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The door to fate

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When some of us were growing up, headliners in international news were the likes of Boutros- Boutros Ghali, Sani Abacha, Mohamed Farah Aidid, George H.W Bush, Suharto, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Charles Taylor, Ibrahim Babangida and the Jerry Rawlings. Listening to news those days, one would have been forgiven to ever harbour the thought that these people were immortal and indispensable.

Today, none of these make news as some of them are beneath the earth while one or two are in the twilight of their existence. They say time is a savage and has its way of dictating what happens to us.

The past three weeks, time has given us, Malawians, some generous lessons of how things change but at the same time remain the same. Before December last year, George Chaponda—the then minister of agriculture—was a very powerful man. Those who have an appetite for gossip believe that he even had his eyes on the presidency. When he coughed, the police saluted. When he spoke, the media reported that the government had spoken. But three weeks ago, Chaponda was shoved in a police cell and the same policemen that used to freeze at his order, somehow, enjoyed the exercise of having a-once-upon-a-time untouchable thrown in a reeking cell.

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Before April 2012, former president Bingu wa Mutharika created a grouping of his tribesmen who he put on every important job on the land. To them, Malawi was an exclusive club that only the group had the right to anything and everything good that was there. But when Bingu suddenly died everything changed. Those who were pushed to the peripheral all of a sudden found their spaces at the centre and those who were at the centre were pushed to the fringes.

Between 2012 and 2014, Malawi was an orange nation. It was the People’s Party led by Joyce Banda that owned almost everything. Peter Mutharika who had previously enjoyed VVIP treatment when his brother Bingu was President suddenly felt the stench of raw urine in police cell. Today, the tables have turned and Peter is president while his archenemy Joyce Banda is jumping from one country to another perhaps afraid of what awaits her when she returns home.

What is all this? When warrants of arrest were issued for both Chaponda and then Joyce Banda, those who learn from the free lessons of life must have realised that time, the savage, does not guarantee where and who you will be tomorrow.

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There are stories—true and false—of people who ever thought they had every right to torture others. These are people who could kill your soul with a statement and made you wish you were not born. I am talking about people who thought the world begins and ends with them. Where are they now?

Recently, one person I have been thinking about is one Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accidental Secretary General Gresselder Jeffrey. Since she assumed office, Jeffrey has been a demi-goddess who can say whatever decides to come out of her mouth. She does not even care about sensibilities. About a year ago, no one could mention Jeffrey on any serious matter. She was just a bounced-back Member of Parliament. But with power as DPP’s CEO she has decided to forget that she will not be where she is forever.

On Tuesday, The Daily Times carried on its front page, a story about some DPP officials who were forcing councils to fund their blue gathering called Blue Night. Not long ago, some councillors belonging to the DPP were reported to have been harassing a District Commissioner in Chiradzulu because she refused to be part of their looting schemes. Until now, these rascals have not been punished and it is likely that they will not be punished as long as the DPP is in power.

People who hold and are close to power have a tendency of forgetting that when tables turn, they will cry for the same justice they vomit on. Sit back and reflect on how on this very Earth we are living, someone who was eyeing the presidency before December could be ridiculed and stoned by ordinary Malawians while someone who held the top most job in this country could be living in self-imposed exiled with an arrest warrant hovering over her head.

Once upon a time in this country, everything was about Kamuzu Banda, then came Bakili Muluzi, then Bingu, Joyce Banda and now Peter Mutharika. But nothing lasts forever.

And as we live and start living under the illusion that we are indispensable we should look into the mirrors of time and see how the mighty have fallen. Whatever decision we make in our prime is the door to fate.

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