Lucius Banda is back to where he belongs
Lucius Banda made his name as a young revolutionary musician who courageously spoke about the suffering of the poor and ordinary people while pointing out the ills of those in power.
His iconic song Mabala came out against all odds around 1992 while the one-party state was still alive and dead set against dissent. It was probably the first song that was produced by a locally-based artist that dared to criticise the establishment.
No wonder, Lucius nicknamed himself and rightly so “soldier” and he continued singing out against corruption, maladministration, nepotism, incompetence and other ills in government while pointing out at lavishness amongst political leaders while many people languished in extreme poverty.
When he decided to join politics and started singing in praise of the then United Democratic Front (UDF) government of Bakili Muluzi, he was criticised and seen as a traitor by many. It was indeed a loss to the poor people of Malawi whose “spokesperson” – they thought, had joined the oppressor.
After his first stint in Parliament where he ended up a victim of the battle between his UDF party and its in-government off-shoot the Democrat ic Progressive Party (DPP), we saw the original Lucius Banda back to where he belonged.
His hard hitting songs returned and the people once again had their soldier back, speaking out against poor governance.
The soldier has obviously decided to settle in politics as evidenced by his decision to stand again for Parliament in his Balaka constituency where he, as widely expected, emerged victorious and is now in the August House representing his people.
The fear though amongst his some of his followers nationwide was that his party’s decision to get into an alliance with the DPP would once against make Lucius part of the oppressor. Worse so because the UDF made him their leader in Parliament, which meant he was supposed to be part and parcel of the decisions to join hands with the government.
There is however a saying which goes “You can take a boy out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the boy”.
Lucius’s decision to go against his party leadership’s decision to move all their legislators to government benches is a sign that even though the musician is now in politics where royalty is wrongly the order of the game, his DNA remains that of a revolutionary activist who can always stand up for the truth, no matter the circumstances.
Being on the same side with government comes with all the trappings of money and power. As leader of the UDF in Parliament, Lucius was obviously among the top to benefit from any favours the government is likely to pour on UDF leaders as a reward for their support in the august house.
However, by refusing to join his fellow legislators in government benches, Lucius has once again chosen to be with the people while denying himself potential lucrative positions or business deals from the government.
Not many would be so unselfish, especially among Malawi’s politicians where greed and self-enrichment are the main motives.
Lucius is likely to suffer politically for his bold decision. He will certainly became an outcast among fellow UDF and DPP politicians. He will be laughed at as being “stupid” once his fellow UDF MPs start to enjoy the spoils of government while he a remains an ordinary legislator surviving on wages and allowances of an MP.
But Lucius will remain a hero and a legend amongst the people. He will be respected and cherished for ever as a rare principled politician who can sacrifice his own potential wealth accumulation to be on the side of the people.
And he will be rewarded in the long run as – based on precedence, he shall stand a better chance of retaining his seat come 2019 while the majority of those who have sold their consciousnesses will mostly likely vanish into the wilderness.
Malawi’s politics needs many Lucius Bandas. Our politics can become better and beneficial for the country if politicians started to put people first and their personal interests last in their dealings and undertakings.
What happened in April 2012 when DPP ministers and MPs dumped the party to join the People’s Party while the body of their dead leader was still laying in-state at State House was an embarrassing and classic example of lack of principles among our politicians. Greed is really deeply entrenched in our politics.
But the people of Malawi are always watching and will always react when their time comes. And the people are also watching the Lucius Banda’s of this world too. Not all is indeed lost in our political circuses. There seems to be some good apples among the rotten lot.
Indeed, it seems to be true that once a soldier, always a soldier.
#ThumbsUp Lucius Banda.
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