Communication vacuum is a recipe, not just for uncertainty, but a conducive breeding ground for speculation too. That a vacuum in communication is another form of communication cannot be dismissed because sometimes silence speaks the loudest than any attempt to strike verbal cords.
The theatrical type of communication that is criss-crossing between the State House press office and the Ministry of Information, as regards the delayed return or indeed prolonged stay of President Peter Mutharika in the United States of America where he went to attend the United Nations General Assembly, is a mixed bag.
While the government powered mumble-jumble information fails to hold water, it however reaffirms the fact that we have a system whose one foot is in autocracy and another in democracy and therefore operating in such a dual conflicting lane highway makes this country, its leadership, its citizenry and its politics move in insane circles.
Last week the nation was loudly and boldly that President Mutharika returns over the past weekend, came that weekend no word was coughed out to alert the nation about the change in the arrival of the President. Meanwhile the people of Malawi await, only to be bombarded by another fear powered statement unleashed from the Ministry of Information which escapes to explain the misfiring of an earlier dishonorable lie on the return of the president but opts to breathe terror in an attempt to put speculations to muteness.
It looks like even the whole Ministry of Information and State House hardly have an idea about the return of APM hence their incredible inability to answer the many questions making rounds on tongues of the people of Malawi. The more the state plays dribbles, the more questionable the integrity of their communication becomes.
Certainly the public relations crew of the state is the missing link to demystify the ‘missing’ of the President. Malawians miss their head of state and they want an update on what official duties are keeping him occupied in the US. According to a statement from the Minister of Information ‘…when APM concludes the official duties he is currently undertaking which are for the benefit of all Malawians, the nation will be advised in the next few days regarding the dates he will return home…’
Now, are the silent updates from the prolonged official duties of the APM in the US doing any justice to Malawians who are the so called beneficiaries? Are these meetings in camera that not even a picture could be captured to float a caption update on a simple platform like the official facebook page of the President? Or should it be adopted as a rule that politicians are not to be trusted and as such they are simply a people who do not act against their own perceived interests under the guise of serving the people they represent?
The state PR machinery could have done better to quench the thirst that Malawians are battling with in seeking information about the president’s delayed/prolonged duties. Imagine how brilliantly the state PR crew craftily pushed the image of President Mutharika queuing at an airport to board a commercial flight? At that point the picture alone spoke tones. Or is it because that time government desperately sought to win the sympathy of Malawians to necessitate purchase of a presidential jet or probably justify its hiring?
Clearly the president’s trip was planned and budgeted. Now that plan is being executed. Most likely the silence is part of the execution plan. Surprisingly communication surrounding the missing HE is seemingly out of sync as proved by different versions of information from the state house and the ministry of information.
In as much as there could be nothing abnormal in the normality of the prolonged stay of APM in the US, the vacuum created in the communication is betraying the good old professor so much so that the benefit Malawians will draw from his extended US adventure is comprehensively doubtful. Intimidation cannot be an answer.
Questions of fact, truth, correctness, validity, and clarity can neither be posed nor answered in a vacuum. Communication is critical, more so in a democratic society where the leaders are bound to accountable to the people. The state PR has let the President down, it has let the government down and yes, it has ridiculed the people of Malawi by taking them for granted. This whole circus begs a question, who is fooling who?Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :