It is one thing to elect a State President. It is yet another to have a leader who is sensible enough to realise that he must have and show empathy towards the people he is leading.
It has already been said several times in the media that, President Bingu wa Mutharika knows very little about the people of Malawi, hence he finds it very difficult to feel for them in times of problems. In fact, it did not take long for him to prove that he lacks empathy. One of his early miscalculations was that during the 2003 election campaign he once said that he was not a polio victim. This was to show that he is generous and has no handicap to prevent him from giving handouts. The disabled people and most Malawians could not take this insinuation. The question was that, how dare him make fun of the disabled?
President Mutharika miscalculations have lately been more pronounced. Imagine while Malawi is in dire need of tobacco buyers, he then decides to deport some of the main buyers. This has contributed to the very low prices that the leaf is fetching which is a total loss to most growers. In the same fashion he deported the British High Commissioner to Malawi. This has created unprecedented economic problems which have triggered the current demonstrations against government.
With President Mutharika it does not rain but simply pours when it comes to miscalculations.
Honestly speaking President Mutharika goofed by holding a public lecture on the day of the demonstrations on 20th July 2011. People country wide went ahead to demonstrate. This is what carried the day. Embarrassingly not much if any was said about how helpful the lecture was. It was simply a waste of money and other resources.
At the moment Malawians are going through a mourning period after losing their loved ones during the demonstrations. The least people expect is for the President who claims to be caring, to say that those who died were thieves. As if this was not bad enough he went ahead to hold beer parties in Blantyre and Mzuzu for vendors. Why should a Head of State hold celebrations when some people are in mourning? May be the President was thinking that he was addressing the economic problems by making the vendors drunk!
It is true that the vendors were promised loans at the beer parties by President Mutharika. This has been said several times before, only to end up as an empty promise.
Another miscalculation the President has done is to appoint a Presidential Committee on Dialogue to work with Civil Society leaders to solve the economic and political problems the country is facing. What makes him think that this will work this time round? What is clear is that President Mutharika is not for contact and dialogue.
Countless organisations have tried in the past and failed to make him ‘reconcile’ with former President Muluzi as well as Vice President Cassim Chilumpha and Right Hon Joyce Banda. Therefore his dialogue committee is simply a window dressing exercise which the country does not need. In fact he has too many advisors and special committees working for him with no results. It is doubtful that he listens to them otherwise he would not be making all these miscalculations.
The miscalculations stated above are just a tip of the iceberg. President Mutharika is known for contradicting himself. For example he can say that he is willing to dialogue with Civil Society leaders. In the same breath he can also say Civil Society leaders are thieves, crooks and good for nothing. With such type of behaviour it becomes difficult to say that he is ready for any form of dialogue.
If indeed President Mutharika’s rule continues to be based on miscalculations, this country is really heading for total disaster.
Emily Mkamanga. Email [email protected]Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :