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A tale of two Americans

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It is quite uncanny that former president Peter Mutharika has the guts to castigate the incumbent, Lazarus Chakwera, for failure to deliver on his campaign promises and for sinking this country to rock bottom. To begin with, Chakwera is in power because Malawians wanted to fix the mistake that was Mutharika’s administration. The blame for the tragedy on our doorsteps today is best left on Mutharika’s shoulders. But we understand that it should be easier to blame the other man – to finally look at the chaos and not be an immediate part of it. Mutharika must finally be enjoying his retirement.

Nobody can dispute the fact that the Tonse Alliance has betrayed the people of Malawi in many ways than we ever imagined. With them, it is not only the lack of intelligence to sail this country out of troubled waters. That dearth in good sense has been supplemented with sheer negligence and some eerie hunger to scramble for public resources for personal use. It began with small, small things like stealing Covid funds, smuggling bills into Parliament, to employing entire families in state departments. Now they are cutting corners at every opportunity and signing dubious deals that see us losing billions of the money we borrow from the rich.

As we speak now, the country is in a crisis and the President seems not to know what to do. If you ask the Chakwera administration, the only solution that they have to our problems is creating more problems for the future through headless borrowing and reckless spending. We have become so daft that we actually congratulate the President for securing this or that loan from some schemers who pose as development partners. In the backdrop of this is a country that has minerals, oil deposits, arable and fertile land, fresh water and so many other untapped natural resources you would not find elsewhere in 2022. This is what they call the poorest country and, yet, we have leaders living lavishly on loans.

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Bearing all this in mind, it is expected of people to criticise Chakwera and his troops for failing this country. There is no excuse for us to live like cavemen and beggars in the 21st century when we have everything that should see us through. However, it becomes a problem when that critique comes from somebody like Mutharika, who also failed this country. Those in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and their supporters should know that Chakwera’s failure has not given us amnesia. We have not forgotten the mess in which the DPP put this country. We vividly remember the impunity, the nepotism and complete disregard for the rule of law that characterised the DPP regime. Had it not been for their lack of compassion for the poor of this country, we would not have seen the dress rehearsal that is the Tonse Alliance.

While it pleases him to point fingers at his successor, Mutharika failed too. Both these American trained men have not helped Malawi with whatever it is they learned from the first world. Mutharika’s failure was a direct result of his lack of touch with reality. It seems the big man had stayed away for too long, such that he failed to reconnect with the grassroots. As such, his dogs were left unchained and they marauded and destroyed. On the other hand, the other ‘American’ is failing simply because he is too excited and power found him unawares. Clinical diagnosis of the Tonse disease reveals that these people campaigned without believing that they would win. They had no plan. They had no strategy. They are clueless.

The bottom line here is that Mutharika and all his friends in the DPP have no moral authority to throw stones at Chakwera for failing Malawians as they are the masters of ineptitude. What Mutharika is doing today is not very different from what Chakwera did when he was leader of opposition. He had all the bad words to say about his predecessor, just as he had all the solutions to our problems. But look at him today. Maybe it is the American way to talk too much and not do anything tangible. Americans can talk. No wonder, rap music originated there. They are poetic. They are good with words. But there are better things our leaders could have learned from Americans – simple things like hard work, ethics and patriotism.

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