Easter, when Christians commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, came and went. Sadly on Easter Sunday, we had a tragic boat accident on Lake Malawi in Rumphi where a boat carrying worshippers capsized. Dying on their way to praise God. I call this the natural conspiracy of nature and that we should never question God’s deeds.
And the same Sunday, the nation also woke up to a “resignation” letter by Vice-President Saulos Chilima on the grounds that he was facing dark forces within the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). This was just a day after Chilima had participated in a Way of the Cross, apparently the only high profile politician that did so.
“These negative forces are making my work a strenuous and void exercise that will only lead to failure, a trait I have not and cannot associate with,” read part of the letter that turned out to have missed a few time zones of April 1 Fools Day.
It transpired that the letter was fake, with the press office of the Vice President out rightly disowning it when our reporters made enquiries.
Hours later, several developments happened that started making some of us question the origin of the fake letter in question. First, it was Malawi Voice—the DPP online mouth piece that carried a story accusing former President Joyce Banda of being behind it. Second, Information Minister Nicholas Dausi was on MBC and Capital FM threatening to arrest those behind it. Third, President Peter Mutharika—speaking when he was briefed on Optic Fiber Backbone Project—warned that he may have to crack on social media to tame the abuse.
Well, all these efforts were commendable, but some things here raise suspicion looking at the speed at which the Minister of Information and Malawi Voice moved to pin suspects. For what motive or benefit could Joyce Banda fabricate such a letter? When the Information Minister says he knows the culprits, is he talking of the same Joyce Banda?
Was this not a cheap, immature, amateurish propaganda meant to hoodwink the public that the Vice-President was not interested in his job as one way of lining up reasons to start side-lining him in government or fire him from the party?
If it was not, then why all-of-a-sudden this interest from a WhatsApp circulation; yet last year when the President prolonged his stay in the US, the government chose to believe a similar social media talk that Chilima had assembled a Cabinet ready for a takeover.
What is the difference between the two social media abuses? For starters, the President even went public in Mulanje that some people were planning to take over his government which was a thinly unveiled attack on his Vice-President who was also a victim of rumour mongering that time.
Why this selective justice? Did the government choose to believe that story and that it is why it never bothered to threaten anyone with arrest? Where was the energy that has been spent on this resignation fabrication during that most dangerous rumour mongering that bordered on treason?
Should we conclude that the DPP is slowly, but surely becoming clueless and strategically bankrupt in its plan to attack the Vice-President? Should we assume that that letter is an inside job, but it has backfired and the DPP wants to look holy by fronting refutals?
I refuse to see these developments in their raw form. There is something that is happening only that the players are amateurish otherwise the energy from the government this time on this purported resignation letter is betraying and suspicious.
- The article first appeared in Weekend Nation newspaper