Timau: Share the cloth and not nepotism gambit

This article may not mean anything to you if you’re a blind critic of others but if you are a level-headed Malawian; you will think and give it a volt-face before pointing fingers at anyone, whatever your political leanings maybe.

It is true however that success smiles more often on people from famous families.

Recently, President Joyce Banda’s son was amongst the entourage that represented Malawi at the London 2012 Olympics. The son, Roy Kachale, came in as a ‘Olympics attachee’. This raised eyebrows; is Roy an athlete? Has he ever been involved in the organisation of Olympics in Malawi? Is it bad for Roy to represent his country? Is he not a Malawian? The Timau Crew will open cut this entire saga for you.

In most instances, we’re all products of our experiences. And the limitations we have are self-imposed, however, there are some habits that we copy that derail our progress and success in life.

President Banda and Sirleaf Johnstone of Liberia

Ask a writer for a great idea, and you’ll get a solution that involves words. Ask a designer for a great idea, and you’ll get a solution that involves visuals. Ask John Tembo about forex and you will get a great idea of how he governed the Reserve Bank of Malawi. Ask Liberian President Sirleaf Ellen Johnson about nepotism, she will have a well candy coated story to tell you.

It is the story of the Liberian President that is slowly driving us, the Timau Crew insane. On July 12, 2012, Reuters reported that the Nobel Peace Prize winner is being accused of nepotism by opponents for placing her sons and other relatives in key positions in the state oil company, central bank and other agencies in the poor West African country. The first criticism was from members of her own Unity Party which boiled over in June, when the party chairman on youth policies said 17 family members were in government and scuffles broke out between supporters and critics close to her residence. Jerolinmick Piah, Sirleaf’s spokesman said that; only her sons Robert Sirleaf, a senior adviser, Charles Sirleaf, deputy governor of the Liberian central bank and Fumba Sirleaf, head of the National Security Agency, work in the administration.

“Out of 3.5 million Liberians, only three close relatives of the president are working in the government,” Piah told Reuters.

“Besides that, are they not qualified Liberians? Robert Sirleaf has 27 years of experience working in Wall Street.” He said Fumba was appointed as chief spy because of his past experience at the agency before his mother came to power.

“We are waiting for those who accused the president of having 17 family members to prove it. The burden of proof rest on them,” Piah said.

Now, we have two cases here, one of Roy and that of Sirleaf Johnson’s sons. Proof of the pudding is in the taste. Is the appointing of leaders’ relatives in positions of influence the right thing to do? We, the Timau crew say that when we have independently capable persons who are relatives of the President they should not be disadvantaged because of public perception but however this is only when the situation demands it; on the other hand, why should the President pick up his or her sons into positions of influence when millions of other people also want to enjoy the cake?

In contrast, we would also like to look at it this way. Ideally, in an ideal world, all people in a country have to ascend to positions on merit. And the Presidents relatives should not suffer public prejudice as they are also citizens of the country like anyone else; they also should go through the same vigorous interview like any other Jim and Jack, Towela and Tinknani.

As for the case of Roy Kachale, the question is, were other Malawians considered for the post of goodwill Ambassador? And the case of Sirleaf to have one son as chief spy can be understood after all he was already an employee of the intelligence bureau but to have two other sons in positions of influence makes critics to salivate with venom.

In conclusion, we say that people should not be quick at denouncing some tactics by others as when it comes to them people will whip them with the same stick they used to whip others. Former President Bingu wa Mutharika was accused of giving jobs to his brother and son. Did they have the right qualification? Yes! But was Bingu right to do that? We leave it to your own conclusion. Was Madam Joyce Banda right to include her son in the Olympics entourage? Again, your debate will satisfy us.

It might be correct that success smiles more often on people from famous families but many people regard nepotism as an unfair practice. Since so many individuals have a negative opinion of nepotism, politicians who support it come face to face with a variety of consequences.

We hitherto, request our President to share Chi-Joyce  (the piece of cloth she puts on her shoulder) with her best friend Sirleaf Ellen Johnson and not nepotism gambit.

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