Bingu was right about devaluation

The regime of Joyce Banda is experiencing the sternest test of its ability to manage the political economy of Malawi. Having spent a great deal of her vice presidency suffering the persecution of the DPP,  Her Excellency  Banda has been rudely awakened to the realities of leadership. As President, Mrs Banda has to live with two facts, despite the best efforts at her organic intellectuals to hide the reality from her.

We at Nyasa Times would be failing in our duty if we did not remind our President about these two facts.

First is that the very strikes she supported as Vice President, most of them about governance, have returned. This time, they are about economic hardships. When Bingu wa Mutharika died, a much despised president among civil society leaders and others who listened to and believed what they were told, it was as if he was the devil incarnate.

This time, the strikes are about the genuine expression of the hardships that people are experiencing in the localities they live. They are about increasing costs of water and electricity; unpaid utility bills including unpaid rentals. 

To meet these rising costs of living, civil servants have resorted to small medium businesses even during working hours. The best eggs, the best chickens, the best designer clothes or the best food items are being sold from the Capital Hill offices. Civil servants have become vendors. Teachers have become comprado farmers….Paid employment has become a past-time!

Second is that, Bingu was right about devaluation. At the time of his death, Bingu could not speak above the very many lies that civil society organizations and politicians had told us about him. We do know he was a dictator, we lived through his dictatorship. But we also lived through his speeches and his many dreams that we did not have time to analyse.

Bingu told us something that we at the Nyasa Times cannot ignore – which the daily strikes and other forms of public displeasure with the current government seem to confirm. In fact, it amazes Nyasa Times that some political scientists can allege that the huge patronage at Peter Mutharika’s rallies is because people are being ferried there; or that people are just curious to see him.

The truth is, Peter represents the Bingu that people are beginning to wake up to. The Bingu we were not ready to listen to, even if he was a bad communicator.

Bingu said devaluation is going to hurt Malawians. It was a message he repeated several times, even during the public lecture he delivered at the Lilongwe State House, when some of us were protesting against him in the streets of Malawi.

Right now, devaluation is hurting. Just as Bingu said.

We might coat the language of these difficult times in sugary phrases justifying a brief transition that we must all go through as the economy is being fixed. But how do we fix the economy by increasing the obscene perks for politicians when we are all being told to take pay cuts?

Nyasa Times will continue reminding Malawians that it was most of our civil society organizations that went to our western donors, pleading with them to institute sanctions against our country, as a way of forcing Bingu out. Ironically, with the exception of John Kapito, the same institutions are silent, when a Justice Minister  is phoning the lawyer for Matilda Katopola, threatening to hurt his future and profession, just because he is representing someone he disagrees with.

The same institutions are silent, when the president’s indecisive security policies are contributing to the rising crime rates in the country. They are even dead silent, when one of the PP vice presidents has been able to amass so much wealth in just four months.

Yet the truth is an ugly fact that is very handsome. The truth about the direction of the country’s economics cannot be hidden.

In fact, some months ago “a prophet” by the name of Thom Webster Bingu wa Mutharika foretold this disaster. Devaluation will hurt ordinary Malawians.

We at the Nyasa Times have the responsibility to tell you the truth.

To tell you otherwise would be an abrogation of our responsibility.

Bingu was always right on this point.

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