In this week’s The Sunday Times, I read an interesting story in which the government branded former president Joyce Banda, a fugitive who is afraid to come back home for fear of being arrested for the alleged crimes that happened on her watch when she was president.
For newcomers in town, the story is that after falling at the polls in May of 2014, Joyce Banda jumped on the first plane out of the country and since then, she has only visited home once then quickly flew back to wherever she went.
When you ask her why she abhors home this much, JB— or whoever speaks on her behalf—will give you a litany of excuses among them being her fear of political persecution at the hands of the government and government’s failure to give her a proper retirement home.
JB’s overstay abroad has raised suspicions among people, especially with allegations flying around that she was the prima donna in the orchestra of looters that has come to be known Cashgate. Among those that have capitalised on JB’s self-imposed exile is the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which is trying so hard to veil its governance ineptitude by making JB appear like she is the alpha and omega of all the problems we are currently entrenched in.
It is true that JB has a lot of fouled air to clear when she returns home.
For instance, she has been mentioned, on far too numerous occasions and by a multitude of people, that she is connected to Cashgate. Then she also has to tell the country exactly what happened to the proceeds of the jet whose sale remains a mystery to many of us.
But despite the myriad of bloopers that characterised JB’s ephemeral stay in office, the DPP must stop this nonsense of blaming her for all the troubles that have become our way of life.
The DPP is known for its notoriety when it comes to blame games. Last time it was in government— that was during the illfated reign of one Bingu wa Mutharika—the DPP exhausted its quota of excuses and started blaming something as illusory as the devil. Now, by virtue of her fleeing the country, Joyce Banda has given the DPP a very convenient target of blame and they are utilising it at every chance.
If you talk to Peter Mutharika or anyone in the DPP, they will make sure they convince you that they found the country with nothing in its coffers and that they are working so hard to clean the mess that JB and her PP left.
You should have listened to Mutharika’s interview on BBC the other day when she deliberately ducked any question that touched on the massive looting that his demised brother Bingu and his cronies presided over between 2004 and 2012. Clearly, this DPP government wants all of us to believe it is clean yet the party is actually rotten to the core just like the PP was.
The ugly truth is that the continuous hounding of Joyce Banda won’t lower inflation or improve the economy a bit. Teachers will still be receiving their shockingly little salaries very late, people will continue to queue at Admarc depots to buy rationed maize, water taps will be dry as usual, electricity will go on being expensive yet never available while the kwacha will proceed on its free fall.
When it’s all said and done, most of us will not measure the DPP’s performance on how it pursued JB or anyone involved in Cashgate.
The whole talk that the current DPP is failing to get things running because of JB and PP’s misrule is nonsense and must stop. What the DPP must concede is that it does not appear like it has people in its rank and file that have the mojo to turn our fortunes. JB is gone and it does not seem like she will return to power anytime soon. It is simply inane for the DPP to tether its glaring failures on the apron strings of a former president who is busy partying around the globe.
A simple reminder to the DPP government is that Malawians are more astute now than they were yesteryears and to think that they will be easily convinced by some cheap blame game is an insult to them.
All the DPP needs to do is start being honest with Malawians, accept that they lied to us that they will give us a better life and the finally find ways to give us at least a portion of a good life that we deserve.
JB and her PP left the country in a mess but instead of the DPP correcting the wrongs, it is making things worse and we have nothing to smile about.
While it legally pursues JB, if at all she is involved in any mess, the DPP must quickly clean up its act and find means of properly running the government other than giving us this raw deal.
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