Can Joyce Banda do a somersault?

Can Joyce Banda do a somersault? No! Not in a skirt of-course. She will have to be dressed in a tracksuit or a pair of shorts to perform such an act.

But with conceited efforts, she can do a political and economical somersault for Malawi. This she can do even with “chi Joyce” on her shoulder. Talking about “chijoyce”, on Capital FM Straight Talk, the President told the nation that “chi-joyce” is her brain child but looking at Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, she also puts on “chi-joyce” on her shoulder. So, who borrowed the trick from who? In-case you are not familiar with “Chi Joyce”, it is a piece of extra cloth both Malawian and Liberian leaders put on their shoulders.

Now, back to our political talk.

‘Jealous Down’ is an African expression commonly used in Malawi and Zambia. It is meant to compliment someone’s good work. We the Timau Creware Malawians and this is how we begin our talk.

President Banda

Jealous Down, Joyce Banda is a resilient leader who demonstrated passion through out her persecution by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.

She not only put up with robust verbal diarrhoea from the party stalwarts but her office budget was cut, her motorcade reduced; her security detail shuffled at will. Not surprising someone even joked that the regime was to leave no stone unturned as far as persecuting Banda was concerned, they were even after her leggings, he gagged.

However, in spite of all the ‘beatings’, Joyce Banda never at one point rebuked Bingu Wa Mutharika, the then President. She said about Bingu, “He is my father” and she has stood to that to this day. “Let us mourn our father honourably”, she said when the former President passed on. “Let us accord our leader a dignified burial”, she said about her victimiser.

This is what she recalls about Bingu, “he taught me to dream in colour”.    Banda has promised the nation that she will continue with all the positive projects Bingu started.

This is all about her personal attitude but can she do a somersault to our politics and economy? Let us look at this, judging from social media, pub and radio comments people expect a lot from their leader.

Stories that people tell……

 JB needs to do a lot of hard things- our list would include at the very least in the short term, consider scraping off or reducing punitive taxes that were reflected in the infamous zero deficit budget, people want government to introduce roads for value for money that is introducing toll charges on some roads. Instead of borrowing money from IMF or waiting for grants, government should borrow from Malawians and pay them back through toll charges, monetary policy to promote growth and a thicker financial firewall to protect the weaklings on the edge from contagion.

People are saying that things that politicians say do not reflect to what is on the ground. For instance, people are really suffering; salaries of civil servants are very low as compared to their expenses.

President Banda has brought hope and the people are already on cloud nine. The people of Chitipa are the most obvious example; they want the Chitipa/Karonga road completed ‘yesterday’ so they dream.

The short term list continues- the people of Malawi want President Banda to end the electricity blackouts; they want fuel shortages to be a thing of the past.

There is also a good case from the other quarters of society; they want President Banda to instruct government to release its grip on the state broadcaster, MBC, not just through lip service but through action.

Kinnah Phiri, the national football coach and all football lovers are not just looking on these new developments as they rock our country. First ladies have always had roles to play in supporting their husbands. Amongst other functions, football fans want the First Gentleman who was a former national team football player himself and former Football Association chairman to use his expertise and help develop the sport in the country. What will Richard Banda offer? Do not tell us that he will be patronof “Chitukuko Cha Abambo M’Malawi”, (CCAM). People want something that will add value to their country from the first gentleman.

………and stories they believe

 Across Malawian Political history the pattern repeats itself, leaders humble themselves in the very first months of their rule and turn into dictators. They become “Lions of Malawi” and people start fearing them. People believe Joyce Banda will one day turn into that, but can she assure Malawians that she will be servant of the people rather than their master. People believe that what the President is saying about not discriminating each other on political grounds as just a false piety what with what Kandikole did at Civo stadium summoning officers as to why they allowed DPP women at the stadium and yet it was their function.

People believe that there is nothing new as far as appointments are concerned as the President is just picking her old friends leaving out new blood.

People believe that the president is following politics of appeasement as she is failing to fire people with right-out cases.

However, people believe that the one year time frame to revamp the  economy as set aside by the President will work because of the influx of donor aid and her willingness to work with neighbours and donors.

People believe a dramatic reshaping of Malawi’s politics could change society and reboot relations with donors. But people are a bit weary that being too wobbly to donors can see our country embracing many unwanted habits in our culture.

Yes, people believe that the President has surrounded her self with too many a people who have skeletons in their cupboards. For the sake of transparency the president should justify why she appointed certain people.

People believe that Ralph Kasambara, the Minister of Justice will get rid of these old laws that were put in place by the colonialists. Some laws we use in Malawi are outdated even the British themselves chucked them in the rubbish bin many years ago.

Can Joyce Banda do a somersault? Yes she can. Let the Joyce Banda administration do things differently from all preceding governments. We want President Banda to give a face-lift to our politics.  Can our economy do a somersault? Can Joyce Banda bring it back to what it was period between 2004 and 2009?

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