“We will also ensure that no civil servant is victimised because of change of government.” –Arthur Peter Mutharika
When, by accident of fate, Joyce Banda became President of the Republic of Malawi the first task she undertook was to sack Bright Malopa, the MBC Director General, and Information Minister Patricia Kaliati.
Ama also hastily recalled Agrina Mussa, her who accused the then Vice President of ‘impatience’ when the latter inquired after the status of President Bingu wa Mutharika after he was ‘officially’ taken ill to South Africa during those three mad days of April.
It was clear Abiti could not work with Malopa. His radio cartoon, Makiyolobasi, was brutally sarcastic against her. In fact I do not see how Malopa, himself, could have worked with Joyce Banda.
In fact, by sacking him, the President made it easy for Malopa to move on.
Besides, he still had some years to his contract to run which government was supposed to buy. That was an easy living than Bright having to try too hard to please Ama into forgetting his ‘sins’.
As for Kaliati, Akweni had said a number of things against her fellow woman a decent family column like this one cannot repeat. Kaliati was safer fired from Ama’s Cabinet than forcing herself to pretend she respected the President.
Imagine Kaliati, as a minister in Abiti’s Cabinet, getting on all fours praising her boss to the moon. Who could have believed her? I think Ama saved Kaliati from her troubles by sacking her.
As for Agrina Mussa, as an envoy, I know hers was a tricky situation. She knew the President was dead but Lilongwe was not ready to accept that bare fact. She also knew Joyce Banda was of the ‘inferior caste’ as far as the DPP politics was concerned.
Lilongwe was a mad house then, nobody knew what to do. Agrina had the President’s corpse to manage; a call from an ostracised Vice President was an unwelcome distraction.
Agrina had to do what ‘a lady had to do’, dis all distractions!
But Joyce Banda, too, could not have worked with a woman who treated her like the ‘scum of earth’. So, for the two ladies, the ‘divorce’, if you ask me, was ‘mutual’.
So, you see, any incoming administration has to do a ‘cleaning up’ job. Our system is so fluid that it is difficult to differentiate party issues from government. There is a thin line between party and government, so to speak.
Which is why I do not understand why – and how – Peter Mutharika could dig an unnecessary hole for himself. It was totally unnecessary for him to declare: “We will also ensure no civil servant is victimised because of change of government.”
We knew this was a blue lie he could not sustain. Malawians have come to be used that any in-coming administration comes with its own people in strategic positions. Bakili Muluzi did it, Bingu wa Mutharika did it, so did Joyce Banda.
It could not have been strange to expect Peter to do it too. Not that it is right but it is a trend.
So why did Peter decide to make an unnecessary lie in his most important speech? We knew his boys and girls were already salivating for plum jobs in government and quasi-governmental agencies the moment Maxon Mbendera tearfully confirmed Peter had won the May elections.
From what I hear John Bizwick was not doing a bad job at MRA; my namesake Kamoto is also not bad, but you do not shuffle people around just for the fun of it.
If Peter indeed did not need to victimise people then Bizwick could still have been at MRA.
And what sin did Henry Odillo commit to deserve the boot? What about the vindictive shuffling at MBC and the Ministry of Information?
The point is Peter needed not have lied to sound good. Why did he have to dig himself an unnecessary trench? We knew certain people in government would not keep their jobs.
This was an unnecessary executive lie.
- The article appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper