Far from K4 billion distribution to members of Parliament (MPs) Issues and far from the midterm budget debates it has been interesting to see the Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya leading his fellow parliamentarians at the opening ceremony of the gym at the parliament buildings in Lilongwe. While most of us will agree that pictures of the event provided some laughing moments, especially as the taste of our politicians’ gym clothes was put to the test, deep down we smiled at this positive initiative.
I am sure the expectation of my fellow Malawians will be to see our honourables in beach bodies at the lake this summer, willingly taking off their shirts to displays their hardly earned shredded six packs. As Politics has all been about castigating each other in political meetings, heated debates in parliament – it was a pleasant sight to see politicians with different political beliefs, and even some having infighting in their respective parties coming together, shaking hands and doing a workout together.
Politicians and exercises is not a new thing. After all they are human and can do what any other human can do. We know of famous world politicians whose lifestyle involve daily gym sessions or other type of exercises. Russia’s Vladimir Putin comes to mind, as well as ex British Prime Minister David Cameron who was an avid jogger. Barack Obama too even in his time at the white house never abandoned his lifestyle of exercising.
Athletic competence has been found to be taken as a sign of good character, the dedication that is involved in exercising, the hard work, shows a person’s ability to be disciplined. One can easily argue whether our Malawi MPs have that good character and the discipline that can see them achieve their fitness goals. It would be unfair to see the new gym as an additional role that our parliamentarians have to do while at the house and as the term fitness is broader, not all of them will want to have a very dedicated gym routine or setting intense fitness goals.
Life as a politician can be very stressful. The debates that go on in parliament can take its toll on some of our MPs. Juggling between family lives and taking care of their constituents is not easy. While a drink or two has been the common stress reliever for most of them, what was lacking was something that can stimulate the whole body. Politics is also a game of strategy formulation and fitness plays into the overall goals that politicians want to achieve.
It really was a great idea from Speaker Msowoya to come up with this initiative. Critics can easily say the gym will be a waste of time and our MPs have better things to do with their time- but everything at the expense of a better physical life is not good at all. Maybe we can hope for a time when our politicians will look better and in shape. If our politicians are the voice that can inspire a nation , then let them practice what they can preach. Our young generation will get inspired into the life of fitness and exercising when they see the nation leaders doing the same
We are yet to see how committed our MPs will be. As regular gym goers will agree, the gym has one problem, and that is that it needs motivation for one to go there. Lets face it ,there is nothing easy that happens at the gym, as all that is involved is putting your body under intense pressure from the various exercises you are doing. Whether our MPs can have enough motivation to be going is something we are yet to see.
Another challenge is the discipline that is involved in losing that weight, in putting those muscles, in training to have power. Having a beach body not only requires that gym workout, but what you eat outside of it. Nutrition is the most influential thing to achieving any fitness goal.
While I am happy with this whole thing, I have my very strong doubts if the facilities will be fully utilised . Usual excuses will follow such as “ I am busy, I have important things to do , I don’t mind having a big belly, I am just too old for this “ anyway, unless the Speaker makes this compulsory , never expect to see your honourable MP looking like a body builder or displaying any six pack anytime soon.