“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish” —Euripides
If I were part of the motley crew that makes up the village of Peter Mutharika’s so-called advisors I would caution the President to mind his language.
Granted, for no fault of his own, Peter struggles to make himself heard, let alone make sense in public. But that he is not an orator of the Obama or our own Atcheya ilk should not make him less of a president.
That said, I suggest he must strive to make sense in his speeches even if he struggles on to deliver them.
Look, Peter tried to justify his misguided view that the treason charges against him and his gang were actually indeed ‘stupid’, as he classified them earlier. In trying to justify his view, the President erroneously said the ‘stupid’ people who made up the commission that looked into his brother’s death actually came from the same village.
For starters, the President must check his tongue; calling a retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge and two senior officers of the judiciary, a former police chief, an eminent pathologist and other eminent Malawians ‘stupid’ is unpresidential, if not simply pedestrian, and does not paint a good picture for us as a nation.
That said, Peter should have detailed one of his many advisors to do background checks on the commissioners. He surely could have known that Nkhata Bay, Dowa, Dedza, Ntcheu, Rumphi and Mangochi do not begin to make up one village!
Besides flunking his Geography 101, the good professor should have known that profiling people based on where they hail from has never been a virtue of a progressive national leader.
Having said that, the President should have known that it is unfair to denigrate people in public when he knows they do not have the privilege of the similar platform to answer back. Look, apart from accusing the Singini inquiry of being full of ‘stupid’ dunderheads, he accused General Henry Odillo, who was – by the way – actually appointed by his own big brother, of lying.
By the way, is he subtly telling us he fired Odillo because he is a pathological liar?
But what was in it for the General to lie to the world that Peter and the Gang begged him to take over the reigns of power during those ‘three mad days in April’?
Again, is Peter telling us that he cannot tolerate some liars but he is okay to work with others? Look, does the President not know that his own current Chief of Staff corroborated the General’s version of events?
If the President is not aware, let me do my civic duty and volunteer information to him: Peter Mukhito – who was Inspector General of Police when the band of crooks wanted to usurp the Constitution – also testified that Peter and his gang begged the army to take over power.
If he doubts me, he just has to request for audio tapes from the enquiry and listen to the testimonies for himself.
So, was Peter Mukhito lying too?
As a lawyer, I must not school the President about circumstantial evidence for if you ask my unlearned self, if we have circumstantial evidence as to who is being parsimonious with the truth among the President, the General and the former police chief, Peter Mutharika has more motivation to lie than the two men in uniform.
While we are at that, how can Peter gloat over mob justice a veteran lawyer and jurist he is?
In narrating his fantastical tale that the system wanted to assassinate him, Peter told us – not once, but twice – of a tale that doctors were sent to examine him while he was guest at one of Joyce Banda’s gulags.
According to the President’s creative imagination, the doctors had syringes full of cyanide or some other equally lethal poison. According to Peter, his band of thugs – erroneously christened ‘Youth Morale’ – apprehended the murderous medics and gave them a good hiding. ‘Anawathibula kwambiri,” he said laughingly.
Well, I was once a guest of Peter’s brother’s cells and I know my son Raymond would certainly not entertain cyanide-laced syringe-bearing medics to visit me.
But should someone who is not only a veteran lawyer but a constitutional one at that be laughing at mob justice?
Instead of beating the day lights – or was it night lights? – out of the murderous medics, should the good old prof. not be advocating apprehending them and handing them over to the authorities?
Attempted assassination is one hell of a crime, my good prof. By just beating them up, Peter’s hired thugs set loose murderers to murder again.
By the way, why could he not place charges there and then if his tale is not fictitious? Because, surely, these medics were up to no good (if they exist outside his imagination.)
Ok, he can lamely claim that he was gagged then. But he is no longer gagged now. We want to know who these thugs in medical garb were for if their mission to liquidate Peter was foiled because his hired thugs laid sentry outside his jail cell, they may succeed to kill others who may not be privileged to have paid thugs.
While we are on this, President Mutharika, addressing a rally in Blantyre, also made some stunning, if not spurious, revelation. Reacting to the current break-down in security, the President warned that his sleuths have informed him that there is a network of the underworld out to destabilise the country to make the Mutharika administration look bad.
Kudos to Dausi and his band of sleuths, the Muckraker has to say. But, after getting the docket on this piece of intelligence, what does the President do? He just warns the bad boys to stop their wayward ways or he will get them.
C’mon, good people, a number of people have been killed, institutions and companies have been robbed by these thugs. Is Peter telling us that if these thugs – whose identity he claims to know – stop their terrorism after his warning they will benefit from his clemency?
What if they ignore his warning and continue their robbing and killing spree?
At what point is Peter going to say, ‘Enough is enough?’ How many people must be killed, homes, companies, banks, institutions robbed, before the President acts?
If his sleuths gave him intel on who the bad guys are, Peter should have authorised a hit and make the big announcement that we should sleep easy for the bad guys have been neutralised. That is what Barack Obama did. When he got intel on the positive location of Terrorist-in-Chief Osama bin Laden, the US president sent his Navy Seals to get him before making the big announcement, “We got him!”
If, like Peter, Obama had said, “We know you are in Bilal Town, Abbottabad, Pakistan, Osama! Stop killing Americans or we will get you!” bin Laden could have simply fled.
Maybe this is yet another product of our creative president’s fertile imagination? The point is, careless podium talk makes the President as ordinary as a drunkard who claims he is as rich as Bill Gates while wearing sandals made from discarded ox-cart tyres.
Re-deployment to hell
In one of his many careless statements – I am using the adjective ‘careless’ advisedly, President Mutharika said despite the massive sackings in the public and civil service, cleverly dubbed ‘re-deployments, he has not fired anybody.
It was the President’s considered opinion that he was merely ‘re-deploying’ personnel paving way to ‘cashgate’ investigations.
Before I proceed, I must say I am glad Charles Nsaliwa and Henry Ngutwa have spoken truth to power and refused to be moved around like ponies on a chess board.
Look, Mr. President, not everyone you have shuffled around has anything to do with ‘cashgate’. Besides, if you have sufficient reason to investigate anyone of any wrong-doing you do not re-deploy them; you suspend them.
So, no, Mr. President, your explanation does not wash. In fact, your government risks a huge law suit from the myriad of officers you have fired for you have linked them to ‘cashgate’ when most of them have no finger in the systematic plunder of public resources.
By the way, these deployments do not make sense at all. Look, you get a guy from a parastatal and lump him on the general civil service, how does he fit in? These have different ‘DNAs’, if you get my drift.
Imagine, you get someone from MBC, who has been writing news stories to go on air everyday, and make him some director of one thing or the other at a ministry; where will he begin to begin? You want to trick him into failing to deliver so that you find enough reason to fire him for incompetence?
These re-deployments do not make sense.
- The articles first appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper