On the road to 2014: Tables have turned, as the journey continues!

“Zinthu zasintha mu mpikisano wa Kojak!” is an announcement that old-timers like me, recall with some nostalgia. In the good old days of innocence, it was a very important announcement.

Hearing this on MBC Radio, was enough motivation for us to summa celeritate (with maximum speed) stop playing a game of marble (mabo) or “mpira wa nyau” or “chipako” or on a particularly lucky day, we could even quickly quit “hide-and seek” with the beautiful girl next door, to get closer to a nzeru radio to follow latest developments in the Nu-line Food Products competition.

Nu-Line Food Products were famous for Kojak and Nupro bubble gum, which in those days – at our age – were as good a treat as pringles are for today’s kids. How time flies!

Kojak and Nupro bubble gum came with a competition. One had to collect so many wrappers, in a specified configuration, and mail them to – I cannot remember where; and one could win something – I cannot remember what. Too many years, seasons, presidents and their cabinets – you name it – have come and gone in between.

President Joyce Banda

But the prize whatever it was; was deemed “cool” and therefore was much sought after. Now you may be asking, what’s with all this nostalgia and why all this fuss about bubble gums?

The lesson we can draw from the Nupro&Kojak competition that is still valid today; is that life comes sudden turns and twists. And if one hopes to win, one has to pay attention and stay relevant.

And sudden turns and twists, or to me more precise: a complete turning of tables is just what has transpired on the political landscape in Malawi. People are talking about the stone that builder refused and all that jazz.

Naturally, there will be some irreversible changes. For a start, the configuration of at least two political parties has already changed – drastically. As we speak, DPP members are defecting – en masse – to the PP.

In fact they are defecting at such an alarming rate and in all sorts of unorthodox manner that President Banda has had to call for a time-out and sanity: a thing all well-bred Malawians agree to. Let us mourn Malemu first, and then the professional defectors, better known as political prostitutes, can continue.

Very soon, we will hear from independents – who are never really “independent”, judging from their self-seeking behaviour. And then it will be UDF, and may be even the MCP. And since power comes at a cost, we will also see some people falling out of the PP. The truth is not everyone can or will get a piece of the pie.

Several questions come to the fore and we will in the next few weeks, still put the scrutiny of possibles CVs on hold, and try to find answers to these impending questions.

Some of them, in no particular order, are:

1.      What does all this (the recent turning of tables) mean; and who is who and where, politically and on the road to 2014?

2.      President Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to power, is it an advantage or a liability to her on the road to 2014?

3.      Can Professor Peter Mutharika hold the DPP together and lead it to a come-back in 2014?

4.      What about that Grand Coalition of the 15 political parties that planned to field one candidate, is it relevant anymore? What should those parties and characters do to stay relevant?

5.      Henry Dama Phoya, Atupele Muluzi and the other young turks: what next?

6.      Since the all-uniting opponent has left the stage, will old alliances hold?

7.      IF for example, some Civil Society leaders are given posts in government – we all know President Joyce Banda boasts of a strong civil society background – “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – who will guard the guards?

8.      And more pertinently, what does all this mean for our young democracy?

These questions and more will guide the “On the Road to 2014” series in the coming weeks and months – when we are done with the mourning.

The good news is that, when we return to our series – focussing on individuals, their CVs and their capabilities, we will have our work cut out.

Some characters, you all know who, have since become irrelevant due to their myopic behaviour. And, we will leave them where they belong: in the trash can; as we wait for definitive emerging patterns and powers, while at the same time scrutinizing the opportunists /political prostitutes roaming the corridors of power – in the hope of retaining their influence /power or securing appointments, locally or as diplomats.

Finally, it would be very unMalawian of me if I failed to use this opportunity to extend special condolences to our very patriotic colleagues: Messrs Ndirande Love, BigMan, Socrates, Skopion, MyFriend, Mphwache wa Malemu, Grey Massi, Kaukonde and others.

Please accept my sincere condolences; and find yourself somewhere to perch on the opposition benches. I hope, for once, you will make yourself really useful and that you will “school” the whole wide world in the art of providing constructive criticism – for the sake of Malawi.


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