Russians have had quite a quite a few remarkable achievements in space exploration. One of these achievements was the establishment of the first space station called the Mir. Before the establishment of the current International Space Station, all astronauts including American, rented space on Mir to conduct space-based experiment.
There was a little bit of controversy in the American media in 1996 when Americans announced that their next astronaut on Mir was going to be a woman, Shannon Lucid. She was to join two Russians male cosmonauts already on the station. Asked about how he feels about having his men joined by a woman on the station, General Yuri Glaskov, Deputy Commander of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center said, “Women love to keep premises clean therefore our crew will welcome her presence a lot.”
As you can imagine, in the days of political correctness, the feminists were up in arms about the fact that the general spoke about ‘cleaning’ in the same sentence as a ‘science PhD woman’. Of course, Dr Shannon Lucid just laughed it off.
I was reminded of this story when I saw a picture President Joyce Banda welcoming US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the presidential office. The office was clean, professionally arranged and showed outstanding class. If you did not know better you would think this was a room in the White House in Washington DC, the Élysée Palace in Paris or the Kremilin in Moscow. It rivals the best presidential offices in the world. It certainly is the best looking in Africa.
Previous presidential offices have mostly not been good looking. Of course, Kamuzu Banda had a somewhat unique presidential office with a leopard’s skin and head on the table. Things went down hill from there. His successors went on to have very, very mediocre looking offices. Perhaps they wanted to get away from the image of Kamuzu Banda as much as possible. In terms of visuals, the appearance of Mutharika’s office would probably get the lowest score of them all. He had that big ol’ red couch which he used for welcoming dignitaries. To make things worse, the couch would make sounds as dignitaries sat on it. Not presidential at all!
Now, before the feminists accuse me of the same things they accused Yuri Glaskov of, let me point out that I do not believe that the transformation in the appearance of presidential offices is due to President Joyce Banda. The responsibility for decorating presidential houses and offices has always been on a president’s spouse or official hostess as in our earlier case. Presidents are usually too busy to involve themselves in such matters. So, the credit for this transformation goes to none other than Justice Richard Banda. He certainly has beaten out Annie Muluzi, Shannil Muluzi and Callista Mutharika.
I have always had great respect for transformers. Richard Banda has certainly shown to be one. He has managed to clean out that ugly looking office into the best looking presidential office in the world.
I wonder how it would be if it were President ‘Richard’ Banda instead of President ‘Joyce’ Banda. Would he also clean up the government? Perhaps he would clean up the government and make it the best in the world; perhaps he would clean out the rampant corruption and crime which seem to be increasing by day in our country; perhaps he would clean up the ministry of justice which at the moment seems to always be involved in conflicts of interest; perhaps he would clean up the ministry of external affairs which at the moment does not seem to know how to deal with the Lake Malawi conflict; perhaps he would clean up parliament and force it to respect laws of the country.
I wonder how it would be…. But then we will never know, of course.