Newspaper columnists and commentators have argued that President Peter Mutharika team of advisers and public relations are “sleeping on the job” because for about two years Mutharika and his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have become so infamous for one scandal after another.
Columnist Albert Sharra states that the ‘mismanagement’ of information about the President’s illness at United Nations General Assembly (Unga) in 2016 resulted in rumours spreading all over the globe that ‘our dear leader was dead’.
“Then came power blackouts, Maizegate followed before Hurricane Callista struck, to add salt to injury, [Saulos] Chilima left DPP. The party was also fingered in Escom procurement mess and got K145 million as a share of the spoils from the Malawi Police Service ration food deal, just to mention some of the prominent scandals between 2016 and 2018,” writes Sharra in the Weekend Nation newspaper.
According to Sharra, the team that is supposed to manage the President’s image—and that of the party has only worsened the situation with inaction.
“Observably, this situation if not handled well ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections, will push away people who would have voted for APM (Mutharika.”
“What is coming out clear from all this, is that the so-called old boys the former First Lady Callista Mutharika recently called ‘vultures’ are the ones who continue to feed the president lies that he is on the right path and that the country has developed beyond recognition. They are the ones claiming that they are managing the situation, just well.
“But the President must hear this. Word on the street is that if APM (Mutharika) does not put his brains to work these so-called old boys surrounding him will cost him an election. In fact, word is that it is the actions of the old boys—who have been holding press conferences lately and other greedy souls in the party—that led to the breakaway formation of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) that is giving DPP sleepless nights today,” writes Sharra.
The columnists state the people are tempted to believe what the former First Lady also said, that “APM is a good man”, but the people around him are toying with him due to his old age.
“A week ago, Vice-President Saulos Chilima also hinted on the same in an interview with [Zodiak] that the people around the president are behind the bad relationship between Mutharika and him,” he added.
A fierce social and political commentator Idriss Ali Nassah writing on his Facebook page argued that someone is running a flawed strategy with President Mutharika.
“Given the president’s advanced age and obvious limitations, he is only as good as the people around him, the advice he gets and the information he is given to process. Our president is no dummy but his handlers are increasingly making him look like an incompetent buffoon, and a joke,” Nassah wrote.
Nassah faulted the spin doctors for letting Mutharika speak on State controlled MBC TV on ‘Talk to the President’ interview programme “ without solid talking points,” at a time when he is on the back foot and facing relentless onslaught from Vice-President Saulos Chilima’s let United Transformation Movement (UTM).
“The whole interview had the feeling of something done out of anger and frustration at seeing SKC (Chilima) hog all the limelight and dominate the national political discourse. But that is a flawed strategy and someone is taking a gamble with the president,” Nassah wrote.
He noted that, instead of reassuring the nation, the Malawi leader looked “irritated, exhausted and uneasy.”
“His robotic appearance did nothing to convince people that he is going to be the main man to lead Malawi to new prosperity. The constant pressure of running a country and fighting off Chilima must be taking its toll. Whilst you could argue that he is reaping the harvest from the seeds he sowed by being a disinterested, absentee, out-of-touch, not-in – control, president, I felt some sympathy for a man who is so obviously on the ropes.
“I really had high hopes at the beginning of his presidency, so it is painful for me to watch him fade into oblivion like this,” he wrote.
Another commentator Lyson Sibade writing his column on Nyasa Times on Saturday argued that the way DPP administration has behaved in recent times, President Mutharika is surrounded by “incompetent” advisers who are feeding the administration and party with poor advice which have resulted in very embarrassing actions and decisions by the party and the administration.
“For example, some statements that the President made during the ‘Talk to the President’ interview on Thursday evening about signatories and Inde Bank, or the decision to return the MK145 million, or the decision to give some youths subsidized beer or hold parallel rallies against UTM in Mzuzu and several other incidences show that DPP is lacking competent advisers who can make and not break the President and DPP administration,” wrote Sibande.
“When advisers give the President wrong advice, it is called betrayal because the President acts on the advice out of trust in the advisers. Therefore, when mistakes are made like what we have noticed recently in the DPP administration, the President must remedy betrayal by firing some of his advisers that work in official capacity or distance himself from some people that give him advice in unofficial capacity. He must then choose a new team of advisers and friends to surround him especially at this crucial moment when the 2019 Tripartite Elections were already unofficially launched,” he argued.
Malawians next go to the polls in May 2019 to elect the president, parliament and ward councillors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :