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ColumnsTales of Time

Dose of Trauma

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During the week, I spent about a good hour listening to tantrums dished out by former president Joyce Banda at a rally she held in Machinga, I think.

The most interesting, ironically also the most boring, part of my job is that I have to give a good ear to politicians. I must confess that if there is a club of people I regard with utter disdain are politicians who—I do not have an apology to make on this— have been the authors of this nation’s sad chapter.

After almost four years in self-imposed exile, I expected Joyce Banda to come home refreshed and with fresh ideas on how a country must be run. I am now gutted that I placed too much expectations on a person whose recalcitrance to change is legendarily staggering. I was really left with no hope at the realisation that even Peter Mutharika— one of Malawi’s big mistakes—can boast of having someone he can claim to be not good enough than him.

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JB—for that is her signature—was again highlighting the same trivia which I found irritating during her term. It was nothing but rehashing of tales and recollection of moments about how she showed her human side.

By now, JB should have been sophisticated and learned to sermonise on development other than wasting time lighting up her halo. Malawians need a strong and determined leader who has the guts and the zeal to take the country to, at least, the level of our soaring levels.

These are not the times we should be listening to drab tales about some woman who was found soaking in the rain somewhere in Mzimba and some sympathetic president built her a house.

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What we need now is empowering our wretched to be able to build houses for themselves other than perpetually waiting for alms. I sometimes have a feeling that our leaders think too low of us such that they think all we need in life is food, house and shelter. Of course thousands, or even millions, of papers have placed food, house and shelter as all one needs to have to live in the class of humans, but the truth is that as a nation, we need a leader who thinks beyond this.

Peter Mutharika has not managed to take us where we are supposed to be and all he has to show are foundation stones. Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera does not even appear to know what he stands for and his dream for this country is hazy. There is little hope.

Come 2019, I have a depressing fear that Malawians will go to the polls undecided and all they will do is tick for the sake of exercising the right to enfranchisement.

That JB has the guts to offer herself for election after a terrible two-year tenure in office tells you how wanting we are when it comes to leadership. Here is a leader who even had the unforgivable luxury of losing an election to a terrible opponent in the name of Peter Mutharika yet she believes she can run our affairs.

If I had a chance to advise JB, I would have kindly told her that the terrain is not the same she glided on and Malawians think otherwise. If I were in her shoes, I would have taken an advisory role in the party while I enjoy some retirement package far, very far, from the madding crowd that Malawi is.

By offering herself for the top-most job in the country, JB, sadly, just as it happened in 2014, is prescribing herself another dose of trauma.

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