The morning after: Tenthani’s Muckraking

“Why worry?

There should be laughter after pain;
There should be sunshine after rain;
These things have always been the same;
So why worry now?

Dire Straits, British rock band

This, one of my favourite songs of all time, should comfort all losing candidates on the other side of next Tuesday. Indeed why worry if you lose? This, after all, was a contest involving thousands but only one per State House, constituency or ward was bound to win.

So why worry?

It has been a gruelling campaign but, like in everything, it had to end at some point. So it is now over. This morning believers, who are contesting in these elections, can go to church without being overly generous in making theirtithe because the law prohibits campaigning 48 hours before polling day.

One direction for Malawi: Candidates show unity at the first debate
Presidential Candidates show unity at the first debate

We can now go back to listening to our radios without our eardrums being split by lies on why we should vote for this guy or that lady.

But since life goes on we will be failing in our duties, as the muckraking community, from not reflecting on certain developments in the run up to the polls. (Do not worry about the 48-hour rule; this paper came out way before the 6am deadline! Hah! Hah!)

Anyway, let us discuss some developments. I mean, Khumbo Kachali and Sidik Mia cannot – should not – go without comment. Khumbo and Sidik endorsed Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi respectively.

Wow! One of these said he is still in the party whose leader he does not want in State House while the other told all and sundry he was out of active politics. Interesting! We may not comment on the merits or demerits of their endorsements but the law must allow us to at least laugh at their gestures.

I will, therefore, not discuss the folly in those late endorsements in deference to the ‘48-hour rule’. But I guess the law must allow me the luxury of laughing at people when they are not being exactly clever.

I sympathise with Sidik; the cattle rancher from the Lower States was – and still is – a mover and shaker in the region where Gwanda Chakuamba was once a landlord. It was his legitimate expectation to hope that either Ama or Abusa would consider him for the Number 2 position.

Both expectations came to naught and Sidik decided to hibernate from front-line politics. But since he was forced to ‘hibernate’ Sidik could not resist from making a statement in these elections.

And then he saw one Atupele Muluzi and suddenly he believed the young man has the mojo.

Wow! But we are still in that 48-hour realm for us to muckrake as much – or as little – as we would have liked.

But Khumbo’s moment of infamy is the most comic. Khumbo is a poster boy of how not to expect morals in politics. Here is a guy who has not quit the orange camp, according to himself, but he is saying his supporters should turn blue. He is protected by the laws but I do not think that is what we should be advocating for in our politics.

Khumbo is safe for now; he can cheat us as much as he likes because the law is on his side. The PP could not petition the courts to disqualify him because his pseudo-defection happened less than a fortnight before the polls. He can cheat his way back to Parliament and still sleep soundly.

But I guess we can be allowed to laugh at Khumbo’s latest bizarre antics. I mean, the guy agreed with his boss to suffer a 30 percent cut on his salary as a symbolic gesture that “we are suffering together”.

We, in the muckraking community, would like to believe that Khumbo made that decision out of conviction that Malawians were indeed suffering because of his government’s tough economic policies and that those privileged few should show that at least they understood the suffering. I mean, even if the President and Vice President forgo 100 percent of whatever millions they earn in a month, I do not think they can be reduced to surviving onmakakana.

The 30 percent salary deduction was, therefore, only symbolic, but politically and morally important.

Now Khumbo comes in the open, effectively telling us that he was not exactly ready to suffer with us; that he was forced by his boss to ‘pretend’ that he was suffering.

Because Khumbo is not on the presidential ballot I can safely state that he is not someone we should trust with national honours. If he had instructed State House to stop deducting the 30 percent cut from his salary because he no longer wants to suffer with us, we could have understood him.

But the dude has reportedly asked for a refund, a full refund! Wow! No wonder he insulted us that he does not visit our mothers’ hovels!

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