As you read this, be advised that Malawi has two real threats with a capacity to throw this country in a big political crisis.
The first threat is already with us, well diagnosed and it’s leadership failure.
The second threat, not yet with us but it will be here shortly, is the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We seem to be the few odd ones out without a case so far; but it’s just a matter of days.
If these two threats are not nipped in the buds, the sum of their colossal damage on Malawi will be immense and, one day, we will wake up to new realities we won’t cope for the next 10 or so years.
At the heart of it all is President Peter Mutharika’s detached kind of leadership—his masterly of always hiding in the sand when trouble stirs up.
For the six or so years he has been in power, Mutharika has cultivated a leadership brand of leading by absenteeism.
Nowhere has this style of leadership been so apparent in him, than in the way the threat of Coronavirus is being managed.
When most African presidents were busy, closing borders, intensifying tests, equipping service providers with protective gears, Mutharika holed himself in a secret cocoon where no word, regarding corona, came out of this mouth.
It was business as usual—just relaxed in the notoriety bask of refusing to assent to bills, firing people and issuing petty threats to Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence – the poster boys of human rights actvism.
Mutharika found himself on Television issuing paraphrased safety measures about Covid-19 after a wave of criticism of his silence.
Now this is what is going to happen.
Once a case of Coronavirus is registered in Malawi, Mutharika will come full throttle, fangs glaring to seen to be tough—but just for one crooked reason: To suspend every national governance focus to fighting corona.
In the drudgery of the pending fresh presidential elections, which he so much hates because he knows he will lose, Mutharika will ride on the corona threat to issue decrees and lockdowns just to cushion his deep fear of losing power through the ballot.
We will not hear about pending elections.
We will not hear about Jane Ansah (embattled chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission) and her rogue commissioners.
We will not hear from the courts—to decide way forward.
We will not hear from the Anti Corruption Bureau (AC) on several unfinished cases such as the judges bribery case, death of ACB corporate affairs director Issa Njauju, former president Bakili Muluzi case, Police officers alleged raping of women in Msundwe, Lilongwe and a litany of them.
We won’t hear so many critical things that we need to get them fixed now because, in coronavirus, Mutharika will find a beautiful mask.
But as a country, especially the opposition MCP and UTM, we need to be strategically vigilant.
This country needs a political solution and it’s only politicians who can lead the process of change.
They need to, quickly, strategize on how best these two threats—leadership and Coronavirus— can be handled concurrently.
One way they can do that is to ensure that they hold the caretaker President Mutharika accountable for every decision he makes in few days.
They need to be vigilant to ensure that the fight against coronavirus does not mask the governance realities we are currently facing.
Coronavirus won’t be here forever. There is life after it; as such, let’s deal withproblem of leadership failure.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :