Ntata’s Uncommon Sense: Malawi’s problems more serious than issue of Jane Ansah

It has now become all too convenient to romanticize the Malawian condition.This is tragic. The original anger and disgruntlement over a botched election has given way to a now very familiar and predictable status quo. Civil society is expected every now and again to announce dates for a protest. The country then resigns itself to another few days of unproductive holidays while people lethargically walk the streets and our usually unoccupied army finds something to do performing police duties.

Embattled MEC chair Jane Ansah 

It is easy to understand why. Much of populace is probably content to show a little bit of anger and to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters demanding Jane answer to resign. This, they reckon, they can do while all the time hoping and praying that the constitutional court will come to the rescue of a nation in governance quandary by ordering a re-run which to those that are in support of it, is simply the only correct and obvious decision that the court must reach.

The more I closely follow and consider critically the events unfolding in Malawi, however, the more I realize that Malawi’s problems are more serious than just the issue of Jane Ansah and her botched-up election. I am convinced that the elections case will not be the answer to Malawi’s problems, and that if Malawi is indeed to come out of the doldrums and sail smoothly to economic progress and prosperity, then we probably need to look elsewhere for the solution.

Looking beyond the elections and beyond the constitutional court case where the opposition candidates are entreating the court to nullify the elections, one has to be left in a state of despair when one considers the leadership bankruptcy that the country has exhibited since May.

Where in the world, for instance, would a police service of a country be involved in countless raping of women in an area without the president coming out to say something on the issue, and let alone act on it. I would have thought that the inspector General of police would immediately be fired by the president and an independent commission instituted to investigate the rape allegations swiftly and ensure that the perpetrators not only lost their police jobs but also faced justice. Not so with president Arthur Peter Mutharika. The path of wisdom for Mutharika in circumstances like this one is to insist that his Inspector General nominee – the man in charge as all these police rape incidents took place – must be sent to the national assembly so that his appointment can be approved. As I am writing this, not a single police officer has been arrested or charged for those Msundwe rapes. Imagine that!

Our problems are more serious than the elections fiasco because in the face of such callous abuse of women, Seodi White, a prominent woman in the Peter Mutharika Administration, believes that it makes sense to weep actual tears and stage a demonstration march in solidarity and sympathy with Jane Ansah, the Electoral Commission Chairperson, but refuses to lift a finger or raise a whimper when tens of women are raped by the police.

The Msundwe rape issue is a serious one. It is an issue that needed a decisive and serious leadership from the president and those around him.But the president has chosen to remain silent and pay a completely deaf ear to the cries of the women he claims to be keen to serve, and the service for which he is having to cling to the presidential seat to the point of going to court to earn this right.

If you are not convinced with this example of the seriousness of our problems, consider the issue raging at the ministry of lands. The ministry of lands is currently busy trying to babysit greedy cabinet ministers and stop illegal development of plots that were allocated illegally in Lilongwe. The minister of Lands himself is involved, along with a few other ministers and other DPP sympathizers. The issue reached a murderous height when one of those involved in the illegal developments went to the ministry of lands brandishing a handgun and threatened to shoot dead officers whom, as far as he was concerned, were meddling with his intention to develop property in Lilongwe. The matter was reported to the police and the individual was named as one of president Mutharika’s bodyguards. Did you think Mutharika, upon being told of this issue fired the offending minister along with the murderous bodyguard? He didn’t. Both of them still have their jobs and are still going strong while officers at the ministry of lands are walking around in fear of their lives all because of doing their jobs.

Still not convinced? Then consider how president Mutharika’s minister of local government has been going around changing longstanding chieftainships at his whim and installing his friends and stooges, while in the process causing chaos, riots and unrest in the communities. The latest one is where the said minister went to Rumphi and tried to meddle with long and well-established chieftain lines there. This misguided move resulted in protests where irate mobs unhappy with the minister’s meddling torched houses and rampaged the streets of Rumphi. Did you think Mutharika has done what you would expect a leader to do and fired this useless minister? He has not. The minister is still going strong and being allowed to disturb and mess up more communities and villages.

I imagine that in all these incidents, a leader who was grappling with the very legitimacy of his presidency would be quick to do the right thing and be seen to be actually mindful of the scrutiny on his suitability for the office of president. If the sword of Damocles hanging on his leadership in the form of the potential nullification of the elections by the courts were not enough, you would think that Mutharika could look to the legacy of his late brother for inspiration. After all, it was the great Bingu who did not spare his own minister, Yusuf Mwawa, when Mwawa was accused of corruption, and made him an example of his zero-tolerance policy on corruption by letting the ACB do its job and firing him from the cabinet.

To be honest with you, though, I am convinced that the memory of Bingu and his works and legacy has long been forgotten by the young brother who has decided to surround himself with advisors that are pursuing nothing but their own personal agendas. In the spirit Rehoboam of the Bible, it seems to me Mutharika’s leadership is saying to us, “My brother made you work hard, but I’ll make you work even harder. He punished you with whips, but I’ll use whips with pieces of sharp metal!”

Did you think Malawi’s problems are simply encapsulated in the elections case and in the now rapidly becoming stale Anti-Jane Ansah Protests?

I assure you dear uncommon sensers, they are more serious than that.

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CULTURE
Guest
CULTURE

Keep on writing Ntata, Beni Phiri is a minister now and Chimulilengi is a VP. Keep on writing and analyse. Wishing you the best. Also encourage your brother George Phiri, Kasakula, Brian Banda and others.

mpilu
Guest
mpilu

too many unsolved mysteries here now. in the end,chaos

stumpy
Guest
stumpy

I agree with you. Should Jane ansah be fired now? Problem solved? No!! Yes if the MEC , but we will still have this president unless the we wait for the outcomes from the court. I guess it will be worse than what we seeing now.

Nambewe
Guest
Nambewe

The problem we have is that we as citizens are too irresponsible! too selfish! we indulge in trivia when in fact we need to be dealing with the serious issues in our country and we lie and cheat ourselves! The seating point is every Malawian taking a very serious look at the themselves and ask what can I as a citizen behave to to contribute to this country??? We live in this country like nobody owns it!!! do malawians know that this is their country and they need to treat it with love and constructive attitude to progress it? Look… Read more »

Justice Usiwa
Guest
Justice Usiwa

So losing only that you own is not a problem. Median was bread winner for family.

Mr ibu
Guest
Mr ibu

Sounds like you are saying the many problems we have is the president not jane ansah right? Or maybe you mean…the president plus ansah. Way I see it. Is that we hav many problems with implementation of the law, poverty, ignorance, corruption, social & economic injustice, nepotism, tribalism, those and many more. Issues like government employees working for less than the minimum of 8 hours a day (usually they work around 4hrs) issues like citizens chosing un-educated members of parliament to represent them and make or ammend our constitution and the law. The major problem the way I see it,… Read more »

Nambewe
Guest
Nambewe

every one needs to change their mind set and realise that developing a country is in fact the responsibility of the citizens. Now they have destroyed the infra structure! they caused chaos! they incurred millions of kwacha damage! the next stage is for that damage to get repaired and guess who is going to bear the cost?Malawians in one way or another!!!!Please tell me how then is that going to change anything in Malawi? it will make people more poor! more bitter! the solution is ….first have a conversation with yourself! a very honest conversation and decide that you will… Read more »

stumpy
Guest
stumpy

Exactly

Jah
Guest
Jah

So rape allegations are serious more than the killing of an officer on duty???

Nkhuzi
Guest
Nkhuzi

As you cannot solve a problem by creating another problem. The officer’s issue has been overtaken by rape activity by MPS

Nambewe
Guest
Nambewe

There eis absolutely NO place for rape in human society! it is not excusable at any tome and it should be dealt with severely!!!!

Kharupa
Guest
Kharupa

But there is a place for murder I guess in your society

nambewe
Guest
nambewe

This is what I am talking about! all these issues are not right! but if you keep the president busy dealing with problems you have caused yourselves you are taking him away from all the other serious work he has to do!!! why do you rape women who ever you are? if you did not rape we would not have a rape problem!!! If you adopted a negotiation! using civilised methods! we would not have a dead police man!!! This behaviour Malawians is what is dragging us back wards! Remember a President simply manages the job but he does not… Read more »

stumpy
Guest
stumpy

AltHough this isn’t the headline but for what you hv said, If women and girls was to pay the death price then why 44 young men was taken for investigations? Out of them still 4 are being kept for Mulder. Why raping innocent women and girls. Law must take its measures Accordingly.