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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53 thoughts on “Wither austerity? Muckracker on Malawi Pres. Mutharika’s business as usual”

  1. Harrison says:

    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.

  2. dickson makhumba says:

    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 the northerners with the Country’sleadership an that shall remain.
    God is nota cruel God a northerners, mark my word.

  3. dickson makhumba says:

    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 bounce back but look at what happened……………………

  4. kukhala says:

    No 10 together with APM PLUS DPP are clueless and BIBIBI

  5. Precious says:


  6. David Bande says:

    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.

    1. Greencardless Malawian says:

      Kagwele uko boot licker!

      1. A man of integrity says:

        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.

  7. wobeba wanga says:

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



  9. Professor Mambosasa says:

    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!!!

  10. kk says:

    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.

  11. Omama says:

    Inu o Tenthani munipweteka ku mtima. Kodi anthuwa olutero? ine mmati tikudikila chitukuko. Onguyendayenda. suja onkati ine Petulo nichita mosiyana ni ewna aja. Lero ndo Okamwendo mnjira. Komanso kunja achita kuti kabineti yonse. O chaponda komweko. Kupepesana akuti adaluza zambiri pa kampeni.
    Mkamaliza uyendako mtikumbuke, ife kuno mankhwala tilije ko Chifu cha Mbewa komanso nangokunva kutinso ko Kayembe H/C dotolo ni mankhwala kulibe.

  12. Mkalapwaga says:

    Malawi will never develop until we try another governing system. I fully support Federalism.. Lets go Fedral Malawi!!! I dream for that time when my beloved home district Mangochi with its bealtiful land mark, the paradise of tourists, both local and international will one day become government headquaters for the province of Eastern region which consists; Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi and Zomba.

    Dpp please stop lobbying the chiefs to oppose the system, as doing so, will only make u look dumb and disgusting.

    Lets debate about this on national level with clean hearts not “kusunjilana kapula pasi pa mkeka”(osati zosungirana mpeni pansi pa mphasa ayi). Northerners have all the rights to demonstrate and push for federalism. Please DPP gurus, allow them to excersise their constitutional rights and conduct refrendum on the issue.

    I rest my case for now, but hey, I will be coming here more often trying to push for Federal Malawi. To my fellow Bothers and Sisters of North, I wish u all the best and do not be intimidated. I see the light at the Tunnel end. It begins with us!!
    Amandla with Fedralism!!!!!!!! Phansi with Central governing system.

  13. Charter says:

    Insightful and entertaining at the same time. People in public office need such scrutiny. What Tenthani has written are facts. There is no hatred there. He used to write as such when JB was in State House. It is true that APM’s wastefulness is apparent; that his cluelessness has come right after inauguration. We may not expect better times as we saw in Bingu’s first term. This presidency is child play.

  14. Reverend says:

    I wish Raphael could be the Raphael we used to know!! Raphael who used to demonstrate the character of a true journalist. One who wouldn’t allow hate of dictate the tone of his articles. In the eyes of Raphael,Muthalika has never done and will never do anything right. Raphael wanted Muthalika to go alone to US for the summit and spend fifteen minutes there… This learned journalist sees no reason for APM doing anything. To him,APM is a failure. I wish your views could influence the poor masses who have no time to read your articles as they gave Muthalika the vote. They are yet to see what he will do for them. They have seen presidents appointing people they know they can work with better. They have seen presidents flying outside the country for prayers using tax payers money. Yes,the locals have heard presidents promising to bring development to them to no avail. Its high time Raphael revisited his strategy. Many will praise you for your articles,few will realize there are people you can’t criticize even if they do bad things… Reason? Search me……… Sindimadana ndi Tenthani,koma zolemba zake pa APM zidandibera chidwi changa pa iye…. Perhaps that’s being a good journalist.

    1. vuvuleza says:

      Tenthani is doing well by exposing the silly mistakes. He is better than praise singers who see no wrong in our president overstaying in America with his 68 assistants. Why 25days when other presidents stay for only 3 days. Shamefully, someone sees sense in defending the indefensible. A beggar showing extravagance to donors. Keep on doing the noble job Tenthani without fear or favour. Malawi and APM need you skills.

  15. Mtheto says:

    MR Tenthani, Peter, and all Malawians are all stupid people, children of same myopic mother. All you know you guys is writing and writing and shouting inside your homes NOTHING MORE………we South Africans we can’t allow such a useless president even bosses we dont care even if they shoot us and we die. Malawians are soo dumb nation, I feel sorry for you guys, no wonder you just populate our country here for nothing.

  16. trouble says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmmm dats da world

  17. MXii says:

    mtsogoleri Osamva Kulira kwa Wanthu Osauka Guys ??? Ali Pheee Akumwa Cream Wine atayangana kumbali ???Mnzakonso MULUZI anatinyoza kuti ndili ndi Sitolo Ine ??? Koma ——

  18. jairosi says:

    powerful and very well written!

  19. elhaji supuni says:

    Peter is fast losing the plot! Why? He has surrounded himself by his fellow lhomwe henchmen in the likes of Chaponda, Ben Phiri etc! Look at the entourage that he has taken to eat our taxes at UN! Lhomwes, lhomwes, lhomwes! And what is Callista the Bingu killer doing there? Worry not fellow Malawians! This is the last time a lhomwe will ever rule Malawi! After Peter, I do not see another Lhomwe ruling Malawi again! Lhomwes have shown fully their stupid greed and nepotism!

  20. Hori says:

    Dead nation at peak

  21. san says:

    Jamie, Peter Chimangeni komanso Dickson ndikufuna aliyense paekha pa ekha azimvere chisoni chofikira kuimfa polephere kuzindikila kuti mukutsatila mtsogoleri olakwika ,onama komanso wa nkhwizi mumveni lafaele tenthani ndi sober mind muziwa kuti akukuonetsani zomwe mukulephera kuona mwanokha….ndi mau amenewa zikomo lagaele tenthani

  22. Don Chigwe says:

    What good has Peter Mutharika done for all Malawians. If anything, it is only alomwe-thieves who have benefitted. Let us push for federation for Malawi to be ruled as a civilised country. Peter Mutharika is not clever. How could he go to the United Nations and sleep in a hotel that costs $17,000/night or K7million per night? This is stupid behaviour in front of donors.

  23. gulule says:

    Very Soon change is coming for Malawi,Peter Mutharika will be defeated to embrace Feudalism…

    The Same People who surrounded Bingu in his downfall are the same people who are surrounding him…He is surrounded by people with clouds hanging on their heads…

    The Big Blame should go to Bakili Muluzi who chose the Mutharikas to be ruling this Country without proper Democratic Means!


      Dickson, if you can’t see sense in what Raphael has written then you must be very STUPID!!! Ndime muhlomwe wadyera, njiru komanso opanda nzeru. Once again, you are a stupid dpp fanatic. Ndichiti chanzeru chimene wachita president wako! Kuchotsa anthu ntchito! Foolish!!!

  24. Dickson says:

    Raphael Tenthani, I and some more malawians have started to raise our eyebrows on your muckracker columns to why you always write to criticize the head of state and in particular Prof. Mutharika……
    Are you trying to tell us that:
    1. Is he the story maker in this republic?
    2. Are you telling us that this H.E. has never done anything good to the nation?
    3. Are all public figures in this republic Angels before you????

    Mr Tenthani, I know you are aware that your column is not the only we read from you reporters so be reminded that every story tells the caliber of the writer and the side he belongs to.
    If you borrow a leaf from other column writers like Edward Chisulo of Raw Staffer, you can win people’s hearts but not the way you are doing…
    I want to believe here that you can testify against yourself that you only write the weaknesses of the current president for the reasons we all know but we can not share them here…..
    Search for other prominent figures if you are indeed a professional reporter than focusing on President Mutharika only otherwise your columns leaves alot to be desired……

    1. Edison C Ngoma says:

      After all is said and a lot of heat genera ted and dissipated;it remains the preside nt’s job to guide policy for the good of the NATION?

    2. Ngugu says:

      Dickson, show Raphael and Malawian another reigning president of Malawi that he should follow and write about.

  25. czar says:

    Zoona zoona he should also know that its 31% only

  26. Thoko says:

    The problem is two ford: Peter Mutharika was never elected he bulldozed himself to power( let us not forget that) that is why he is always clueless and not well put together. The affairs of the state are run by Bright Malopa, Ben Phiri and Mulii Brothers. Secondary, we Malawians are to share the responsibility of the sorry state we have found ourselves in. We have turned a blind eye and accepted business as usual. Where is our moral responsibilty of holding these embesiles accountable??? We need a serious call to action!!!!!!

  27. BigMan says:

    The writer is unfortunately stupid and shallow minded. The idea that the only work that a leader does at the UN is make a speech is totally out of this world! One would expect a journalist to know better. Clearly the chap doesn’t know the president’s schedule, yet he is criticizing it? Lazy journalism.

    1. THE LIGHT says:

      Big man, or is it big manyi? You are stupid yourself. Go to zomba mental hospital if you can’t see any sense in this article. Did you go far with your education? Or it is that group which is ready to lick the anus of the boss to seek favour. You are a stupid and blind follower of dpp, a party of thugs. Rubbish!!!

  28. Peter Chimangeni says:


    1. Kk says:

      He wants APM to be a good leader. JB was rejected by the voters because of the same mistakes peter is emulating.

  29. Dawood says:

    malawi z finish to the ground…blame to blame 2 anybody bt nothing will bring malawi to the greener land…we just nid to stand together and b strong so life goes on….bt we like it or not the presdent got nothing to do with the downfall of of malawi……

  30. Jamie says:

    Agalu. So, whats your problem? Zitsiru. Tikhalire kumvera za inu ziko lino. Why do you hate DPP that much? Ndipo muzilemba maina anu pa ma articles amene mumapanga post. Tizikuziwani. Eeeh! Mtumbuka ndi kanyama kanji? Mfiti.

  31. Jamie says:

    So, whats your problem? Zitsiru. Tikhalire kumvera za inu ziko lino. Why do you hate DPP that much? Ndipo muzilemba maina anu pa ma articles amene mumapanga post. Tizikuziwani. Eeeh! Mtumbuka ndi kanyama kanji? Mfiti.

  32. Jamie says:

    So, whats your problem? Paja a nyasatimes nonse ndinu atumbuka. Zitsiru. Tikhalire kumvera za inu ziko lino. Why do you hate DPP that much? Ndipo muzilemba maina anu pa ma articles amene mumapanga post. Tizikuziwani. Eeeh! Mtumbuka ndi kanyama kanji? Mfiti

  33. Belo says:

    Awo nimatchona. Pachikaya mtchona nayo wakuwa nafundo? Usually mtchona is just given a chance to speak and the elders will say can we start frm where we stopped. Mtchonas ar pple who compare lyf yakumene amadyelera kuja.

  34. patriot says:

    Choosing the mutharika’s is……THE CURSE

  35. kukukuki says:

    Dont be fooled all Politicians fuck the same ass tax payers money. Just make sure you work hard inorder to keep them fucking.

  36. salimu says:

    Peter is behaving like a true African. As long as Malawi has a “Malawian” ruler nothing will change. So please let’s not vilify Peter it’s not his fault. I have watched journalists who most of the time try to portray political leaders as useless behaving like idiots themselves. Auction the country to the west if you want development.

  37. pitala says:

    achewas and lomwes in their large #s are the ones who just see and laugh at this, all this bcoz of being uneducated.. they think its only the knolwedge of calculas dat can change it but not.. ur phone and toys gat calculators also ngati mufuna kuyisova.

  38. Nankungwi says:

    No! we are not cursed but in some ways we are shallow minded ourselves! we dwell on the negative!For anybody who wants to be objective you can see that Peter is doing his best.

    Not sacking people politically does not mean not sacking people at all !There are a lot of people in jobs which peter has not touched but you can understand him changing some of them! you can’t have an ambassodor in a major ally country who basically diasagrees with your policies! how can you be sure that he wil do what you want?

    When the president leave the country it has been almost cultural to see him off! I am not a president but every time I fly from wherever in the world there is always a group of people who see me off! so to think that the president will ever fly off without a single person making sure he has taken off safely is self deceit!

    I still belive he is an educated political manager who says little but achieves a lot and all your criticism is politically motivated which is shameful on your part Raphael! you are always biased anyway you have never learned how to give a n objective analysis on any subject! all your work is like that!

    1. Daniel Phiri says:

      “…who says little but achieves a lot…”. Next time please try to list those achievements. Even those people who didn’t vote for him, like myself, would like to see him succeed because if he performs well then all of us will benefit. This is something DPP diehards do not seem to understand: There is no hatred towards APM as a person but rather hatred towards the business as usual culture.

      As Raphael has rightly pointed out, APM’s brother also started with a large section of Malawians being skeptical of him; but he won us over with his ‘business unusual’ first term. As result he got a landslide for his second term. Unfortunately this is when all the madness started. The rest, as they say, is history.

      If APM starts getting his act together, he will start getting good comments from most Malawians. There is no magic to this…

  39. c. Phwisani says:

    The guy is clueless and he only think about his tribe. Ndikukumbukila zaka zapitazo mu ulamulilo WA Dpp ma Chinese anapeleka ma scholarship koma anangogawana okhaokha Ana a Kaliyati ndi anzawo ndi omwe anatumizidwa Ku China,ovutika nkumavutikabe,Malawi sadzatheka dyela atsogoleli.

  40. Craniwell Yabooka says:

    Federalism now! Neighboring Zambia is developing at a fast rate. Cities being connected with double lane highways while in Malawi leaders are developing Muhlakho belt. My home of Ntcheu despite overwhelmingly voting for DPP in the last two elections has been offered “nothing”.

    1. Mavuto Jombo says:

      Nanga opusa ndi ndani pamenepo? Therefore we can conclude people from Ntcheu are the most stupid people I have ever seen!

  41. John says:

    He is showing the Malawi nation the middle finger, that is so true. But the Northerners will show him BOTH middle fingers. The writing is on the wall, so sooner than his brother’s.

    1. Substute the word ‘northerners` with malawians to keep the following comments on track, or you aim at it?

    2. OBABA says:

      Substute the word northerners with malawians to keep the next coments on the right track else you aim at detracking

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