Bingu’s Impotence: Change or be changed

By Wise One From the East

The thrust of the July 20 Mass Demonstrations, after all has been said and done and after due honour has been accorded to each and every one of the people that laid down their lives for a better Malawi, was to highlight to the Government in no uncertain terms issues that required urgent attention.

These were contained in the petition that was signed, sealed and delivered with much ceremony, a lot of blood being spilled, journalists being beaten till they were barely recognisable, and the civil society leaders being crushed as if they were the ones responsible for the economic wilderness that Malawi has found herself in.

The Government was given ample time to take action. It was given a full month. To date, nothing has happened; save for the usual fiery but empty rhetoric. Instead of soberly examining the twenty issues raised and taking action as appropriate, the Government as has been the trend, is looking for an easy way out.

It is busy saying and doing everything except addressing the reasonable and wise recommendations drawn by Civil Society. It is threatening and intimidating rivals and other voices of reason, engaging in useless party restructuring, shuffling the military hierarchy, paying the police men and women who implemented the shoot to kill policy and a milliard of other inconsequential gestures.

And now it has a religious excuse to pre-empt the inevitable demonstration that will follow if the above demands are not met by August 17.

“I don’t want to hear of any demonstrations this month because it is a month of prayers,” This is Mutharika in a speech on August 1 from Lilongwe, broadcast on state radio. “That way we will respect all Muslims in the country.”

What does Bingu want to hear about? Praise songs and speeches? Has he not heard and had enough of these? And where will praise for a failure, a man who cannot do the simplest of things for the betterment of his peoples’ lives, take the nation? Where in the world did praise-singing for a mortal man provide power and energy for industry? Where did it provide medicine? Where did it result in better livelihoods for the people?

What everyone expects to hear from Bingu are daily updates on action(s) taken on the twenty requests as he ticks them off one by one. Some of the demands are so simple, so easy to implement and so relevant that one does not need education beyond Junior Certificate to appreciate their relevance to the dire straits that the Malawi economy is currently reeling in.

To forestall the demonstrations and respect the Moslems (assuming this is true as it can be argued that in the Middle East and in North Africa where the population is predominantly Moslem, Ramadan does not necessarily imply that people stop fighting for their rights): by now Bingu should have been half-way through the list.

But look at him. Look at the unthinking cabinet that surrounds him. Look at the self-seeking rank and file that are still in the undemocratic unprogressive ensemble that for all practical purposes is now a party of darkness and death. What are they doing? Much ado about nothing! This inability to act on issues of national import and to address the aspirations of the very people that gave Bingu and his DPP unreserved support and mandate on May 19, 2009 is akin to failing to give a baby to a woman who loves you and thinks the world of you because you are so busy with decorum – like a neutered bull – at the expense of the real thing. There is one word for it: Impotence!

This government, if it is to survive and limp on to 2014 it needs more than the energizers that are put on display during Muhlakho Heritage Celebrations. Those energizers would, in the case of a forsaken bride, only work if and only if combined with genuine care, listening to and acting on peoples’ demands and needs. The people want action, now.

Otherwise come August 17 – DPP will have to kill more than a score of people just to hang on to power till 2014. And even that will not be enough. Bingu and his DPP must change or get ready to be changed.

*Wise One from the East

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