History is full of great leaders who, once succeeded and later fell because of failure to listen to the views of others. Several great empires once rose and at the very instance, when they thought that they was so strong and refused to take any advice, that is the very time when they fell. The book entitled, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare narrates a story of Julius Caesar a great leader whose political reign came to a catastrophic end because he failed to take the advice of others. This scenario of refusing to take advice continues to repeat itself in several ways and situations throughout the course of history of Malawi.
We saw this scenario very clearly during the era of one party system of Governance here in Malawi. Kamuzu did so many good things for the Republic of Malawi. He developed this country with wonderful infrastructure. He built good structures like dispensaries, clinics, agricultural offices, veterinary structures and good teacher’s houses in the remote areas of Malawi. One wonders how Kamuzu managed to spearhead building of bridges and agricultural offices in such remote areas. When one comes across such beautiful infrastructure in the very remote areas of our country, all and sundry, come to agree that Kamuzu in the first years of presidential office tried to develop the country. Let his soul rest in eternal peace!
However, what tainted MCP era was the dictatorship that later characterized the system from head to toe. Those who provided free advice became enemies of the state and were consequently killed, tortured or exiled. The failure to listen led to the discontentment of the people and MCP was voted out! The beginning was the Catholic Bishop’s Lenten Pastoral letter in 1992. Several politicians seized the opportunity to begin their own political parties and this led to the UDF to take over leadership with Muluzi as president.
We all generally agree that Muluzi did very well in his first term of office and it was during that time that the political landscape was promising. Competent ministers were hired to lead ministries and good infrastructural was conspicuous to the eye. This was the time when UDF were ready to receive advice and opposing views. However, when the second term of office came for UDF, the political landscape quickly changed. The Vice President was no longer respected, Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation became a state machinery used to attack the opposition and Television Malawi became a platform to campaign for Bingu, the Muluzi handpicked leader who in spite of people’s advice, the UDF regime went on to field him as a presidential candidate.
In addition, the ruling party with its majority in Parliament was on the verge of passing ‘bad laws’ like open Term and Third Term Bills. Many ministers like Kaliati and many others in DDP government today defended these bad laws. In order to garner support for these bad laws UDF avoided consulting everybody else except our chiefs whom they had already told to support the government of the day or else risk meeting the wrath of UDF young thugs. People’s advice fell on deaf ears and like the proverbial person who went to sow seeds; people’s advices were like seeds that fell on unfertile ground.
Despite all the free advice given, UDF leaders did not listen at all. In the end, like MCP, their regime came to a drastic end after been cheated by the person they had been advised to handpick by many Malawians.
Enter DPP! History is a circle that keeps repeating itself. We now seem to be walking in the same path. DPP now seems to have closed their ears and anybody who advices Bingu and DPP is perceived to be a political enemy. Look at how the Catholic Bishop’s pastoral letter was ridiculed. Bingu in Mzimba during national tree planting day, had even the audacity to advise Bishops to stop writing pastoral letters and just be planting trees!
Once again, MBCTV is only for DPP, arbitrary arrests are back, DPP thugs are burning people’s offices, Hetherwick Ntaba is back after defending atrocities of Kamuzu, and once again DPP and the president have stopped listening.
My free advice to DPP is that Malawians are watching carefully how you are managing the country. The PAC recommendations are worth looking at, the CSOs points are worth listening to and the views of the opposition are worth considering. At the end of the day, we all belong to one nation and one Malawi. Please president Bingu, open your eyes and listen to your people otherwise the chewas say, ‘tinkanena adathera msiizi!‘
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