I felt pity for Grace Chiumia when she cried foul that her own party, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) does not like her. She claimed that there were some officials who were always out to finish her off politically.
I pitied Chiumia because she is a young and promising politician. President Peter Mutharika has maintained her in his cabinet since he ascended to power some three years ago. But Chiumia is also a young woman, which means she is a role model in her own right.
However, I find Chiumia to be her own enemy. The young lady seems prepared to die when vultures are all around her. Let us take a tour down the memory lane as far as Chiumia’s political career is concerned.
Mutharika appointed Chiumia as minister of Home Affairs. She was expected to preside over the Malawi Police Service (MPS), The Department of Immigration and the Malawi Prisons Services, among other organs. Chiumia went to MPS headquarters and told the Inspector General of Police, his two deputies and the top management of MPS that they were not loyal and patriotic. Mind you, Chiumia’s age might be the experience of some of the officers she was trying to educate on patriotism and loyalty.
To add salt to injury, she insulted the officers by telling them to get lessons from their dogs as far as loyalty is concerned. She probably forgot that these top dogs were too old for new tricks.
The other time, she was too excited at a DPP fundraiser dubbed “Blue Night”. After savouring the delicacies and exotic wines, Chiumia behaved like the Biblical Elijah who wanted to remain on the mountain top with Jesus Christ. Elijah forgot that he had left some fellow disciples in the valley. So, Chiumia went ahead and declared that Mutharika must be made a life president. There was no official rebuke on her wish.
Still awed by her “juicy seat”, Chiumia ordered the Police in Mzuzu to arrest National Registration Bureau officers who were meeting over their plight. The young men and women spent a few nights in the cooler as Chiumia relaxed in hotels.
Not drawing any lessons from her mistakes, she told a public rally that the DPP hated the proposed Electoral Reforms Bills. She despised the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) and rallied the masses against the men of God. Perhaps Chiumia was politically naïve when Pac played a midwife of Malawi’s democracy some 24 years ago. This democracy is what has given her an opportunity to become a cabinet minister.
But this is a young woman who told girls in her constituency to adopt great names if they are to excel in life. She said that she won elections because she nicknamed herself “Obama”. That tells you the wavelength her brain cells use.
In all of these bloopers, Chiumia turns around and claims that she had been quoted out of context. But one cannot be misquoted on more than two occasions. It means she fails to choose her words properly.
Chiumia should also know that political parties treat their officials the way armies treat bullets: they are expendable. And any army reserves its best bullets for the biggest battles. She should appreciate the value the party places on her if she is tasked to make controversial statements. Why did the DPP not ask Goodall Gondwe or the shrewd Jappie Mhango, both of whom were at the rally, to declare its hatred about the reforms bills?
The problem with DPP women is that they are trying too hard to replace Patricia Kaliati as the party’s snipper. But Kaliati is carefree. She never regrets her actions. DPP’s Secretary General, Greselder Jeffrey should give a few tips to Chiumia about the dangers of being a political kamikaze.
That said, Chiumia has a right to disgrace herself as long as she is ready to pay the price
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues