Does Malawi ex-president Muluzi have anything to offer?

As the country’s first multiparty president from 1994 to 2004, Bakili Muluzi is widely credited with consolidating Malawi’s democracy and the rule of law.

The former Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Asbjorn Eidhammer describes Muluzi  (Left) as affable and easy to like in his book titled Malawi: A Place Apart.

During his tenure he tolerated dissenting views, while press and religious freedoms flourished unlike under Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Muluzi will go down in history as the ‘people’s president’ or as he used to call himself; vendor wamkulu and president woyenda mmaliro.

But he had a dark side too. He successfully used violence to survive in a politically hostile environment. In 2001, his Young Democrats waged a campaign of intimidation against the government’s opponents and the press. In 2003-04, ‘State-sponsored terror’ continued as his United Democratic Front (UDF) pushed for Muluzi’s third term bid.

His tactics of funding rival factions in Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are well documented. And never in Malawi’s history, have we had a foul-mouthed State President than in Muluzi. On occasions without number, he used foul and degrading language against his rivals. On the political podium, he had no match.

Behind the doors, some say, Muluzi was soft as a cat. An exceptional negotiator and leaders from far-and-wide would come to seek his wisdom.  He is one politician who has walked the adage that in politics, there is neither permanent friend nor permanent enemy; there is only permanent interest.

The former Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Asbjorn Eidhammer describes Muluzi as affable and easy to like in his book titled Malawi: A Place Apart. It is for such reason that he found it easy to bring even his political enemies to the negotiating table.

On Tuesday this week, he showed the country that he still posseses those skills. He successfully met the Human Right Defenders Coalition leadership at his BCA residence in Blantyre for dialogue.  On the streets, there was a lot of doubt if Muluzi would succeed to calm down the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC). As expected the meeting indeed in a deadlock.

Now the question is: Can he, in his old age and retirement, does he have anything to offer to calm the storm brewing over Malawi in the aftermath of the May 21 elections?

Word on the street is that, Muluzi has come wiser over time and he is the right man to lead dialogue alongside the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and others who have been calling for peace.

Muluzi’s record to broker peace is well documented. Soon after the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced that Bingu had won the 2004 General Elections, violence reared its ugly face in the cities following protests over the results. In Chilobwe in Blantyre City, young Epiphania Bonjesi was killed by a stray bullet from Police officers following riots in the township. The situation was tense.

However, Muluzi invited Gwanda Chakuamba who was disputing the election results to his BCA residence and reached a deal that ended the riots. He too invited Brown James Mpinganjira (BJ) of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to the negotiation table. Just like Chakuamba, BJ told his supporters to accept the outcome and move on. Peace prevailed thereafter.

Muluzi also stepped into the void in 2012 following the demise of late Bingu to appeal for calm in the country and let the Constitution prevail by allowing Joyce Banda, then estranged vice-president, to take over as the republican president. And like in 2004, the country was saved from descending into chaos.

Apart from a cloud of corruption still hanging over his head and being too close to Peter Mutharika, Muluzi remains relevant today as he has always been in times of crisis.

Word on the street is the HRDC leadership should at least show respect to the former leader and give his dialogue efforts a chance.

He still has a lot to offe

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Liwo
Guest

No he has nothing to offer to the country. dyera ndi izo mwathetsa chipani cha udf kumupangitsa Atupele kugwila ntchito ndi president of tippex. he should just zip up his mouth.

Mbava
Guest
Mbava

Who! Hell NO!! He has a lot of baggage of his own

Truth
Guest
Truth

Your opinion, Muluzi ndi wakuba, fiti, komaso zonsezi zikuchitika lerozi ndiyeyo cause analibe masophenya adzikoli

Ndatopa
Guest
Ndatopa

He needs to explain to Malawians what he did with MK 1.7B

Kambewa chisale
Guest

All the ploblem we have now is because Bakili is a crazy crook who let down people who took the risk of fighting against Kamuzu Banda and took Mchona Bingu wa Muthalika

Ndatopa
Guest
Ndatopa

YES! …..paying back MK 1.7B that he stole from poor Malawians

Mwana wa Anabanda
Guest
Mwana wa Anabanda

Why give him another chance when he had his first and second chance which he used poorly. He is one president we had and has nothing to show for it except running down to the ground our education and health system. He took presidency to satisfy himself and his creed

Njolo mpilu
Guest
Njolo mpilu

oh God, Noooooo
bakili cant. he was a statue sitting celerbrating our monies left right centre bribing plus handing out our money to women
total bastard dog

ELIJAH VERSUS BAAL
Guest

What kind of God is jane ansah worshiping ?? What kind of God is Peter worshiping ?? What kind of God is Gertrude worshiping ? What kind of God is dausi worshipping ? What kind of God is mchacha worshiping ? What kind of God is gooda worshiping ?? Some of these people have their own gods different from the one God we all bow down and worship —

Keen Observer
Guest
Keen Observer

There is absolutely nothing that Muluzi can offer, Mpinganjira & Chakuamba were asked how much have you spent in your Campaign then Muluzi paid. He is not a good negotiator but he uses money. Either to bribe or blackmail. He is the guy that puts his personal interests first or ahead of everything.

Ndendeuli
Guest
Ndendeuli

Bakili ndi kafucheche wachabechabe sangatithandize! Mavuto onse a mMalawi muno anabweretsa ndi iye by bringing us the Mutharikas.