Dear President Banda: A piece of advice

President Banda

First things first. I am speaking on my own behalf as a citizen of Malawi and because I love my country. I trust that you will view any advice you get, including this very note I am writing with a heavy dose of skepticism.

And beware of those folks defecting to your party. I don’t understand why people think that the only way they can demonstrate loyalty to you and the country is to join your party. I hope your People’s Party tell these folks to stay where they are. Democracy and Malawi will be the winner.

I hear that the police chief has been replaced. This is good for the country and for our police force. However, while the police chief’s actions in recent years have done serious damage to the force, you would do well to address the root cause of the manner in which our force has conducted itself.

There was undue influence from the executive branch under President Mutharika. Our police force is in serious need of real reform. Some of the things carried out by the police on the government’s behalf in recent years have been scary and have left many of us wondering if our force is stuck in the past.

The conduct of our politicians in the last several days, especially those closest to President Mutharika has been shameful. It is ironic that the very person who Mutharika and those close to him castigated and ridiculed day in and day out has been the one person who showed him the respect befitting the office of the president while those close to him were plotting to unconstitutionally usurp power even as the president’s body was still warm. By their actions, they showed disrespect to both Bingu Mutharika and the people of Malawi.

Speaking for myself, while I appreciate that you have reportedly forgiven the folks who for several dozen hours almost plunged our country into a catastrophic mess, lying to us that the president was still alive when almost all Malawians already knew he was dead, I would like to personally ask these folks to

1) publicly apologize to the people of Malawi for their shameful actions;

and 2) resign from their cabinet posts. There is no credibility left in them and I hope we never have to go through this again. This is 2012, not 1972.

Amazingly, some of the very people who behaved like barbarians had gone through terror under the one party state and evidently appear to have forgotten that just because they were on the other (command) end of the sjambok.

I know that you probably have very important affairs of the state on your mind but I would personally like to ask that we bring back our flag. Bingu’s flag is a disgusting symbol of the arrogance of the man and a huge embarrassment to our country.

Those of us who have friends from other countries are constantly reminded how ludicrous Malawi is to think that it has sufficiently developed to the point where she finds it necessary to change the flag and yet has no forex, no medicines in hospitals, no fuel…

And what is it with us Malawians and titles? I would be delighted if you, President Banda, decreed that you will personally arrest anyone addressing you as Your Excellency Rt. Honorable Madame Mrs/Doctor Joyce Banda. You are no less president of my country when people refer to you as President Joyce Banda. In fact, this is less stuffy and the change would be a breath of fresh air.

* Dr Llolsten Kaonga is co-moderator of Nyasanet discussion forum

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