Peter Mutharika: July 20 shootings no accident, concern for varsity student’s insincere, apology accepted

We all err at one point or another. That statement is true in itself and no question about that. This is the case because every human being, finite as one is, is naturally destined to make mistakes, gaffes, or miscalculations, though in differing degree and frequency.

And when such mistakes are made, the ego almost always finds mechanisms to defend itself so that it saves the face. Such defence mechanisms would be as logically weird as projection or as falsely rational as rationalization and denial.

It should not be wholly surprising therefore, given the foregoing, that Prof. Peter Mutharika was on Sunday at it defending his ego. Peter Mutharika, at his rally in Mzuzu on Sunday 29th of June, 2012, was all apologies about his late brother’s administration. Of special interest were his comments on July 20 shootings and plight of varsity students.

Peter Mutharika making an apology in Mzuzu

An honest analysis of Prof. Mutharika’s comments on July 20 killings would force ignoramuses and intelligentsia alike to go crude. Indeed, crudely speaking, the young Mutharika must be politically-immature to have the nerve to publicly claim that those systematic, state-sponsored massacre of 20 helpless and hapless patriotic Malawians was simply an “accident”.

Accident? How on earth can people-caused accidents occur 20 times simultaneously? It is unbecoming on his part to justify his nauseating long silence on the historic (and historical) massacre of our fellow Malawians this way. In fact, it is politically destructive to him to see the massacre this unrepentantly and this presidentially clue-lessly.

Prof. Mutharika’s July 20 statements lack sympathy and grief expected of a tragic event. Clearly, he seems to have no regrets whatsoever, and speculatively, he seems to be saying that both his late brother and his late brother’s administration were right in handling the July 20 eyesore that way. To this effect, one only hopes that the learned Prof. would add some grief and sympathy, feigned or felt, next time he makes statements or comments on July 20 killings.

Related to July 20 killings is his comments on welfare of varsity students. On this issue, Prof. Mutharika is reported in the media to have made statements to the effect that he would raise varsity students’ allowance should he be voted into government come 2014 elections. A concern for varsity students’ welfare isn’t it!

The words may be true, but it is doubtful if the intention is. Even if he is given benefit of the doubt and one thus proceeds on the understanding that his intention is indeed true, still, one wonders if the Prof. will ever walk the talk should he be given the mandate to form the 2014 government if his indecision, irresoluteness, and inactiveness characterizing him in his late brother’s government is anything to go by.

Imagine. The academic freedom impasse that saw Chancellor College and polytechnic close and open more or less like a drunkard’s trouser-zipper started when the Prof. was the Minister of Education. Sadly, the learned Prof. literally did nothing to salvage the situation, and this saw the varsity students stay home for about 8 months. Where was the Prof. Mutharika’s concern for varsity students’ welfare during this time? One asks, “Will the learned Prof. be able to manage government business given the fact that he failed to manage Ministry of Education?” you would ask, “how many ministries make government?” Would the Prof. manage them effectively and efficiently?

The Prof. miserably failed to bring sanity to the academia, and worse still, he unsuccessfully used his blood relations to the late President to influence the president to solve the impasse one and a for all hoping thereby the Prof. would receive accolade for standing up for academic freedom. And now he talks of his concern for the plight of varsity students. That concern is, sincerely speaking, wholly insincere.

It would be naïve of him to take Malawians for a ride because, right now, and rightly so, Malawi’s political landscape has tremendously changed for a meaningful democracy; no more easy rides, no more exploitation, and what have you. Malawians are no longer the same; today, the happy lot called Malawians is looking for leaders who own mistakes and use special lens to look at the nation with the view to bring workable solutions to the problems rocking the nation.

Having said the foregoing, it is morally right that Malawians forgive the learned Prof. Mutharika. Is it not elsewhere said that to err is human, to forgive divine?. To this end, it therefore be said to Prof. Mutharika that at last your apologies, belated and insincere as they are, are accepted though Malawians would expect timeliness and sincerity of the same next time something of that or related sort happens.

  • Henry D. Chizimba, Interim Director, Walking With The Youth–views expressed in this article are that of me and not that of the youth organization.

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