President Peter Mutharika has hit at critics who accuse him for failing to handle issues in an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation’s Zeinab Badawi on BBC HardTalk which was aired last week.
Jimmy Kainja, a lecture of media studies at the University of Malawi criticised Mutharika on his blog for the BBC Hardtalk appearance, saying Mutharika approached the interview with pitiful mindset and that at times it was embarrassing to watch.
But the President hit back during a news conference he held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
“There are a group of people who will never find anything good in what I am doing. That is childish and irresponsible thinking,” he said.
Kainja in his assessment on the HARDtalk interview is that BBC’s Badawi had more facts about Malawi than Mutharika.
“For every question asked about Malawi’s poor economic growth, infinite poverty, massive corruption and poor governance, the Malawi president turned to Cashgate – a term used to refer to a systematic looting of state resources by civil servants, politicians and business persons. Of course blaming everything on Cashgate is more convenient for President Mutharika because Cashgate happened on the watch of his political rival, the former State President, Joyce Banda,” wrote Kainja.
“Yet, Mutharika had no answers why all the country’s economic and governance problems should be attributed to Cashgate when Joyce Banda was in power for only two of the country’s 51 years of independence. This question points to one of the biggest problems with Malawi, as a country. Those in the leadership positions are never honest with the diagnosis of the country’s problems. Wrong diagnosis means wrong prescription; wrong prescription means the problem will not go away. It is akin to wrapping a boil with a bandage – you can only hide it but it will not heal. The solution is to burst the boil and treat it,” stated Kainja
He pointed out that like a boil, Malawi is at a point where it needs to open up to “uncomfortable realities” and that the “deliberate misdiagnosis” of the country’s problems is convenient because majority of the country’s political leaders are either interested in covering their corrupt past; that of their peers or are merely interested in denting CVs of their political rivals.
“Short term, narrow and selfish interests are prioritised in place of bigger, long-term national interests. It is all about political blame game, and at the moment Joyce Banda is unfairly taking all the flak,” observed Kainja.
“Of course Cashgate happened on [Joyce Banda] watch and she must account for it. Yet, there are also unaccounted for millions of Malawi Kwacha that went missing under Presidents Bingu wa Mutharika, Peter’s older brother, and Bakili Muluzi. The latter still has a court case, answering charges of corruption for allegedly diverting government money into a personal account.
“Peter Mutharika and his government will not mention Bingu and Muluzi because UDF (Muluzi’s party) and DPP (Mutharika’s party) are now in a convenient political collation of some sort,” wrote Kainja.
The blogger and media don also noted that Mutharika’s appearance on BBC was in line with what has become a trend for African leaders – granting interviews to Western media and not the local media.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :