Malawi: The big, shameful climb downs

The facts are there for all to see – even the most ardently blind supporters and defenders of this government; I mean this DPP and Mutharika led government.

Endless queues are everywhere and in most cases people queuing just in anticipation and not that what they are looking for is at the end of any particular queue they may be on. While queues for fuel are no longer news, but that this government has the audacity to refute that there are queues for medications in our hospitals – and that at the end of those queues there are no medications appropriate to ones illness is another addition to the insensitivity pile that this government has been heaping up with deafening arrogance, stubbornness and impunity.

Raw egg is all over the face and whole-person of this government – and all they can do is refuse to see, touch and smell it! Bad politics! Bad economics! Bad human, public and international relations!

National disaster: Malawians queuing for water. Photo: Matamando Manda/Malawi2014elections/twitter

The root cause of all this is no other than what big and small people have tried to communicate to this government – but deaf ears have been the receptacle from their side.

Now, ladies and gentlemen the big climb downs have started and it is the turn of this government, as we cry and scrimp, to queue for consideration in Washington, London, Brussels, Lusaka, Maputo – you can as well go on naming the Capital Cities. Where is Hethewick Ntaba to “help” this government hold on to lies and refutations?

But it is important for the Malawian people to put things straight – we did not have to queue for consideration had we made the right decisions at the right time – but serious errors in judgment on social, economical and political fronts have been the order of the day – and dangerous dithering has been the cocktail of medications that the Mutharika led government has been medicating itself on characterized, as usual, by one million dollar arrogance even when all the evidence was in their face and in their full view that they were acting, behaving and coming across as badly as bad can be – politically, economically and internationally!

It has been said that to err is human – and we all could have understood if errors were the exception and not the norm – but that was not the case; while everybody saw the errors, sometimes even primary school pupils could see them, Bingu and DPP were not prepared to see – and this has happened since May 2009.

All they, Bingu and his DPP, were prepared for was to perch at the top most point of the ivory tower they had built for themselves and decided to lose all capability of listening, seeing and perceiving the realities the Malawian people were and are going to continue to go through.

The cost of this government’s arrogance, stubbornness and impunity – as evidenced by their huge and voracious appetites for risky testing of their all-evident-potentially muted ideas, is going to be huge – first by the Malawian people (and we will suffer for a long time) and second and probably the most important by the DPP itself.

I do want to believe that the political cost for the errors in judgment that the DPP undertook, will be – and should be – in fact MUST be huge. We have to do that to teach these people an important political lesson. And Malawians, we have the capability!

It all started with apologies to Lusaka and London. But it all sounded vague, too little and too late – but still an important climb down. And let’s be honest, the errors we committed against London and Lusaka were avoidable if the DPP leadership’s political judgment was razor sharp but we all have come to discover that political amateurs make bad politics! So many people said it – Bingu is a political amateur.

Devaluation followed. And this was all after the arrogance from State House was not only palpable but visible too that there was no way the devaluation of the Kwacha could be effected. It did come, all the same! While it also sounded too small, too little and too late – it still was a step in the direction of even bigger climb downs.

Some people have questioned the economic prowess of Bingu. Do we have to look for more and further evidence of errors in economic judgment? I am made to understand from the “sometimes free-speaking” Governor of the Reserve Bank that another Kwacha devaluation is inevitable. Is that going to be just a climb down or a disastrous climb down that the DPP leadership should be, hand on heart, ashamed of?

Here another climb down ladies and gentlemen! A Commission of Inquiry has been instituted into the massacre of innocent Malawians on July 20th 2011. And that climb down followed hot on the heels of the usual arrogance, insensitivity and impunity because the president had declared that those that had died on July 20, 2011 had died in vain. Insensitive? Insensitive right. But hey that insensitivity was ice-sugared by the president and his whole government machinery targeting property and buildings (collateral damage of 20/7) and not to condole families of those that lost their lives on the same day!

Also coming hot on the heels of the president having applauded the police for a “job well done.” Really? The police meting out ultimate justice & punishment on the roads and streets of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre? A job well done? Even killers and murderers, deserve a due process of the law and a fair trial so that the judge can pronounce their execution. Not the police! And no, not in a democracy! And for the Head of State & Government praising the police for killing people in the streets smacks of great insult to democracy and the rule of law. The things the president uttered after 20/7, ooosh, I have never heard in any country that boasts of a democracy that functions.

Now there is an even bigger one, I mean probably the biggest of the climb downs! The bad and draconian laws are up for review. Again, where is Ntaba? Where is Symon Vuwa Kaunda? Section 46, Injunctions Law and the Police Act are part of the pack that this government, having passed the same laws using their draconian majority in parliament, wants reviewed. What a waste of resources, opportunities and precious time!

One is tempted to just say “we told you” – but that would be resigning to the deep end of tolerating this government’s callous, careless and erroneous decision making processes. We watched them dig a deep hole into our country’s social, economic and political landscape – we thought they would hit rock bottom and see sense – but they never did. Now that they appear to realize that while they were digging they were throwing the hoes and shovels away, they are asking us to give them back the hoes and shovels so they can start filling up that hole. Do we accept that without a fight? Do we watch them climb out of the whole and smile at us like they have been good all along? No, not fair at all to ourselves and themselves.

The DPP and Bingu led government deserves punishment – as to how we mete out that punishment, the ball is in our court! Are we willing to play it?

Everybody’s answer to that question is as good as the action they take in protest against the dangerous dithering, callous decision making and rare breed of arrogance, stubbornness and impunity – ending us up in a ditch with a country so wrecked for any meaningful start to repair!

* Isaac Cheke Ziba – Master of Science (MSc) in Social Development

Lecturer – Faculty of Social Sciences, Catholic University of Malawi – but writing in my personal capacity


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