When ignorance and hate conquers a writer, these vices embarrass him through his own writing. The same can be said about Idriss Ali Nassa and his recent article on President Arthur Peter Mutharika and his leadership.
In his article, Nassa desperately tries to convince his readers that President Peter Mutharika is a hopeless leader and that he has no vision for Malawi whatsoever: Unfortunately for Nasssa as we will appreciate in this article his sentiments cannot be supported by facts.
And where he has attempted to back up his claims, he has displayed embarrassing ignorance by citing false information or churning outright lies.
Malawi has for many decades struggled to resolve its chronic economic challenges since Independence. This situation has led to the suffering of many Malawians, President Peter Mutharika has more than once said he finds this totally unacceptable.
While Prof. Peter Mutharika’s leadership seeks to deliver on long-term goals that will deal with Malawi’s chronic problems and change Malawi forever, he is paying the price of being criticized because some people are too impatient to see what the President is doing.
Given the hardships most Malawians have gone through for many years, the impatience is understandable. Of course, we Malawians are very funny people. When Mutharika takes the backstage to listen and trust the institutions of his Government, we condemn him for doing nothing.
The moment he takes action or breathes a word on the matter, we denounce him even more loudly. When the Nsanje defiler bragged of sleeping with more than one hundred young girls while concealing his HIV positive status and using no protection whatsoever, we were very quick to denounce the President for doing nothing about it. The moment the President acted by ensuring Police arrests and investigates the man, we were even quicker and louder in condemning the President for taking action.
My impression of President Mutharika is that he is a democrat and a listening leader who takes criticism kindly. However, there is no reason why we should be piling up lies, misinformation and exaggerations simply in order to make others believe that Mutharika is a failure. We are decent Malawians of integrity who must always analyse our leadership with sober objectivity.
It is petty to blind ourselves from reality simply because some of us do not like Mutharika. Let us for example take Idriss Ali Nassah’s article on “Case of Malawi President Peter Mutharika: In his brother’s shadow”. Although his name suggests otherwise, I presume that the writer is a Malawian and that am not wasting my precious time with a writer from some city in the Arabic Maghreb who understands very little about facts Malawian as his article otherwise suggests.
The choice of words and gross misinformation in Nassa’s article appear to deliberately be calculated to demean the President Mutharika and make the world believe that Peter Mutharika has no capacity of his own except walking in “his brother’s shadow”. As a result, this article ignores the new programs which Peter Mutharika has introduced as a departure from his late brother Bingu wa Mutharika.
Peter Mutharika’s vision from what I have followed from his actions, decisions and utterances has introduced Foreign Direct Investment as means for creating wealth, jobs, industries and turning Malawi from a consuming to a producing nation.
Mutharika has also introduced community colleges to drive skills development. So far, there is impressing progress on this program. If we can can all support him, this program will make Malawi a skilled nation; create new industries, new businesses, new jobs and also to support the investment program.
While some critics like Nassa say Mutharika is out of touch with reality, it is a reality that most vulnerable Malawians cannot afford decent housing. Mutharika is conscious of this reality and that is why he introduced the affordable Malata and Cement program. This program is making unprecedented progress – to the annoyance of those who don’t wish Mutharika well. Idriss Nassah is completely wrong in trying to impress his readers that Mutharika’s development agenda constitutes “fancy projects” only.
Of course, it’s interesting and also worrying that this critic fails to think and decipher that projects like airports are economy game changers but considers them fancy. F.D.I’s, technical Colleges, the Malata Subsidy program are just examples of new programs in Peter Mutharika’s innovative development plans. This does not presume to exhaust everything Mutharika is doing. But an honest, objective and educated person like Idriss Nassah purports to be should be able to think and see that Peter Mutharika is not only continuing from where Bingu left. But that he certainly also has a development mind of his own and he cannot be undermined as an extension of his brother.
In fact, the two leaders also have different styles of diplomacy. Mutharika’s international diplomacy has always been excellent. Idriss Nassah’s article tries to alienate Mutharika from his international friends. The writer claims that while he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mutharika did nothing when Malawi exercised its right of sovereignty and asked a British convoy to leave because Malawi cannot be taken for granted just because we were a British colony. Let us put history correct for the sake of our children.
Fergus Cochrane-Dyet was a British envoy who was among those who did not like Bingu wa Mutharika because the latter was a fierce critic of the West. Besides, the British felt offended because Bingu supported Zimbabwe at the time the British were punishing Mugabe for his anti-imperialist stand. I can forgive Nassa for not understanding this: it could be beyond his grasp of international political affairs. As sober analysis of events around that time suggests that the British wanted all Africans if not everybody to hate Mugabe because he was their enemy. As a result the British High Commissioner started interfering with local politics to influence Bingu’s ousting.
At the height of that proxy welfare when Cochrane-Dyet was asked to leave Malawi, the British reiterated by influencing international fuel suppliers and the forex market to bring the economy down on its knees. Just as exactly as it happened in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe quarreled with the British, forex went missing, fuel went missing and the economy started suffering. I don’t expect Nassa to understand this either.
While Idriss Nassah wants to impress his readers that Malawi committed a cardinal sin in which he wants to drag in Peter Mutharika, it is important for the writer to know the history of Malawi. In fact, Prof Peter Mutharika was not even the Minister of Foreign Affairs when President Mutharika sent Cochrane-Dyet packing as Nassah claims. Professor Etta Banda was the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time. Apparently Idriss Nassa is ignorant of this fact. That said, the fact remains that the Malawi-British relations went sour.
However, it is on record that Peter Mutharika proactively sought to have the Malawi-British relations normalized in Bingu’s time. Mutharika led a team of three ministers who went to Britain, German and Brussels to negotiate for normal relations. But just before the fruits of these negotiations, Bingu died and other political opportunists took over. However, before Bingu died the British had decided to appoint a new High Commissioner to Malawi thereby normalizing the Malawi-British relations.
Then next comes Nassah’s strange claim that Mutharika has a fixation with Joyce Banda. No one in the sanity would deny that although Joyce Banda ruled only for two years, she destroyed Malawi far more beyond than anyone can imagine. She took us back more years than she ruled. During the BBC programme Nassah cites, the anchor asked President Mutharika about the impact of aid freeze to Malawi in 2013 due to ‘‘Cashgate’’. Both the aid freeze and the ‘‘Cash-gate’’ scandal happened during Joyce Banda’s two year rule. And everyone knows that ‘‘Cash-gate’’ was a systematic plunder of the national treasury which involved a conspiracy among senior officials in Joyce Banda’s party the People Party (PP), her appointed government officials and the private sector
. Is Nassa in his thinking suggesting that President Peter Mutharika should have explained the ‘‘Cash-gate’’ and the resultant aid free without making reference to Joyce Banda, her party and government? How? It is false to argue that Peter Mutharika always blames everything on the fugitive Joyce Banda whom Nassah for some reason tries to exonerate in his article. The President only mentions Joyce Banda only where facts of the narrative demands so. And somehow Nassa is not happy with this. Nassah talks about the President building a banquet hall. Does the writer know that State House already has a modest banquet hall? Its clear Nassa is ignorant of this fact too. Most people who have been to State House will agree that there are already halls for various functions. If anything, large scale functions have always taken place in a marque, which was blown away by a storm in 2015. All that State House has done is to replace this marque with another marque. But in Idriss’s hateful imaginations, President Mutharika is building a banquet hall.
In his article, Nassah also tries to create a rift between the President and the Vice President. His line of reasoning is that the Vice President is not being fully utilized in the running of Government because he is not a member of the National Governing Council of the ruling Democratic Party. First, I find this reasoning odd. Secondly, the claim is false. It is a fact that the Vice President sits on the National Governing Council with the title of “Special Presidential Advisor”. Apparently Nassa is ignorant of this fact also. The ‘‘Special Presidential Advisor’’ portfolio is a very important portfolio which Peter Mutharika himself held during the Bingu administration.
Now, like many knowledgeable readers, I am left wondering. Is it out of ignorance or malice that anyone would commit his pen to all these false allegations? Do people realize that writing is such a double edged sword that can destroy your own image if you try to destroy others by either creating lies or writing without proper research? But for most people, criticizing a President feels good, especially if you are driven by hate or bias.
But it is also good at least to try to be objective. Criticism is meaningful when it is fair and well-meaning. Let me end by how I began to say that when ignorance and hate conquers a writer, these vices embarrass him through his own writing. This is very clear in Nassa articleFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :