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In search of David

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The Lord said to Samuel: “How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

So Samuel did as the Lord told him to do.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse’s son Eliab and said to himself: “This man standing here in the Lord’s presence is surely the one he has chosen.”

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But the Lord said to him: “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”

Then one by one of the seven sons of Jesse were paraded in front of Samuel, but none of them received God’s approval.

So Jesse sent for the youngest son David, a humble shepherd who was out in the field tending to his father’s flock.

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The Lord said to Samuel: “This is the one – anoint him!”

Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers.

This biblical classic story, mdzukulu, offers some very good insights into the challenging task of choosing visionary and effective political leaders.

The Lord says the task of identifying a good leader requires knowing someone much more deeply than just getting to know their name, qualifications, professional experience or whether they are wakwathu, wakwithu, jwa kumangwetu, oowanihu and so forth.

It is the inherent behaviour embedded in the attitude, principles and virtues of a particular individual which, as noted by Noel Mbowela elsewhere, mdzukulu, enables them to exude the late Nelson Mandela’s ‘servant’ leadership doctrine anchored on the three pillars of selflessness, honesty and people-centeredness.

Most Malawians, mdzukulu, regrettably, tend to ignore aspiring political leaders’ natural qualities at the expense of some cosmetic attributes such as mostly name, place of origin and political party affiliation.

Consequently, the yoke of mediocrity hangs heavy over our nation, sinking it and suffocating it, with each passing day because the leadership is full of it.

For example, mdzukulu, Vice-President Saulos Chilima Monday ordered Lilongwe City Council to demolish houses that were built in and along the banks of Lingadzi River in Area 49, opposite Bingu National Stadium and Mtandire, saying such illegal structures are responsible for synthetic disasters.

Speaking after visiting flood victims, Chilima said lives of several people should not be in danger because of some selfish individuals who decided to build houses not only along the river banks but in the river.

Mdzukulu, this is not the first time the country has been fed to such orders not only from Chilima but other Democratic Progressive Party regime’s messengers – with probably zero action and it will remain so for decades.

Malawi has emerged from a number of years of crisises in the early 2000s.

And, mdzukulu, it is most likely that the trend will continue in the subsequent years to come as the country faces multiple natural hazards such as floods, heavy storms, droughts, dry spells and so forth as a result of climate change.

Chilima once ‘unintelligently’ singled out political interference as the cause of demoralisation and frustration in the running of affairs of the country.

But when he realised that he is just a rat in the whole well-laid DPP scheme, he got wiser and stopped reminding the powers that be (the cat) the need to tie a bell on him.

And, mdzukulu, for example, President Peter Mutharika still holds absolute powers.

If Chilima’s executive hallucinations are to be realised into at least a dream, the country needs to pray for its own David – a leader with inner, hidden qualities like humility, courage, hard-working, patriotism and selfless service to humanity.

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