Many years ago when Aleke Kadonaphani Banda, may his good soul continue to rest in eternal peace, was Minister of Agriculture there was an Agriculture Policy conference somewhere in Lilongwe.
As a green journalist, learning the ropes of the trade, I was told to make sure I get hold of the minister’s opening speech in order to get the story right.
After the speech, we broke for tea and I got my trusty speech. Ideally, the minister was supposed to leave after the speech and, with him, his PSes and directors…
But not with Aleke; he went back to the plenary, which meant the lot of us had to stick it out.
At 5pm the Master of Ceremonies said the day was gone so we should break for the day. But AKB rose up to inquire: “The next day’s programme starts at 8. But we still have two sessions left today; you mean we have to come at 6am tomorrow to finish today’s left-overs before we tackle tomorrow’s programme?”
The Director of Ceremonies got the cue and ordered the session to continue.
It was not until after 8pm when we closed for the day!
Such was AKB for you, workaholic extraordinaire.
And we seem to have an Aleke incarnation on our hands. Saulos Chilima, the Vice President, goes to the office at 8.30 and leaves after everyone has left.
I know Saulos is a private sector product; he wants to inculcate in the public sector the hardworking spirit of the private sector through leading by example.
Apparently he is aware of Law 45 from The 48 Laws of Power that too much change is traumatic and may lead to revolt if the ‘changer’ does not lead by example.
Take, for example, the ministers’ retreat in Mangochi where he never forced any minister to be punctual but he silently adjusted the closing time by the same minutes or hours that the ministers delayed.
This is the spirit if we hope to reform the civil service’s laissez-faire attitude to work.
By mirroring the spirit of Aleke, Angoni is telling us that all is not lost for our dear country.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
The article first appeared in the Sunday Times