Stuck in flattery


A Fox once saw a Crow fly with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.

“That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said the Fox, and it walked up to the foot of the tree.

“Good afternoon, Mistress Crow,” he cried.


“How well you are looking today; how glossy your feathers; how bright your eyes. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.”

The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth, the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.

“That will do,” said the Fox. “That was what I wanted. In exchange for your cheese, I will give you a piece of advice for the future – Do not trust flatterers.”


Ernest Thompson-Seton in The Animal Story Book summed up this fairy tale originally from Fables of Æsop with a moral: “The flatterer does rob by stealth, his victim, both of wit and wealth.”

Mdzukulu, remember, with the help of some Western donors, from 1990, ordinary Africans in many States managed to establish multiparty democracy though, sadly, with mediocre leadership.

In Malawi, you would agree with me, the political system shift brought a new wave of mediocre leaders: Bakili Muluzi, the late Bingu wa Mutharika (with a slight vision but failed to manage absolute power), Joyce Banda and the sitting President Peter Mutharika with their coterie of sycophants.

Almost anyone notices that the country, politically, socially and economically, has stagnated.

Simply put mdzukulu, the Democratic Progressive Government demonstrates displays executive competence in presiding over a government that fails to steer a clear economic path.

But all this is because of the sad story of letting the reins of power into the hands of visionless and predatory personalities still lingers.

Though many factors account for this particular and dreadful institution but, mdzukulu, the ‘foxes’, revering illusory beautiful ‘feathers’, ‘voices’ and ‘eyes’ of the leaders mostly contribute to their lack of ethical leadership and integrity.

The ‘foxes’, mdzukulu, sing juicy music to which the leader gradually dances until the leaders assume a mammoth’s proportion that disconnects them from the real-self, reality on the ground and the vast majority of the country’s inhabitants.

The country in 2014 thought it had confined to the graveyard former president Joyce Banda’s (JB) second-rate leadership and mandasi economics of traversing the country distributing nkhunda, nkhuku, nkhumba, mbuzi, ng’ombe, ufa, chimanga, mbeu, mabulangeti, malata, zisani in the name of bringing rural or urban development.

But, refusing to learn from his predecessors, Mutharika has, sadly but not surprisingly, opted to go for this disastrous recipe that he is already trapped into the flattery of the ‘Master Fox’.

So, mdzukulu, Mutharika is now trekking around the country presiding over some functions – considering the money drawn from the public purse the trips are accompanied with – not worth his presence.

The latest function is that of yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony of the Blantyre Bypass Road at Chigumu la CCAP Ground in Blantyre which will be followed by Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony of the Clock Tower-Chileka Airport Dual Carriage at Mankhokwe Ground, Chileka in the district.

Yet prior to the 2014 tripartite elections that saw Mutharika ascend to the highest office of the land, he with his DPP’s disciples was all over screaming against JB unquenched thirsty for voyages. He promised to change the script about unwanted frequent presidential travels.

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