If the saying “behind every great man is a great woman” is true, then it must also hold true that behind any failure of a man, their must be a woman of small and limited intelligence who is unable to help her husband become great.
The importance of the role of a man’s so called better half then, cannot be over emphasised, especially when that man is a president of a country. After picking a male president, countries are ‘gifted’ with First Ladies – presidential spouses who must have traversed the country with their husbands in search of the mandate.
Even though their role is largely not constitutional, most of them have offices tied to the presidency. Different countries have to deal with the unofficial civil servants for the right and wrong reasons.
First Ladies are the president’s better half, ‘mothers of the nation’ – they are called. This is probably right because they complete the ‘father of the nation’ – the man chosen by majority of the voter population to steer the affairs of state.
Some are visible and powerful, others are controversial. Some you hardly ever see but on campaign platforms, popping up and fading out as quickly as they arrived.
One in the recent past openly disagreed with her husband on his governance style – not even his response that “she belongs to the kitchen and other rooms” deterred her from firing a salvo or two.
Aisha Buhari, whose husband Muhammadu said she is not a ‘First Lady’ but rather ‘Wife of the President,’ warned in response to some criticism made against her that her husband would soon be back from sick leave to fire the hyenas and jackals that were enjoying his continued absence.
Across the continent, they are simply “accidental civil servants” of sorts. They are those that get the limelight because of their marital association with the president.
In Malawi, we are seeing unfolding before our very own eyes, the evolution of a First Lady who after being introduced to the nation from relatively obscurity, is now consolidating herself as the power behind the power, controlling each and every aspect of President Peter Mutharika’s leadership and administration, and, it is said, making all the important decisions for him.
If the reports coming from the State House are anything to go by, and I see no reason to disbelieve reports given to me by most reliable cabinet members, these are times of daring and hubris, for Madam Getrude Mutharika. The president’s wife has evolved from a simple headstrong headstrong politician aspiring for the position of MP in her constituency to a political power player in her own right. She has emerged victorious from her battles against former Special Assistant Ben Phiri as to who would have the president’s most attentive ear, a more seasoned and more manipulative politician with a better grasp of how to control Mutharika and keep all the men around him beholden to her.
As we all know, the most important thing that President Mutharika lacks is discipline in his intellectual or decision-making life, unless somebody rescues him. For a good part of his presidency, Ben Phiri with his more decisive yet always self-aggrandising approach to government policy was the one doing the rescuing. Today, having overseen the decline and fall of Ben Phiri, the First lady has taken up that mantle and is the one who kept things moving.”
The first lady has now been nicknamed “Jezebel’ within government circles. The biblical Jezebel controlled her husband, King Ahab, to the point that Israel was utterly corrupted and weakened as a nation. A Jezebel always intends to get what she wants at all costs, but this intention can be cleverly disguised. Jezebels use flattery, saying what you want to hear, to win you over to their domination. Jezebels are masters of manipulation by guilt, gifts, innuendo, insinuation, undermining influence, or discrediting. They may exhibit false humility or submission, while they feed their own pride and seek to get their way. They may dominate, control, and manipulate to gain their own agenda. Jezebels use flirtation and womanly wiles. They are extremely jealous of anyone they perceive to be a threat or who gets close enough to influence someone they want to control. They can emit jealousy into a room, as they play one person against another. They are divisive and send separation and strife into the strongest relationships.
The First Lady is said to be prone to bouts of anger and nurses a deep resentment toward anyone who dares to suggest that because her husband is too old and too unpopular, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) needs to seriously consider fielding someone else in the 2019 elections. Some say she even sometimes suggests her own name to be Peter Mutharika’s running mate! She is an important force within the State House, not for domestic duties such as cooking Peter Mutharika’s meals and ironing his shirts, but for single-handedly pushing the now 79-year-old Mutharika to seek re-election in 2019, when the president himself does want to run again.
Considering the First lady’s inexperience, however, is it not surprising that her imposing herself into the DPP fabric has resulted in serious divisions among DPP insiders. What is surprising and even shocking is how much the President seems to be depending on her more than any other figure in his world. It is blinding him to trouble, some advisers and cabinet members have concluded, most notably about the real issues that are making his presidency unpopular- the failures in making important decisions regarding the electricity shortages, healthcare service decline and more importantly, the future of the party with regard to the next elections.
Now, pardon my cynicism, but I would have thought that the first lady would be the first person to recognise that the president is desperately unpopular, and more importantly to appreciate that at his age and with his health, the president needs to retire, and do in while leaving a powerful DPP legacy that could make them proud in their retirement.
Could it be that the first lady loves the power surrounding the president even more than she loves the president, and that the thought of giving up that power is so unbearable that she is willing to sacrifice the president to maintain it?
Even as I write this, the first lady of Zimbabwe has failed to hang on to her husband’s power and the result has been to plunge the country into a coup fiasco that signals nothing but another ugly chapter in the history of that country.
Behind every great man, so the saying goes, is a great woman.
Is it safe to say that we now know exactly who is behind President Peter Mutharika’s failures, flops and disasters?
Is it the woman that those in the know are referring to as Jezebel?Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :