Sanjika on a war path? No ways, we will not surrender!

SPECIAL COMMENTARY:

The Press Release from the State House signed by Albert Mungomo in his capacity as the State House Press Officer at Sanjika Palace, Blantyre on March 8, 2012 might have as well read:

I, President Bingu wa Mutharika, by the powers vested me by Malawians through a land-slide victory on May 19, 2009 – which I have yet to finish making a total mockery of – now declare total war on the right to free speech as stupidly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. And, woe unto those who offer alternatives as to how I should correct the complete mess and fool of myself that I have made.

We are aware that this response of ours will, again, be interpreted as an insult. And honestly, we do not care for the many reasons outlined below.

First and foremost nobody, except maybe former President Bakili Muluzi, begged Bingu wa Mutharika to become the Big Kahuna in Malawi. But even if that were true, he was not forced.

Mutharika: They call me names

Therefore, as per the Chichewa adage that says “a big head cannot avoid blows”; his sneaky trips, his cheap policies, and his unpresidential speeches being called into question, all come with the territory. If he is as he says “tired of these” then he should go. He should resign and we will leave him in peace. By the way, did we ever waste our articles on him when he was doing “yobanduka ya Likuni” or “yobanduka ya Mitundu?” No, we never bothered him or about him.

Secondly, he never complained during his first term when the singer, Joseph Nkasa, coined for him the name “Mose-wa-lero“; which he has since proved beyond doubt that he is not. So why turning around now and complaining of names like “Big Kahuna” or “Moya” for that matter?

And talking of “Moya”, does it not mean uncle, “mwini mbumba” or “atsibweni” in Chichewa and “SiBweni” in Tumbuka? Moya is not a disrespectful accolade at all in his mother tongue. What, against this background, is insulting about anyone calling him “Moya”?

But all these are minor issues. The sore point of the press release, where in fact the State House is insulting Malawians is where it, typically, tries to blame others for things that Moya is 100% responsible for doing or failing to do; or saying or failing to say in the correct way.

Who, other than the Big Kahuna, recently made statements meant to stir “unnecessary panic and bring anarchy in Malawi”? Which President in the sub-region region, for the second time in as many years, declared war on his own people? Now, should reporting the war cries and telling the world that we have war-monger for president be a crime?

On the blatant lie that is being propagated, in broad day light, to people sleeping on fuel queues and living, day in – day out, people living in fear of a looming major devaluation; that there is no evidence and basis that Moya has poorly governed Malawi; what more evidence does Moya need other than the very people he is at pains asking them to get used to electricity blackouts and fuel and forex shortages while he sneaks in and out of Malawi?

Did Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda in his time, ever ask for three years or twelve months to sort out an issue? Did Bakili Muluzi, ever stand on a podium begging for more time to do what he was, each month and each year being paid to do? What is the state house saying? What is Mungomo trying to tell us?

Having said that, we want to issue a counterwarning in the strongest terms. The Nation, the “Daily Times” and all the media houses in Malawi, are doing a commendable job in trying circumstances. All truly patriotic Malawians know and appreciate this.

Visitors, diplomats, internationally acclaimed researchers, all acknowledge this. It is only the DPP that hates the Malawi Press. More so when the press reports verbatim Moya’s gaffes. What surprises us is: Are Moya’s speeches written at the “Nation” or at the “Daily Times”? The answer is a resounding no. Therefore, please hands-off the “Nation” and leave the “Daily Times” in peace.

The title “Bingu’s Sneaky Fuel Strategy” was in fact very appropriate for a leader who is playing hide and seek across the continent, under the guise that people are sabotaging his efforts. Ok, now everyone knows that Moya was in Nigeria, have they sabotaged his efforts? That is, if at all sneaking around is worth calling an effort.

The same applies to headlines like “Bingu gets grilled, Government barks at nothing, An arrogant Bingu”.  All these are excellent reflection of the reality on the ground, which even the blind in Malawi are aware of.

As to the usual baseless allegations that Moya and his troops like to make; that we (the press) are mercenaries paid by opposition political party leaders, donors and civil society organization leaders to deliberately distort information, insult the Head of State and cause panic in this country – this is pure garbage; trash, baloney that should not be originating anywhere near Sanjika.

Where is the proof? Making wild allegations when Intelligence services, the Police and DPP Cadets are all under your control, makes a mockery of the government and by extension, us the citizens of such an ill-advised government. And this is exactly what we write about. Why? So that you can change and be saved from regime change, another one of your worst nightmares and favourite fallacies.

Finally, we are aware that the laws of Malawi provide for the total respect and protection of the Head of State in Section 3 (2). And, we are also aware that the same Laws of Malawi guarantee press freedom and freedom of association.

Now, the one thing that Moya needs to learn or better still unlearn is, not to cherry-pick laws as if there were tea leaves in a tea plantation somewhere near Ndata. If he decides to conveniently forget some laws, we will follow suit and forget Section 3(2). This is one of the lessons he has taught us over the years: tit-for-tat.

If he respects us, we will respect him. If he calls us names; we will coin really discourteous names; not Moya and Big Kahuna, but truly insolent ones for him.

To conclude; we wish to warn the State House in the strongest terms possible, to stop harassing and threatening civil society organizations and media houses and practitioners. Our rights are not only provided for in the Laws of Malawi but, we earned these rights with our blood, sweat and tears when Moya and most of his cohorts were cowering elsewhere.

“Ulemu kwa ulemu”, you have been warned; if you have ears, hear!

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