Talking Blues: Bakili’s lost decade and Mutharika’s quintuple, which is worse?

Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda was sworn in as President of the Republic of Malawi on 6 July 1966. He served as such for 27 years, 324 days until 24 May 1994.

President Peter Mutharika  with former president 
Eleson Bakili Muluzi,  Kamuzu’s immediate successor, served from 24 May 1994 to 24 May 2004.
He was succeeded by Bingu wa Mutharika on 24 May 2004. Bingu presided for 7 years, 317 days. He died in office on 5 April 2012.
Joyce Banda, the Vice President finished off that term, taking over from 7 April 2012 to 31 May 2014. She served for 2 years, 54 days before losing the election to the incumbent Arthur Peter Mutharika who assumed office on 31 May 2014.
Due to the nullification of the May 2019 Presidential Election on top of the constitutional 5 years, he has had 363 days “extra time”.
“Never waste your time with stupid people. They will never change and yet they will do everything they can to change you. . . stupidity loves company.”  Kamuzu Banda told his biographer, Dr Brody.
True to this belief, Kamuzu never suffered fools gladly. Sadly, he did not tolerate dissent either and this led to the suffering of those who attracted his ire.
“For the first time since I left Kasungu so many years ago, tears came to my eyes, but these were tears of happiness at the prospects of someday soon being a physician. I knew that I still faced years of much, much hard work in order to achieve that goal. But Kamuzu was always good at hard work.” Dr Banda, reminiscing the day he got accepted to study medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Hard work. Hard work in the fields (farming), hard work in offices, hard work on sports fields is how he set about laying the foundation of the Malawi he handed over to Bakili Muluzi.
A functional railway line running from Mchinji to Nsanje, the University of Malawi under the various constituent colleges, the College of Medicine project, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Chikangawa Forest Reserve, road networks and practically the entire Lilongwe City which didn’t exist before 1970.
Several teachers’ training colleges, district secondary schools and hospitals and rural health centres where one – during Kamuzu’s time – was able to get even crystapen.
Crystapen or Benzylpenicillin, also known as penicillin G, is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. Today, when doctors at Malawi’s referral hospitals prescribe crystapen, you have to dig onto your pockets to buy from pharmacies. Under Kamuzu, a dictator, that drug – among others – was available at the most rural of health centres.
What happened? Bakili Muluzi happened.
For discerning readers who want to learn what exactly transpired during Bakili’s lost decade, the book “Malawi’s Lost  Decade: 1994-2004” co-authored by Professor Adamson Muula and Mrs Emmie Chanika is a must-read.
I won’t waste precious space retelling the visionless opportunism that Bakili engendered whose fruits are the corruption, laziness and a penchant for a quick buck plus dubious elections we are reaping today.
“You don’t necessarily need atomic bombs to destroy a nation. Politicians who value their pockets than the life of citizens always do that every day,” said Israelmore Ayivor.
Nothing could be more apt.
By the end of Bakili’s tenure, no one wanted anything to do with him.
No one.
Who would want a person who has wrecked a whole nation’s foundations without launching a single grenade?
The one person who knew that Malawians wanted Bakili no more was late Dr Bingu wa Mutharika. Upon assuming office, he quickly disentangled himself from Bakili and his United Democratic Front (UDF).
He went further. He refused to be bribed by the tobacco cartel. After setting minimum tobacco prices, some buyers resisted. Bingu deported them.
“For a long time I’ve been warning these exploitative colonialists to pay fair prices to farmers, I will not accept for my people to be exploited,” said Bingu, then also serving as the Minister of Agriculture.
To resolve a  protracted standoff over the National Budget, as a compromise to Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s insistence on universal subsidy for fertilizer, Bingu conceded to implement a partial subsidy via FISP.
It was a resounding success and it made Bingu a household name among Nsima-addicted Malawians.
This plus the fact that his “boys” viz. Ishmael Wadi, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Gustav Kaliwo, the then Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), were not ‘distributing candy’ to the big fish but rather arresting them as befits any lowlife; Bingu progressed from a household name to a darling.
Dr Yusuf Mwawa made history as the first serving minister to be arrested and convicted on corruption charges.
“Hon Mwawa was arrested this morning in Lilongwe following the conclusion of our investigations into his alleged fraud and corruption,” Egrita Mdala, ACB public relations officer, told the BBC in May 2005.
Mwawa, who denied the charges, allegedly used a cheque meant to be spent on a cancelled official meeting to pay for the $1,700 (£925) wedding reception at a hotel in Blantyre. His wife, journalist Diana Nkhulembe, was the then estranged Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha’s press officer.
Bingu’s zero tolerance on corruption is chronicled in song by Malawi’s legendary Mlaka Maliro. His non-selective anti-corruption crusade in fact made Bakili to apologise to Malawians for what he said had been “a wrong choice”.
No one agreed with Bakili. He, Bakili, was the wrong choice in 1994, they said.
Come election 2009, Bingu won and managing succession plus the corrupting nature of absolute power heralded his downfall.
A peoples‘ darling in his first term, thousands are reported to have sighed with relief when he died.
What happened? Peter Mutharika had happened.
He returned home and succession wars led to the expulsion of Mrs Joyce Banda from DPP. Mrs Banda’s being a caretaker, we will skip her time and jump to Peter Mutharika’s quintuple i.e. five years.
To name a few of Peter Mutharika’s contributions to the mess we are in:
• Empty promise of 5 New Universities: Not a single one has been built. What Mutharika has achieved is to split UNIMA, which Malawians have Kamuzu to thank.
• Pledge to complete Bingu’s work on Shire-Zambezi Waterway. You want to see what progress has been achieved? Go and see the eyesore in Nsanje.
• Making Wanderers and Bullets stadia a priority instead of improving Energy, Education and Health services.
• Leading by example in corruption and kickbacks. Remember he was paid MK145 million by Zameer Karim directly from a corrupt deal?
• Revival of rail transportation. As we speak, not a centimeter of our neglected rail lines has been rehabilitated.
Blues’ Orators, all these and more are why people wondering:
• Between Bakili’s lost decade and Mutharika’s quintuple, which is worse?
• Given the duo’s disastrous leadership, should anyone believe that out of the blue they are now wise men from the east who have come bearing a precious gift for Malawians in the name of the DPP/UDF Alliance?
Now, I have a question for you reading this article: is there any wisdom in sticking a leech to a bleeding man’s vein? Mind you, stupidity does love company!

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Bakali
Bakali
9 months ago

An article written by an Mcp die hard. You forget and decide to ignore all the bad that is Mcp and decide not to mention Apm or Bakilis achievements but their perceived failures. No president accomplished everything promised including Obama. Muntharika took over from the mess that was Joyce Banda’s administration when we had no donors and had to meet donor requirements. This is a very biased article written by a toilet reporter!!

Malawi belong to the citizens

Great article, Voting DPP and UDF alliance more poverty and corruption. That’s what will happen.They will never change njoka Atupele in yellow and another njoka Peter in blue, nothing will come out of these visionless people.People are suffering now,how will they improve malawians lives if they win ,when they are failing to do anything good right now.What they know is corruption and bribes ndi Kuba ndalama and believe that they are the only families who can rule Malawi.

Ungwelu
Ungwelu
9 months ago

Koma pakamwa pa munthu apo? Sharing on a public discussion page? Ndiye kukanakhala ngati multi room yimodzi ndi author was article iyi…….siungamumeze was moyo? Chifukwa chake? Pitala? Wolephera kuchita manage Academic Freedom? Corruption-mpaka kulandira K145M from mwenye Sameer? Frustrated the 50+1Bill in 2018 when it was about to be tabled in Parliament? APM who failed to fulfill all his 2014 presidential campaign promises? APM who with Jane Ashah stole the 2019 presidential election? Who has tried with all efforts but failed to frustrate the fresh presidential election in 2020? PEPANI, PEPANI, PEPANI.

Monosile
Monosile
9 months ago

Mmmmmm! Myopic article from an MCP sympathiser. Shhh! Skip JB

Wa Nick
Wa Nick
9 months ago
Reply to  Monosile

Wakwiya ndi mfiti

Tito
9 months ago

Very good article, full of facts. DPP/UDF cannot fool Malawians that they are all of a sudden wisemen from the East. These are failed politicians and spent forces. The country is in decline and needs urgent rescuing. And this cannot be from leaders who are promising to distribute free laptops, data, and free money to university graduates until they get jobs. Malawians, please vote wisely.

Emmanuel
9 months ago

I don’t know you but I agree with you wholehearted. That’s why in one of my comments I critised Atupele for going to Salima and tell people that the district is a tourist destination but it has been neglected by government that’s why people are poor. Which government neglected Salima Bakili’s ten years and Peter’s 7 years. Now whom was Atupele blaming his own government where he is a minister. Bakili promised to buy shoes for all Malawians but what did he say when he came into government. His son Atupele is repeating the same lies. He is in government… Read more »

Mr Truth Pains
9 months ago

Kkkkkk indeed stupidity loves company , the likes of Dausi body guard but today so called Minister, Charles Mchacha Vendor with no qualifications but today Minister , Ben Phiri vendor with no qualifications but today Minister and Atupele no qualifications but today minister and running to the president And Chimulilenji farmer with no qualifications but at this era he is a minister as well as excellent VP. The list goes on and on in Peter Muntharika administration of his Cabinet who lacks Capacity to be good leaders. Whats going on in my poor country Malawi ??? Is the leadership so… Read more »

Malawi walero
Malawi walero
9 months ago

You are very stupid. Opposition articled. Care taker why not telling us what she did? Just because she is in opposition? All donnar support stop from helping malawi because uf her and now you are busy saying skip her. Idiot writing. Who brought this word in malawi of CASH GATE??? Galu wachabe chabe. Now you are busy praising Bingu have you forgotten this word of IMPEACHMENT? You are talking of Kamuzu how long was that 31 good solid years now you are busy comparing with 5 years does your brain work properly or else anakupangani ganyu? Foolish never write this… Read more »

APM Akuthanyulidwa
APM Akuthanyulidwa
9 months ago
Reply to  Malawi walero

Olo ulire cadet. Chilungamo chimawawa kkkkkkkk

Levi Chimphoyo
Levi Chimphoyo
9 months ago
Reply to  Malawi walero

Hater, what’s your problem? Everyone knows cashgate started way back with bingu. So why are you so bitter.

Argue fact with fact. Osamathangira kutukwana ayi.

Wa Nick
Wa Nick
9 months ago
Reply to  Malawi walero

Lets not run away from facts.Remember people once borrowed the tittle of Ngwazi and gave it to Bingu.This shows me that Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda analidi mtondo.

The 24 years of both Bakili and Munthalikas can even be compared to what Kamuzu did in his first 15 years.

Dudu
Dudu
9 months ago

Could you add that MCP and Kamuzu killed thousands of Malawians, imprisoned thousands and forced thousands into exile.

Madando Tippex
Madando Tippex
9 months ago
Reply to  Dudu

Kamuzu never killed anybody, if anything I blame him for not doing anything to stop it. You know those who were killing others and most of them are still killing people today and they include Bakili Muluzi. He implicated a lot of people when he was Administrative Secretary in MCP. His MYP boys are killing people in DPP. Dausi, Ntaba, etc etc.

Wa Nick
Wa Nick
9 months ago
Reply to  Dudu

Which thousands?are sure about this?Kapena mumangomva?

Chachacha
Chachacha
9 months ago

Get your facts right. The Nsanje Waterways project has been frustrated by Mozambique because the country fears losing out when Malawi has access to the sea. Mozambique currently benefits from us transporting our goods through their country. Our government is just being diplomatic by not accusing Mozambique of frustrating the Nsanje Port project because doing that might have a negative effect on other trade issues – i.e. our access to South Africa through Mozambique

bullshit
bullshit
9 months ago
Reply to  Chachacha

This article is not only about Nsanje waterways, please respond also to other facts presented in this article.

APM Akuthanyulidwa
APM Akuthanyulidwa
9 months ago
Reply to  Chachacha

So why hasn’t your APM made the Mozambicans an offer that is beneficial to both parties?

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