Of this week’s developments in Malawi, a commentator’s take (verbatim)

“Without wanting to appear to toot my own chitoliro, let me say I remember being the first to mention (at least on Nyasanet and FB), early on or around April 6th, 2012, that cabinet and government officials who were dragging their feet on the matter of President Bingu Mutharika’s likely incapacitation or death (based on information available at the time); who were doing so to facilitate the ascension to the Presidency of Peter Mutharika at the expense of Joyce Banda, the rightful constitutional successor, were subverting the constitutional order and courting future charges of Treason.

After my statement there was a flood of similar statements from all quarters including press conferences, the first by Bakili Muluzi, followed by a few others by all kinds of organizations including, later, one by Mrs. Joyce Banda from her Area 12 official residence.

The point I am trying to make here is that it was obvious right from the start that what has now been revealed as going on at the time by Hon Peter Mutharika, ex-SPC Bright Msaka, Hon Goodall Gondwe and the rest of the Midnight Six plotters, among others, was illegal and dangerous, not only to the country, but even to themselves, at least legally.

The question, then, is: how could it be that such highly intelligent and capable people as these took that dangerous path, anyway?

Treason suspect Peter Mutharika at the court
Treason suspect Peter Mutharika at the court

I have listened to all the explanations about power hunger on the part of Hon Arthur-Peter Mutharika and some of the others. I have also listened to the explanation that some; especially those among the so-called Midnight 6 were simply trying to be on the side that would best preserve their jobs.

These explanations to me do not tell the whole story. It seems to me there must be another story — one deeply embedded in the Malawian political psyche – perhaps the same as, or similar to, what others have referred to as the (psychological) baggage left over from many years of dictatorship under Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

These mid night six plotters, notwithstanding their manifestly high intelligence and savoir-faire, seem to have succumbed, nevertheless, to the folly of believing their own party’s propaganda and political rhetoric.

The DPP’s culture of relegating Vice Presidents (Cassim Chilumpha first and then Joyce Banda), and Bingu Mutharika’s insistence that his VPs whom he had sidelined did not have successor powers to the Presidency, apart from the DPP’s podium rhetoric that dressed away all powers from the VP’s position, became ‘truths’ and guidelines, in a manner of speaking, in the mind of the DPP rank and file at the expense of the contents of the Constitution on the same issues.

(C) The Malawi Nation

(C) The Malawi Nation

The lesson to learn here is that political parties, politicians, and individuals in the civil service particularly those serving the highest levels of political power, must learn to distinguish between party rhetoric and their constitutional obligations; and understand the consequences of ignoring their constitutional obligations.

It is not for nothing that the Constitution is called the supreme law of the land. Subordinating its requirements to the exigencies of party propaganda and the over-inflated ambitions and egos of a stupid dictator like Bingu Mutharika can be dangerous to one’s future health. It could land one in a situation whereby, as one cartoon depicts Hon Nicholas Dausi from a jail cell, complaining of ‘gargantuan temperature and humidity in the cell,’ replete with mosquitoes that ‘are piercing our physical structures.’” © Ambuje Tom Likambale, 2013

Question time:

  • Oh Wise One from the East, what is thine response to this commentary?
  • Folks, fellow country men and women, what do you have to say

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