If the misguided Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) strategist advising the Mutharika administration to perform ridiculous stunts of “increment today, increment dis-owned, and increment indefinitely deferred” thinks Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika is scoring points, he must report to the nearest psychiatrist for a medical examination.
If the praise team humming softly around Dr Lazarus Chakwera, for fear of ruining his deep slumber thinks the adage “silence is golden” applies in a Malawi in distress, they might as well start rehearsing the “Tizikumbukira… ”requiem for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in readiness for the burial of the grand old party (GOP)of Malawi.
Fact is: between August and now, there have been shocking reports ofridiculous salary increment proposals, rejection of such preposterous proposals, re-introduction of the irresponsible proposals be it with amendments, and deferrals – presidential and ministerial; of the senseless increments even after the thoughtless increments had been vehemently defended by the Minister of Finance and the main opposition spokesperson.
Tellingly, our Members of Parliament, formerly honourable and now no longer honourable, are yet to announce if at all they will join the deferral drama and renounce their 376% increment‘until the sick economy heals’ too.
As to the likelihood of this happening, the weatherman says cloudy to stormy times ahead – no chance! Only in your dreams will this happen.
We at the Nyasa Times, we do not see parliamentarians, not even a lonepatriotic one, going against the herd on this one.
Because regardless of their coming from a variety of sponsoring parties and backgrounds, all our parliamentarians have found one common denominator:the “G” word.
Since others have powerfully and authoritatively already opined on the rampant gluttony (the G-word), we will not try to outdo their denunciation of the undeserved and ill-timed increments.
Rather, we want to address another related matter which might have escaped the naked eye.
It has been argued on this very forum by one of our learned thought leaders that the Leader of Opposition, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera – labelled game changer when he joined politics; were he awake, this hocus-pocus of “massive-increments-today-deferred-tomorrow-stunt” would not have happened.
It has been submittedby learned counsels that the DPP machinery, comforted by Dr Chakwera’s loud silence and conspicuous invisibility; decided to pull a fast one, even when our economy is at its lowest ebb since independence.
It has now turned out that this “increment-today-and-none-tomorrow”drama, whether it was popularity gimmick or not, is suicidal.
It is suicidal because the message that the government’sunfortunate strategy has sent to the IMF and donors is completely wrong.
President Mutharika, a man who rarely speaks, has been seen and heard all over town begging for aid.
Because, he knows that a zero aid budget is not a healthy recipe for Malawi and that a zero aid budget, a couple of years ago, proved to be fatal even to a sitting president. Zero aid budgets have no respect for State Houses.
Professor Mutharika was there in April 2012. Since then, he has been to hell and back because of a zero aid budget that was peddled as a zero deficit budget.
We will not say more.
Now, when you have a president not ashamed to profusely beg, you do not want to send even the tiniest signal that IF this aid does come, the priority spending area will be prodigious increments for people who are already doing well and in fact, are doing much better than the poor tax payer in London, New York, Berlin, Paris and Brussels whose sweat is the aid we receive to abuse.
Sadly, and at the Nyasa Times we sincerely regret this: the impression that Mutharika’s cheap gimmick has created is exactly this.
The cheap diversionary gimmick has sent wrong vibes all over.
They are laughing at us in London. They think we are idiots in New York. In Berlin, Paris and Brussels they are saying: you buggers beg so that you can live like princes and princesses on our sweat!
Game over, they are saying, reign in your leaders or starve!
And the opposition, under the leadership of Dr Lazarus Chakwera, was and continues to slumber, happily.
We will not talk about the agenda-less United Democratic Front (UDF) because we all know that it is un-African to speak when you are eating not to say when your papa’s case is being slowly buried.
We will not talk about the People Party (PP). The PP is absolutely ‘leader-less’ in and outside the August house. Show me the leader on the ground not the roaming one.
This DPP stunt has come with a huge cost. The work of all pro-Malawi lobbyists has just been made extremely difficult, regardless of the idiotic ‘harmonization drive’ which the Minister of Finance has been constantly referring to as the cause of this policy inconsistency, madness and“increment-today-no-increment-deferred-income” about faces.
As far as we are concerned here at the Nyasa Times: it is our studied position that Professor Mutharika – if he is half as wise as his age – might want to grab the bull by the horn, rethink and reshuffle his team of advisors.
If this hullaballoo was a ploy to catch the opposition pants down, it has worked. But the cost to the DPP led government is that cluelessness is no longer the word. Incompetent is the right one.
The one thing that the government has demonstrated to donors, and done so beyond reasonable doubt, is that it is grossly incompetent and uncaring and that if given aid, it will spend the aid more or less like the biblical prodigal son.
What can we do now? What can you do about this? What can Mutharika do to redeem himself?
If President Mutharika and his army of advisors have run out ideas, we hereby volunteer advice: it is never too early nor too late to throw in the towel. Quit and pass the baton. Go and rest at Ndata.
Call for early elections and Malawians will see to it that a new breed of parliamentarians invade the August house, as opposed to the greedy lot that has outlived their welcome.
Malawians will see to it that the new president walks the talk in words and deed.
And while they are at it, Malawians will see to it that the Leader of Opposition to come, is someone who will not sleep on the job and just happy to call for pressers after the fact.
Professor Mutharika: if you do not want to quit for fear of re-awakening of the treason case, then stop the baloney!
And hey there: Dr Lazarus Chakwera, please do jack up! And if you cannot be proactive, then whenever you wake up to react – after the fact -tell Malawians, in plain language, whether you are ready or not to pocket the blood money. Go slow on the philosophical crap.
May God bless Malawi.
Signed and sealed – The Nyasa Times CrewFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :