Fussing over trivialities


Earlier on this page, I argued that we give prominence to people whose importance to national development faded some time ago.

Three weeks ago, Harry Mkandawire resigned from the post of People’s Party Vice President for the North. A week later, Sosten Gwengwe lived true to his infantile public perception when he announced his intention to resign instead of just resigning from the PP while last week, Brown Mpinganjira also called it quits. All these, to my chagrin, became talk of the town. Why I was vexed and mortified is that these people who, in normal circumstances, should have been pushed to political gutters decided to make some noise and indeed got attention.

Equally, I was left tilted this week with the way the resignation of one Ben Phiri was given status as if his leaving state house would bring government business to a screeching halt.


Ben Phiri wears or wore the title of special assistant to the president. I am not sure what he assists the big man in but if public appearances are anything to go by, Ben is just a man who enjoys showing and proving to the world that he is the closest person to Mutharika: Sometimes even closer than Mutharika’s own wife.

Special assistant to me is an errand boy who must carry the big man’s 1960-styled briefcase; organise the boss’ desk and make sure that there is always a bottle of water near the plinth when the boss in making a speech. But, with Ben there has been too much talk going around. Some say he was the de facto premier minister who had, in fact, been teaching the boss how to run state affairs.

There were even rumours that ministers could pee in their pants after an encounter with Ben, the man who is rumoured to have been the iron wall between the world and the president.


But I will not buy such talk. Unless you tell me that Peter is so damn impressionable that he can be puppeteered by a man almost half his age, and with an education that is not even half his, then I will believe you.

To me, Ben is just one lucky boy who had the chance to whisper nothings to the head of state: Nothing more than that. That is why I am saying that news about his resignation is to me, nothing to waste our energies on. In fact, I would be more worried and moved if my two-year old niece decides to change cities and go somewhere where she won’t be able to knock on my bedroom door every morning to remind me that it’s time to go to work.

News of Ben’s resignation, however, has reminded me of some pertinent issues that we need to talk about as a nation.

How time flies. Around this time last year, Ben was biting his nails waiting for the determination of the tripartite polls that were eventually won by Peter and his DPP.

A year on, it is pure wastage of time to be talking about one man’s resignation instead of looking at what the DPP has done for the nation.

When the polls were being held, there was a cloud of hopelessness and an ambience of disillusionment a m o n g Malawians. The then People’s Party had proven how terrible it was at running state matters. The economy was in shambles and simply put, the nation was on an overdrive gear to perdition.

But looking at things now, nothing has really changed an ounce. The only difference is that we removed a clueless yap-yapping president and government and replaced it with tactless but quieter president and government.

Look, in the year that APM has had keys to state house there is completely nothing to point at which can give us hope and assurance that there is a government that is ready to change thing around.

If you look at the budget statement that was presented by one Goodall Gondwe, you can’t help it but be afraid, very afraid that, come next year, the country will not have moved forward an inch. To be raw, that thing we are calling National Budget is a document that does nothing but confirm our acceptance and approval of remaining a stagnant nation.

When voting, the basic idea is that we put in a government that would leave the country better than it found it. But I do not see that happening now. What is even making me shudder with fear and weak with disappointment is that Peter believes he is doing things right.

Evidence was his National Address in Parliament during the opening where he wasted his and our time bragging about his DPP and many other trivial things.

But I was not surprised because, if you have keenly followed the DPP—past and present—you will agree with me that it has a culture of swimming in a sea of illusions that things are alright when actually they are wrong and worse than before.

Even when we did not have fuel, forex and rights the then DPP officials showed stinking nonchalance and hubris.

Look at how thing are right now. We are still running hospitals without syringes and cotton, we are removing allowances for public university students, pupils are learning in tobacco barns and we simply can’t even have proper roads.

There is so much need for proper channeling of energy if at all we are to start making sense as a nation. I vehemently refuse to expend my energy on some bogus resignations and what have you. I have too many fishes to fly other than fussing over trivialities.

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