsanje not sooner than you are sworn in. Where are now? Anyway do what you want cause approximately only 30 people in a 100 voted for you. I would rate you the most unpopular president of all times.

dickson makhumba
Guest
Mtumbuka Wopenya…… You see the problem with the Tumbukas now, hating Lhomwes without any apparent reason. The President has been in office for three months and you expected him to build airport and the new city in Ekwendeni?????????????? Come on……. This selfish heart which made late Kamuzu to chase all Tumbukas from South and Central of wanting to posses everything will make you the northerners to remain the tail. South ad Central knows very well how wicked the northerners are and they can never vote nor allow a northerner to led this country even God is always afraid of entrusting… Read more »
dickson makhumba
Guest
Mr Supuni…………… castigating Lhomwes will never bring any change nor hating the Mutharika family. Remember you voted for your JB, Chakwela and Muluzi but it never worked out. Its high time that no tribe will fight the Lhomwes and we will keep on supporting each other like what we did on 20th May 2014. We won the elections without you voting for us and imagine us winning while in opposition, do yu thing we are silly enough to loos while in Government? Ask JB, Chakwera through her Kabwila and Atupele, all these had that stupit thinking that DPP could not… Read more »
kukhala
Guest

No 10 together with APM PLUS DPP are clueless and BIBIBI

Precious
Guest

THANKS TENTHANI FOR MUCKRACKING.
THE PROBLEM IS OUR CONSTITUTION AS REGARDS SELECTING LEADERS.
IT SEEMS TO ME THE SOUTH HAS NO UNDERSTANDING FOR QUALITY LEADERSHIP AND THATS WHY THE KEEP COMING UP WITH JOKES OF PRESIDENT.
MUCH AS WE ARE ADVOCATING FEDERALISM, WE SHOULD IDEALLY ALSO BE TALKING AND ADVOCATING ROTATING PRESIDENCY. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO JUDGE LEADERSHIP MORE ON A RATIONAL RATHER THAN TRIBAL BASIS i.e. IF CANDIDATES FROM ONE REGION ARE COMPETING, IT WILL BE MORE LIKELY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO JUDGE THEM BY THEIR, LEADERSHIP QUALITIES AND IDEAS.

David Bande
Guest

Point of correction: The former British High Commissioner was declared persona-non-grata when Hon, Etta Banda was Minister of Foreign Affairs and not as represented by Raphael Tenthani. He keeps repeating this claim which tells me he’s a hidden agenda.

Greencardless Malawian
Guest
Greencardless Malawian

Kagwele uko boot licker!

A man of integrity
Guest

You are also out of order for calling somebody we is setting the records straight a boot liicker. Any criticism worthy noticing should be backed by true facts otherwise you totally miss the point. By the way most Malawians one of them is you do not like to hear the truth. Instead you love hearsays that is why development is eluding us 50 years after independence.

wobeba wanga
Guest

His Time Is Now!!!!!!!!!!! Let Him Enjoy………. Big Up APM.

Arthur G.M. Mtambo
Guest

TENTHANI KEEP ON EDUCATING THE PUBLIC, OSAMANGOOMBERA MANJA AYI, THAWI IMENEYO INATHA KALE.

GOD SAVE SOULS OF MALAWIANS WHO ARE CRYING EVEY-NOW AND THEN.

Professor Mambosasa
Guest

Sooner or later we will realise that we put into power through hook or crook the worst ever president of Malawi: Someone who mumbles when talking. someone without any idea how how run a country, someone who behaves like a comedian on a political podium, someone who doesn’t know why he is president of a country, someone who has no control over national affairs, someone who appears dull and sort of imbecile, someone who is really really nothing!!! We are in deep trouble!!!

kk
Guest

A Raphel Tenthani timadziwa kuti mumalimbana ndi Peter mwagwa nayo. Just wait for North to be a country on its own, you will go back to ur papa and start hating your fellow Chihana Enock or Ngwira Nzomera poti nawonso makandawa akufuna atakhala President wa dziko. kikiki ana osankhwima pa nchombo. U want us to develop north and yet you are busy building houses in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba waiting for us to build Mzuzu city kutsiya Lilongwe yathu yabwinoyi. Mwagwa nayo.

wpDiscuz

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