This week marks one year since Malawians ‘spoke’ – in those chaotic May 2014 tripartite elections. Well, it is now twelve months since Pres Peter Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) assumed the helms of power and since Joyce Banda and her now ‘disbanding’ Peoples Party (PP) waved Plot No. 1 goodbye.
Perhaps, it is imperative that – at least during this significant time – we do a little bit of stock-taking. Do some soul searching, and map our way forward as a nation that for the last half century since attaining self-rule is still being listed as one of the poorest countries in the world.
Today (Tuesday), our ‘self-styled’ political analysts have given their verdict on President Peter Mutharika’s performance in the last year (http://www.nyasatimes.com/2015/05/26/analysts-give-dpp-average-mark-one-year-ruling-malawi/). Analysts in the names of Chancellor College based lecturer Associate Professor Blessings Chinsinga and Livingstonia University based economist Dr Collen Kalua gave Mutharika’s one year rule an ‘average mark’.
But as I pointed out earlier the issue of us having political analysts in the country is verily debatable. There was a case once where the same analyst once said something negative about some ruling party and two days later he was back at the same radio station talking positive about the same party.
Well, I stand to be corrected. But, in my own sincere opinion, DPP did not deserve the so called average mark. What for?
Teary end to tripartite elections’
DPP rule was ushered in with tears from our good’ol Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chief Justice Maxon Mbendera. According to journalist Raphael Tenthani (May his soul keep on resting in peace), Mbendera’s tears announced an ‘end to chaos.’
According to Tenthani, Mbendera’s tears were an admission that the elections were “fraught with problems, some of which could have been avoided with proper planning from his secretariat.”
Good’ol Mbendera himself had admitted that “we were let down by our own secretariat.”
Now, that told a lot. While our good observers from world over said our elections were largely “free and fair” the fact is that, honestly, they were not – if reading between the lines of what I have noted in the two last paragraphs is anything to go by.
Lo! Those elections were marred by a number of inconsistencies including violence at polling centres, lack of requisite resources and missing names on voter registers for would-be voters who had already verified their names prior.
Now, that was least to be called “free and fair” to be utmost truthful.
Mbendera’s tears told it all. There was something wrong with those elections. Search me!
Failed public reform programme, others
Well, the public service reform programme was something the DPP government would have gotten an ‘average mark’ for. But like most of some other failed projects such as poor implementation of the Farm Income Subsidy Programme (FISP), the public subsidy reform programme has been a flop.
To-date, we are told, it is only Vice President Saulos Chilima that will report at Capital Hill at 7:30 am, and retire at way after 10:00 pm – five hours after knock off time of 4:30 pm.
The rest of our civil servants – both at Capital Hill and in the districts – simply play ‘bawo’ or ‘Facebook.’
But the reform programme was a distinct idea, but one that is dying a natural death.
I have never been surprised though. It is easier to say than to do.
‘Shadows of Bingu’
The shadows of Bingu, I must underscore, are the ones that have kept the Peter Mutharika’s administration alive and noticeable. Otherwise, there would be nothing to talk about for the DPP, Peter Mutharika leadership.
The official inauguration of Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC), a few roads and soon the inauguration of the international ‘Bingu Stadium’ in the capital Lilongwe, and the inauguration of the Reserve Bank of Malawi regional headquarters in Mzuzu – all brainchild projects of Peter’s brother Bingu, who died of cardiac arrest in 2012 while in office, have kept Peter’s government in the limelight.
It is the shadow of Bingu that is keeping Peter going. Otherwise what would have? Some graffiti writing at some police station in Lumbadzi?
‘A presidentless nation’
It would not be very wrong if one described Malawi as a ‘presidentless nation.’ Peter Mutharika has visibly failed to comment on issues of national importance including those concerning our kwashiorkor-hammered economy. Instead, he has chosen to recoil at the posh palaces of Sanjika and Kamuzu – probably “reading on the internet” as he said in that report regarding his brother’s death.
But, look, a president is a voice of a country – of a people. Much as we appreciate his not moving around locally too much, which means saving a bit on our coffers, we would like to hear our president’s voice on pertinent national concerns – the strikes, the economy, and what have you.
If you asked me, his silence has been unhealthy if not dangerous. It has only helped overzealous gentlemen like one Ecklen Kudontoni to make noise as if they were CEOs of Malawi Inc.
That Peter Mutharika deserves an ‘average mark’ for what he has done in the past year surprised if not shocked me. For what?
I think, as a country, we should not simply leave the ‘verdit-giving-job’ to one Kalua and Chinsinga. It must be done by all of us – on air, on the social media and portals like these.
Does it not sound funny that the average mark was given on the pretext that Peter was not as ‘reactive’ to CSOs and thus avoided political instability?
The DPP, and Peter must take their twelve months to re-think their way of doing things, and if possible get back to their drawing table for re-strategizing.
Let Peter and the DPP not be flattered by ‘political analysts’ who give marks they cannot explain. We need to move Malawi forward.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :