Open Perspective: From funny thinkers to full idiots


Leadership is a call to serve, not to demean, embarrass or terrorise citizens. It is not leadership that employs language that seeks to break people’s will to participate in governance. It only betrays an attitude.

It’s now clear. Left alone, DDP can arrest the society into deathly silence. And events abound that attest to this disruptive propensity.

We now know that the ATI Bill submitted for enactment is a ruthlessly castrated version such that passed into law, it will be permanently impotent.


The bill won’t allow access to past information nor will it create an autonomous watchdog. Instead oversight rests with the information minister, a feeble partisan office at the mercy of a domineering president and a compromised opportunistic Cabinet.

Taking a cue from Safarao, I urge Parliament to reject the Bill unless restored to its original form. I urge non-partisan review through the lens of rights and democracy. If it passes, the House becomes complicit; one of the greatest disappointments ever!

Thanks to opposition legislators for a liberation movement. If Parliament wins the independence of ACB, I entreat you move on to liberate the office of Auditor General. Government is incapable of auditing its own accounts.


Perhaps the House should seek to free all ‘Generals’ in government from the vicious manipulation not least media agencies and organisations.

Typical of government under pressure a serious blunder was made in the roundly condemned arrests which only resurrected the haunting ghost of treason. I never imagined that this harsh law would ever be invoked by a government I believed to be the best prospect for Malawi’s democracy.

It’s my guess my President presided over the mutilation of the ATI Bill. I also guess that the orders to shame the ‘treasonous three’ could only have come from above. But I honestly do not know who Vice President SK Chilima calls idiots.

If by ‘those who walk around and make comments as experts’ Bwana SKC means writers, journalists and the numerous voices quoted in the media then I am lost all the more.

Is it not lawyers who are arguing about the unconstitutionality of the arrests? Is it not human rights experts who are questioning the manner in which the arrests were made? And is it not informed citizens who are expressing fear of abuse of police power to curtail projection of alternative views?

Honestly, I am not too sure who the idiots are that the Right Honourable second citizen is referring to. I am not at all.

What I know is that since DPP ascendancy it is seasoned economists, some of them eminent professors, who are dissatisfied with politicians who have not only messed up the economy but are also arrogant non-listeners. Many times I have heard phrases like ‘politicians should leave economics to economists’ or ‘politicians think they understand economics’.

I certainly refuse to believe that these educated sons and daughters of the land are idiots. But then who is the idiot the assistant president is talking about?

Numerous highly trained, mature and indisputably experienced Malawians in matters of leadership, democracy and development have rightfully highlighted the wrongs government should right and offered alternative policies which have gone unheeded.

I ask again, who then are the idiots? Can someone show me who the idiots are?

You see, I am terribly afraid that if these good Malawians who raise concerns and offer what’s good for the country are idiots who should shut up then the threat to democracy under DPP is more than palpable.

But I have an even greater fear that leaders working at helm of the society can declare publically that they are presiding over idiots. What then are the prospects for attaining respect, self-respect and all the virtues President Mutharika wishes to see?

I might well be one of those idiots, but it matters less to me. Nor should it matter to anybody who understands how much power democracy invests in ordinary people including idiots capable of exercising their franchise.

Seriously I am not aware of a president or minister who will call their own ‘subjects and citizens’ names for being helpful with analysis of issues and advancing alternative ideas, much worse if the leaders are themselves ‘educated’.

To educationists – and I am one of them – education first and foremost has the purpose of making people better human beings. Education endows people with virtues of which self-respect and respect for others is the most supreme.

Even then I am still scared. If it be true that education is what remains after all the formal learning then the risk is high of unceasing linguistic vulgarism.

Too many questions to ask: where is civility and humility? If leaders feel so much above citizens what will become of democracy? How well do leaders lead people they have already judged as idiots?

We have come full circle, haven’t we? There is nothing different anymore. It’s the same culture of trumped up charges and diversion of attention from real issues. It’s the same scare tactics, this time upped by consistent denigration of the electorate.

Media experts have just assessed the Cabinet and the second citizen is the ‘star among the lot’ with at least two timewasters who must resign. What will people who take pride in having such a great man performing without precedent, feel about being labelled idiotic?

I read, listen and write furiously. I have not read or heard anything idiotic from what Malawians communicate – not in the media and not in the books.

Incidentally it is common knowledge that democracy is sustained by unhampered participation of the electorate in all legitimate ways in shaping the narrative and future of a society. Citizens have the right to influence both policy and how they are governed.

My free advice: DPP was elected for its difference. What is the difference between DPP and the parties it is persecuting? If citizens are idiots, where is the difference with attitudes of other parties?

I don’t know. I am sure DPP knows.

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