Malawi Pres. Joyce Banda: From the Sweet VP to the Sour President

You may argue otherwise, but frankly, Joyce Banda has been impressively spotless morally, politically, and socially in her heydays of her Vice Presidency and before. In all fairness, if there was a woman in government during the sad days of late Bingu wa Mutharika who had every quality of a president that woman was her.

True to that, Joyce Banda deservedly and constitutionally ascended to the presidency when fate demanded to the jubilation and ululation of Malawians. Malawians were over the moon on her ascendancy, and they did so for good and worthwhile reasons; an angel that was Joyce Banda came to redeem the Malawians from the economic fire mercilessly gutting them.

And yes she continued being the angel in the first 100 days of her presidency. Talk has it, and it is documented and true, that she restored the donor confidence, mended the sour bilateral ties, restocked fuel, and, ultimately, talked sense where sense was long missed due to dictatorial tendencies of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

President Banda
President Banda

First 100 days gone. Things started to change in her. She started to degenerate irrevocably.

First to dent her warm heart was her ceaseless travels. Every single day greeted her on the road to this or that village or country in the name of government business. Elsewhere, it has been joked that if ever one wanted to see the president without permission one would better standby along the road to Chileka Airport or Kamuzu International Airport than along the corridors to her office.

And then came the seemingly ethnic dismissals of high profile government officials and their resultant out-of-court settlements technically called payouts. People wagged their tongues in condemnation, but yet nothing seems to change for now or the near future.

As if that was not enough, then we saw what was called “The Bedsgate” whose actor was the second-in-command himself. Here, perhaps all Malawians here and in diasporas could not get the sense as to why beds from one hospital could be moved to another by removing its occupants. And one wonders if the Bedsgate affair was/is one of the activities lined up for the promotion of safe motherhood.

From there came the John Kapito led mass demonstrations on 17th January, 2013 of the Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA). The mass demonstrations were against the automatic pricing mechanism, the Kwacha devaluation and floatation without cushioning, and all that jazz. People might have protested the timing and motivations of Mr Kapito, but what remains and will remain true is the fact that the reasons for staging the demonstrations were true then as they are true now.

But the most embarrassing of all the sour things to ever mark President Joyce Banda’s degeneration to infamy was the recent “kids Revolution” which saw the entire Banda administration down to its knees as primary school kids demanded that the government ended the Civil Servants Trade Union’s stay-away.

Currently, it is the Maizegate. There seems to be no maize in government maize silos and one wonders where all that corn President Banda, as also collaborated by some international observers, touted to be more than enough is.

Today, Malawians are ever hungrier than they were in any government. You might ask, “how so?”. Get this: Kamuzu Banda, there was plenty of food and people had money; Muluzi administration, people had money, cheap food, but no maize and could afford buying any non-maize food nonetheless; Bingu wa Mutharika, people had no money but  there was maize; and now Joyce Banda, Malawians have no money and maize is nowhere available.

It is after considering the above that one moans the waning of favors in Joyce Banda. However, predictable and nauseating it may be, one thing is for sure; Joyce Banda has surrounded herself with the very same people that failed the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

And it is at this point, politically speaking, that one senses danger and the end of Joyce Banda if the current or recent political events are anything to go by. And if ever there are people out there who are identified or do so themselves that they are fans of her, better show their love for her by advising and talking her out of this sour president she is to the sweet VP she was.

Unless President Joyce Banda becomes her old sweet VP she was and decloacks this sour president she is now, no one will reproach me for stating the truth straightforwardly. Yes, if sadness visits those most weak, then trouble dines with sour hearts.


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