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Lumps of sugar

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Patricia Kaliati believes she is the prettiest and the brightest minister Malawi has ever seen. Her megalomania is too much and it even makes her stagger at times. When you listen to her arguments, it is when you start believing that this world has a way of celebrating and honouring mediocrity.

Kaliati, the person, is a very nice woman and very amiable. Her major weakness is her mouth. It seems Lady Pat, speaks before thinking—I am assuming she thinks sometimes.

On Martyr’s Day, Kaliati was at it again. During the commemoration in Nkhata Bay, Kaliati decided to defend her party zealots when they stormed the venue of the ceremony clad in party attire. I am told the agreement was to make the function carry the national face it deserves and that no one should politicise it. But as arrogant as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters always are, they thought who ever wanted to make the event national was high on something illegal. They ended up going to the function clad in party colours.

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And Kaliati, surprisingly to those who hold her in high esteem and unsurprisingly to some of us, went all the way to defend her party supporters. It did not end there: Lady Pat went on to insult every person who she believed was against her party supporters’ idea to turn a national event into a party function. It is praiseworthy to be loyal and I can forgive Kaliati for her loyalty to the DPP. But when a minister labours to defend the indefensible, it ceases to be loyalty and it becomes utter ineptitude. It beats me that in this country, we fail to pump sense in people all because we just want to be seen loyal and we are too afraid of what might become of us if we are bold.

For instance, I am addressing the people who dressed in DPP colours for that national event in Nkhata Bay as supporters. But, if I were to be honest and bold enough, I would have been referring to those people as savages. Honestly, when you have a group of people who deliberately ignore a decent agreement like the one made before the Martyr’s Day event in Nkhata Bay, then you do not need to look elsewhere for who or what a savage is. Making things worse, these savages have the backing of supposedly honourable people of the ilk of one Lady Pat.

I have never hidden my disdain of our fondness to politicise everything. And we are never ashamed about it. It does not matter whether it is Martyr’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, a wedding or a funeral, someone would want to gain some political mileage. At a funeral, for instance, there is always this thing about achipani atiyankhule (may we have a word from party representative).

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Talking of politicising funerals, the name that quickly comes to my mind is that of Chief Lundu. At the funeral of Traditional Authority Kabudula of Lilongwe, Chief Lundu had his embarrassing moment. Instead of a befitting eulogy to his sleeping colleague, Lundu thought it was time for him to steal the show with his baseless political rhetoric. Lundu decided to insult Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera for a reason only the chief knows.

Of all the places and events, a chief who still has decency and decorum, a funeral should be the last to be turned into a political rally. In case some of you have forgotten, during the time of Joyce Banda and the People’s Party, this very Lundu was at PP rallies insulting Peter Mutharika and the DPP while raining generous praises for the PP. Sadly, our political leaders forget too fast and have a curious love for flattery. Even if Lazarus Chakwera does win in 2019, Lundu will become MCP and will start insulting Peter Mutharika. I wish we had an intrepid leader who will stand up and tell these chiefs off without mincing words. I know Greasader Jeffrey, the DPP Secretary General, intervened to remind Lundu not to dovetail the funeral into a political rally and that was good, but I wish someone had stood up to admonish Lundu in plain words.

Lundu was out of bounds and has no excuse. I am sure, just like most chiefs in this country, Lundu wanted to endear himself to the president. It reminds me of the infamous sermon of one Patrick Makondetsa of Providence Industrial Mission during the commemoration of John Chilembwe. I am now beginning to believe that we have wagons of people who just want to make our leaders live in an illusory world where they think they are doing everything right.

If at all this country is to develop, we all need to start telling our leaders the truth and when they are wrong and unpopular, we should tell them as it is otherwise we will continue having bad leaders if we coat our messages in lumps of sugar.

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