There are issues political party officials can defend, but not daylight thievery and abuse of government property and resources. It is even worse when such unbridled abuse of public property is done at great disadvantage of the rightful owners of the resources.
Mama Greselder Jeffery, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general, is one person that has now become synonymous with anything that smacks not only of lies but also brazen arrogance when it comes to embellishing issues. Jeffery sees no limit about the extent to which she can paint as saintly any amount of malfeasance as long as it is committed in the name of advancing the interest of the DPP.
Jeffery is far from being repentant even before the dust has settled over her heinous remarks which have earned her the unenviable accolade of the zachamba (hemp motivated) fame—after calls to refund money the DPP got from cashstrapped city councils and water boards for its Blue Nights. Words of wisdom such as “tame your tongue” coming from respected people such as Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima whom one would imagine Jeffery regularly rubs shoulders with ruffle no feathers. Not necessarily that Chilima made the remarks in response to Jeffrey’s unrestrained use of her tongue.
In the name of patriotism for and love of the DPP Jeffery is unembarrassed when it comes to defending her party’s grand abuse of a government hospital truck for party errands. Not even when such abuse leaves patients who want to use the same vehicle stranded.
See now how the Nkhotakota district hospital public relations officer contradicted you. Unbeknown to him that you had a different spin on the matter, he admitted that the truck did undertake the trip to Lilongwe which you dismissed as untrue. Except that he too, in trying to be seen as a good boy to the ruling party officials, added his own layer of spin to the hospital vehicle saga. Where in Malawi did hospital staff buy a vehicle and donate it to their institution? But even in the unlikely event that the track belonged to the hospital—having been bought by staff—could that justify using it to ferry party supporters when patients are stranded? Jeffery, criticising you and your party for grabbing a government vehicle to run party errands is not politics.
There is no shortage of people in your party to learn from in as far as dealing with difficult media inquiries is concerned. They have perfected their skill of sugarcoating outright falsities with such expertise that they easily acquit themselves even where everyone knows they are defending a heap of lies. Learn from them. The rule of thumb is that if you have nothing to say, say nothing. Better still where you do not have a good response, flick the media to the party’s spokesperson. You only succeed in inviting anger and ridicule and in the process doing more harm than good to the party by presenting yourself as someone who can always adequately deal with all manner of media inquiries.
It is a shame that 53 years after independence and 23 years of multiparty democracy, a chief executive officer of a ruling party cannot discern and respect the clear boundaries between government and party resources. Where then would you expect them to get the moral higher ground and clout to advise the people you lead?
You will not remain what you are now in the party forever but those runaway, unrestrained remarks will be tagged on you forever. Tame your tongue.