Mpasu’s proof of ‘intellectual decay’

We respect Sam Mpasu very much. Mpasu who had served on different ministerial positions and at one time Speaker of the National Assembly in UDF (United Democratic Front)- led government deserve best our greatest admiration, especially if are also to consider him from the following factors:

That he was the first crop of Chancellor College- 1965-69 and added to that the President (called Chairman in Kamuzu Banda’s era for fear of reprisals) of the Students Union in the whole University of Malawi. That he was the best student in English language while he was only in first year and awarded for that a Student Leadership Travel grant by the United States government to visit the USA for six weeks.

Mpasu: Atupele in unknown quantity

At Chancellor College (located in Blantyre City that time and not Zomba City) Mpasu did philosophy, psychology, sociology, English and Biology but majored Economics and English Literature. This speaks well of his intellectual wealth. He is a rare material. Reading through the two books he authored; Nobody’s Friend and Political Prisoner 3/75 you easily know Mpasu’s place in academia.

Surprisingly, the Mpasu portrayed in these must read books is not the Mpasu we hear now speaking almost with whims of irrationality and complete lack of logic about the ills of Atupele Muluzi. We just wonder where Mpasu has hid his intellectual wealth. He has really lost the intellectual path and is treading on a dangerous path of wishful thinking. Should we be made to believe that as a person attains old age, slowly loses the ability to think well?

At cover page of his book, Political Prisoner 3/75, Mpasu showing his sense of democratic maturity and the desire for change, nicely wrote:

In Banda’s regime, “It is true that we had what looked like peace. But it was the peace of the cemetery. It was enforced silence which was taken for peace. Our lips were sealed by fear and death. Our pens were silenced by long jail terms, without trial.

“It was true that we had what looked like political stability. But it was the kind of stability which is caused by overwhelming force. When thick boot is on the neck of a person who is prone on the ground, there can be no movement. The jails full and murders were rampant. The murders were above the law.”

These are words from the real Mpasu we used to know. The Mpasu that tolerated diversity of views, aspirations and hopes. The Mpasu that wrote and spoke without political prejudices and jealous. All of a sudden, Mpasu has come now contradicting the words in his own book. He looks to have become the malicious voice that only intends to block the path and political career of Atupule Muluzi. As such he never tolerates democracy; the democracy he hardly fought and wrote for in his Nobody’s friend. He is not a friend to the young generation that shows potential of leadership.

Look at how senseless are these statements Mpasu made to kill Atupele political ambitions on Capital FM’s Straight Talk program.

“He is not Obama. You can’t even compare Atupele to Obama. What is there common between Atupele and Obama.”He insinuates that Atupele is a political toddler and cannot become president for the nation.

“Look at Atupele, he is 32 years. What gives you confidence or anybody’s confidence that Atupele can run a country of 13 million people? It’s unknown quantity.”

“Atupele himself doesn’t know Atupele, do you understand that?”

Atupele has no experience “Has he been vice president of this country so you can say he performed this way, has he been minister, has he been a deputy minister. Has he run any parastatal?

“He has no benchmark to judge him. He has not even run a grocery shop to say this is his performance.

“You have nothing to judge him with. Running a country, being commander-in-chief of armed forces, being in charge of the  police, being in charge of thousands of civil servants and making rational decision, international relations and so forth  is not a piece of cake.”

“Atupele is not interested in any political party positions. He is not interested leading the UDF,” he said. “He just wants to reap the benefits of the party, so he says.”

“He just wants to be a presidential candidate of UDF. He just wants UDF to put him in power.”

Mpasu’s arguments really lack sense. He doesn’t understand the psychology he did at Chancellor College that intellectual maturity is reached at any stage above 20 years of age or less. He doesn’t understand that mature ‘thinking’ is done at any level above ones adolescence depending on circumstances.

Mpasu is insisting on what have been possibilities. How can he say that Atupele is 32 and cannot run a big country of 13 million people? He is appealing to numbers and misses the point that we don’t rule numbers but we deal with the people’s welfare. More, Joseph Kabila only at 28 was already president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is very possible. Despite the circumstances that led his ascendancy to the presidency we are only interested in that he effectively ruled that big nation and recently won another term of office.

Mpasu’s description of Atupule is like he is imagining him lifting the weight of 13 million Malawians over his small head. Yet, leadership is not about physical power or image; it is about power of the brain; thinking in creative and productive manner.

We don’t know if Mpasu’s good reason believes that the current UDF has people who can win the people’s popular vote and confidence if at all he is very honest to own thinking. It’s not just a matter of being presidential candidate but it’s a matter of winning the people’s vote.

Experience, it cannot be dismissed helps one to become a good leader but not always. The time Bingu wa Mutharika ascended to the presidency, he had not served anywhere as Member of Parliament or long time minister except for the stint he had as Minister of Development Planning in UDF-led government. He had no knowledge of national affairs that time. Nothing. He only had the knowledge and experience of running international bodies like COMESA. And these are quite different matters. Did he not perform well in his first term? He did. Yet, without being the knowledge of even running a village small shop or a grocery.

Muluzi might have little experience on government affairs but he is not totally blank. He is a fast learner as he has himself shown within the period he had been Member of Parliament for Machinga North East. Experience doesn’t really matter. What matters is the brain; how it is able to learn new things, solve new problems that emanate, know how to work and coordinate with others; those who have experience in different parts of government.

Atupele Muluzi: Fast learner

None can claim to be have experience of the presidency except when you become one. Even if you have been a government minister for 50 years in different ministries you still cannot claim to have been an experience of the presidency. It is one thing to be a minister and another to be president. Even if you were vice- president you still need to be the first president to have an experience of the presidency. This should be understood well.

Atupele cannot be charged with having only the interest to lead the party and not revive the party. That will be a contradiction. It’s impossible for any person to dare represent one party without the interest of it. If he looks not to have the interest, it’s because he is not given room to do so. He is under pressure and sometimes not welcome in the party’s meetings. And when he does it alone he is also charged of pursuing a personal agenda and not of the party. If Mpasu wants to see Atupele’s interest they (UDF executive) should try to avoid mounting any pressure on him; invite him to partnership and let his interest to contest at the party’s convention presidential nominations grow.

Mpasu also being in a class of philosophy at one time understand well how analogical descriptions go.  By comparing Atupele Muluzi to Barrack Obama, the USA president, it doesn’t mean that they have very similar qualities. What it means is that they share some qualities like; they belong to the same generation; they have eloquent and captivating voice and do things maturely. If we remember well for the past few years Atupele had never acted immaturely anywhere. This is evidence that he is ‘not a baby’.

We ask Mpasu to revisit his college books to claim the knowledge that is going out of him. He should begin looking at matters askance and give credit where it is due. He should not have the fears of being under the Young Muluzi who was not there at the founding and formation of the party. But he should have fears of another miserable failure UDF is to register in the next general elections if no prudent measures are taken. Otherwise, as we used to know Mpasu, he has great potential to bring change; he has been well guided by reason and now should help bring that change in UDF even without wanting to the party’s torch bearer or running mate in the next elections.

As we write this, it should be taken note of that we are not in partisan politics, we are not even followers of UDF every ideology but we only share the idea of anyone who wants change in our country. We also understand that, everybody can talk about change or promise change but the change we are talking about here is total transformation of the Malawi current social-economic and political status.

And Atupele Muluzi has an “Agenda for Change’ and we share that with him. We also want change. Already, we have listened to his powerful speeches in Parliament that either causes debate, silence or anger. This proves his potential to spearhead the change Agenda. He is propelling a thing many of us also long for. Therefore he is part of us and we should work together to press strongly for that change as it cannot come on a silver- platter. It has to be fought for. This change is not for Atupele it’s for us.

If you are a university student anywhere in Malawi and also have an agenda to change your country and future then you are part of us. Wherever you are at the state or private university you should organize yourself into a group of the University Students for Atupele’s ‘Agenda for Change.’ Our main objective is to press and finds rational ways to effect that change. At chancellor College, we have already started. You can also become part of this movement by writing to [email protected].

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