Malawi’s accidental leadership will be the end of us: ‘Talking Blues’ with Mapwiya Muulupale

The recent, unprecedentedly televised meeting between the President Peter Mutharika and the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), if anything, succeeded in underlining the fact that our successive leaders quickly lose touch with the reality.

President Mutharika with PAC members
President Mutharika with PAC members

I therefore agree with those that have established that the meeting was, for the Executive, a lost opportunity; for PAC, an exercise in futility and for the poor, yet another slap in the face.

Let’s begin by looking at the first and probably the main point of contention, which was in fact pointless and completely off-tangent: the question whether or not the Mutharika presidency is transformative or transactional.

Let us, for argument sake, say the Mutharika administration was – asit isdesperately wanting to claim –“transformative”.

What evidence would we have seen in Malawi?

First and foremost, rain or no rain, as long as Lake Malawi and the Shire River, amongst others are flowing, hunger and electricity supply should never have been issues.

But nay, this administration cannot give a substantive account of the status of the Greenbelt Initiative or the loans obtained for the same. Instead, it is investing resources in selling to the rich, equipment which was intended to transform the fortunes of poor farmers.

If this presidency was transformative, by now it should havesolved the issue of ghost workers in the Ministry of Education and made the concrete steps to reform our archaic curriculum which is centuries behind and is the reason why a Malawian graduate cannot survive without a paid job.

If transformative leadership is about inexplicably slicing the Education Budget by K500million in favour of a State House Banquet hall, then indeed this administration deserves full points!

If transformation means the political leadership feasting when there are no learning and teaching materials in schools, with teachers perpetually paid on the sixtieth or ninetieth of the month;then indeed, PAC, is rude to label President Mutharika’s leadership as falling short of being transformative.

Good health, without doubt, is the foundation of any meaningful livelihood, productivity and development.

But under this very same administration, the campaign promise of modernised and better equipped hospitals and health centres has evolved into breakdown-and-neglect of hospital equipment such as CT scans and shutting down of dialysis units in referral hospitals coupled with shortage of essential drugs.

If this administration was indeed business unusual, the indescribable efficiencies in the procurement and supply chain management at the Central Medical Stores Trust should have been history.

Yet, the leadership believes that it has, this far, been transformative.

Let’s talk about the rule of law as in people enjoying a crime-free life, a prerequisite for socio-economic activities.

Even if we sidestepped the plight of albinos and the dangerous living that has become the norm for our business men and women; publicdisapprovalofthe security lapse is just too loud for one to ignore.

Mob justice, according to Timothy Thomas Fortune, is the most forcible expression of an abnormal public opinion; it shows that society is rotten to the core. With respect to the Malawi situation it goes a step further: it shows that the public has lost trust in the State, the JusticeSystem and the Police.

Imagine this: a group of irate villagers storming a police station, breaking into a cell, pulling out a suspect and right on the police premises, administering mob justice on the hapless chap.

Is this indicative of a people thriving under a transformative leader? No. This is further evidence that the leader and his people are living on different planets.

And if I, Hon MapwiyaMuulupale, said this is akin to a failed state, could I be faulted? How and why?

If all this was happening under the watch of a ‘lay man’, it would have been endurable.But happening under the watch of a Professor of Laws, it is a disgrace to the profession.

And such leadership cannot, under any circumstances, claim to be transformative.

So, Mr President, yours is not transformative leadership. If it were, you wouldn’t be inundated with deadlines from several actors like donors, civil society, and the public through PAC.

If your leadership was up to the mark, all these appeals wouldn’t be a thorn in your flesh. You would, in fact be happy to get views, ideas, suggestions and even criticism to fuel your transformative efforts.And hey, if you don’t take kindly to deadlines and ultimatums, then get into action.

Flipping the coin to the other side, PAC, in its collective wisdom, insists that the Mutharika administration is “transactional”.

On this point, I beg to differ. Iunreservedly agree with President Mutharika, Hon Kaliati and all those folks that have beef with PAC.

President Peter Mutharika’s is not transactional leadership for the simple reason that it does not even begin to qualify for this grade. It is way below this grade.

Transactional leadership gets the basics right BUTfails to transform.

By basics I mean basic education, availability of maize – the basic food stuff, safety and security for people and property and availability of basic essential medicine and equipment in hospitals.

I have made a case in the first part of this article that all these are in a dire state, and if they are in that state; his government cannot claim to have earned the transactional accolade. “Accidental”, “shambling” and “dysfunctional” are attributes that resonate more.

Now you may be asking, what Hon MapwiyaMuulupale, do you suggest we do to get out of this situation?

My recommendation: it is high time we all rallied around PAC to give this body the moral support it needs.

We should not fall in the temptation of focusing on PAC’s ‘democratic deficit’because PACis not an elect body, no.

The truth is: no-one needs to be elected into any office or capacity to ask an elected leader – living on tax-payers money – to deliver on his or her campaign promises.

To quote from the report PAC presented to the President:“As a country let us not continue to wait till the system collapses politically and economically then we start acting on these observations. Let us act now in order to prevent violent conflict in our country.”

This is not about PAC nor about President Mutharika. It is not about the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) or the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

It is about us, about Malawi and about the millions we are condemning to eternal poverty by our collective non-action.

Why should it be none of your business when,for our fellow Malawians in villages, poverty has become a permanent friend?

In a round world like ours, where we can never predict our fortunes for tomorrow with certainty, a stitch in time could save nine.

With due respect to the State President Professor Peter Mutharika, I have only one piece of advice, it is high time he stepped down from his ivory tower.

Do I have a deadline for His Excellency? He has enough on his plate, therefore I will not add one more.

But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, a day cometh when the poor will have nothing left to eat but the rich. And with villagers boldly invading police stations, it is difficult to imagine what and who they will spare.

That day, mark ye my words, will mark the end of “accidental”, “shambling” and “dysfunctional” leadership.

  • First published in the Daily Times, Friday April 29, 2016

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Winston Msowoya
Winston Msowoya
6 years ago

32 years of Banda’s heinous regime,more than half by far of the 15million people are traumatized and lost sense of oneself hence, the successive so-called leaders take this opportunity to misrule their voters and after general elections jump on obsolete MPs and make them puppets and political football.What the people must understand is that the MPs pay more allegiance to the government leaders than the people who voted them into Parliament.We have seen this in successive administrations starting from Mphonongo Banda soon after the dismissals and resignations of the best Cabinet ever seen so far in the history of our… Read more »

6 years ago

Another miserable opposition clown barking, barking, barking and barking some more…….for nothing!

6 years ago

APM is right on deadlines because they are given by ignorant people who don’t know how much govt. have or don’t have in their coffers and how long it takes to do some of the the things. e.g it takes 3-5yrs to build and commision a power station. APM has been in power for 18 months only, how then can u see a new power station already? Who has more experts btwn state and pastors’ body? Do they also teach Engineering and Economics in theological colleges? Let those who know and will do the job tell us the deadlines not… Read more »

6 years ago

You haters of APM will burn in hell for insulting our beloved president. He is trying his best to deliver but he was born epileptic so its not his fault. Just imagine my compatriots when a manager at CMST delivers LPOs to Asian suppliers of medicines in exchange for cash which is shared with the CEO how can we have medicine in our hospitals. When the civil service is failing to process its payroll on time and even fails to give fuel to its Ministers and the head of the civil cant assert his authority over the ST over such… Read more »

Jelbin Mk
Jelbin Mk
6 years ago

Even is an accidental president he was not voted into power but was imposed on us by Mbendela and Kenyata if that is what you meant Mr. I like the othet commentator on this article who said a marriage can end sooner yhan expected if the vows they made to coax one another are not kept and adhered to. This government is really out of touch with its people.

gvh chisimuka
gvh chisimuka
6 years ago

it appears dialogue has failed…tipangeko ziwawa wez .iwowo sakuvutika..ndifeyo anthu akumudzife tikulira..Iwo Ali busy kumadya pizza…ife tidakasaukilabe..Iwo akulemelabe..nthawi yakwana yot Malawians shud rise up…and fight this accidental president’s leadership… a PAC asakudyetsen zimabanz..we are for you coz..u represent us..amphawife….continue speaking for us..we are proud of you…this is our country..let us decide for ourselves..nthawi yosekelela yatha….

Nothing but the truth
Nothing but the truth
6 years ago

Let me school Mapwevupwevu at no1 that Joyce Banda was not accidental president. In case you do not know read our constitution which clearly provides that if a person holding the office of president dies, is incapacitated or is impeached or leaves office for any reason the vice president shall become president. There is nothing accidental about Joyce Banda. Those who argue that Joyce Banda was an accidental president display a worrying and dangerous ignorance of our constitution. The same constitution clearly provides that those who govern Malawians including the state president do so on the sustained trust of Malawians.… Read more »

6 years ago

Hahaha akuti “Mapwiya Muulupale” yet you are SiBweni. Next time just say “SiBweni”.

6 years ago





Ze Roberto
Ze Roberto
6 years ago

The sort of leadership that only seems relevant to those who were born politically dimwit. What is more disheartening is that a person who went through primary school, secondary school up to tertiary education and perhaps a college of good reputation and even travelled out side but still staunchly rallies behind this simpleton of a leadership. No wonder academic qualification doesn’t translate into political literacy.

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