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Dimmed by the system

Most people are pinching themselves right now to ascertain if they are not dreaming that Donald Trump— come January 20, 2017— will be president of the United States of America. I have a gut feeling of déjà vu because in May 2014, I also woke up to the shock that Malawians, of all the people, had voted for Peter Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to run our affairs.

Donald Trump, like it or not, is a business magnet and has made a name for himself, and he does not let the truth throttle him. Trump represents the very thought of an original American who believes and knows that Africans—particularly Malawians— are a bunch of lazy, lascivious, thieving and begging lot. Hillary Clinton wanted to play the soft diplomatic and civil way to endear herself to the whole world forgetting that voters are right there in America other than elsewhere.

Hillary made the very same mistake of Joyce Banda who believed philanthropy is a ticket to State House. In trying to be the daring president of the universe, Hillary Clinton ended up losing ground at home while gaining sympathy from people abroad. In the end, a suspect in the name of Trump, found himself wearing the greatest honour of being president of the United States of America.

Here at home, with the departure of Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda found a bed already made for her, and all she needed was to lie on it. In office, she even had her terms of reference written in bold, capital letters and underlined: IN TERMS OF PEOPLE MANAGEMENT, REMEMBER WHAT BINGU WA MUTHARIKA DID AND DO THE OPPOSITE. But Joyce Banda, in her naivety, decided to become politically deaf and ended up being misled by a gang of thieves who tainted her reputation to date.

The similarity of Hillary Clinton and Joyce Banda is that both ladies lost out to not-so-impressive candidates whose acumen have always been suspect. Trump in the US has always been known for his gaffes while at home, Peter Mutharika is best known for his ineptitude when it comes to leadership. Between 2009 and 2012, Peter Mutharika presided over three ministries, that is, justice, education and foreign affairs. In all these ministries, Peter ended up creating mess after another. It was even shocking for some of us to learn that a person of such an awkward resume was being groomed to occupy Plot Number One. But being pitted against a weak and unimpressive candidate like Joyce Banda and a new kid on the political block that was Lazarus Chakwera, Peter ended up at State House. And he seems out of sorts in the job.

Vainly, people protested Mutharika’s ascendancy to power yet it was all through the ballot and there is nothing they can do to alter their situation just like some Americans who are busy protesting now. The stinging truth remains that USA has Donald Trump and Malawi has Peter Mutharika.

All Americans who really feel hard done can only hold their patience for four years if they want to correct their mistake, if at all it is any. It is now time for Americans to learn a lesson about longsuffering from us Malawians who have, since creation, been rehearsing about hell by having bad leaders after another.

But there is one comforting fact about this. Every bad leader or government will eventually go. Of course those closest to power become livid when you tell them that one day they will be out of government and will not mean anything.

Take for instance in 2014— or was it late 2013—Peter Mutharika’s well known trusted assistant Ben Phiri was ambushed by people connected to the then ruling People’s Party. Then, Ben was easy prey simply because he was out of government. His assailants had the courage knowing that they had the protection of the government machinery then. But look how the tables have turned.

One of these days, trust me, these people who seem untouchable by virtue of their attachment to the ruling party will become powerless and they will be easy prey. This world, as they say, has a curious love for changing things.

Talk of change then I will tell you an interesting story. In college, I was taught by one Bright Molande who was, to me, one of the brightest bulbs in the room. He was, simply bright, as his name suggests. I never an inch ever thought that in this very world, Bright would become part of a failing government that chooses to lie to its people in petty matters like the health of the head of state. The least I expect from my good old teacher is him being a bastion of moral rectitude as he sermonised in his lectures yet he is proving to be the opposite.

Now, good people, if you ever wondered why this country has remained in this pathetic state, just know that the brightest bulbs are dimmed by the system.

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