The foolish traveler


Mdzukulu, the following story will explain my point today.

There was this foolish traveller who had gone on a journey.

Everywhere he went, people made up all kinds of sad stories to tell him and the traveller fell for every one of them.


Pretty soon his money, clothes and even shoes had been cheated away from him.

When the traveller was completely naked, he decided to leave the main road and travel through the dense forest where no one can see him.

But soon he was discovered by the goblins that lived in the woods.


The goblins wanted to eat the traveller’s body, so they begged and pleaded and used kind words to try and trick him.

Of course, the traveller was fooled.

First he let the goblins eat one of his legs, then an arm, then more and more.

And as the last goblin was eating the traveller’s eyes, it turned and said: “Thank you, traveller. In return I leave you with this present.”

All the goblin left was this piece of paper with the word ‘fool’ on it.

“Thank you,” he said: “This is the first present anyone’s ever given me, I’m so happy!”

Then, the traveller died, the smile still on his face.

Mdzukulu, history is indeed interesting. There are times when humanity seems to be running in circles with no clear sense of headway.

The sad story of Malawi letting the reins of power into the hands of foolish-traveller-like leaders is still haunting the country.

The kind of political stagnation that has rocked the country for the past 23 years of democracy vindicates the fact that the warm but very poor heart of Africa is yet to produce a first-class political leader in this democratic dispensation.

Certainly, mdzukulu, President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have failed to not only find their leadership ‘sweet pot’ but raise their leadership tent whose canvas represents all of the possible competencies a leader might display, including being honest and decisive.

Mutharika was handed an opportunity to prove himself either a prodigious success or an ignominious failure at running the affairs of the country and glow in his glorious success or wallow in the ignominy of failure.

He had several options of actualising this; among them learning that quitting is also leading.

But it is clear, mdzukulu, the incumbent and his disciples lack the capacity to run the affairs of this country at minimum risk of besmirching the image of the entire DPP fanatics as failures at statecraft.

Thomas Jefferson said: “In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of the first importance.”

Yet Mutharika, 77, recently had the audacity to tell Malawians that he is young and he thinks he still has the energy to run the country to prosperity.

But the President’s statement, mdzukulu, s imply justi f ies that Malawi is one of the most unfortunate countries in Africa, if not the whole world, which has been taken for ride by selfish leaders masquerading as political leaders.

Inherent in such ‘leaders’ is the imperative that they should remain in power until death deprives them of the capacity to exercise power.

They, therefore, mdzukulu, use even illegal or immoral means, including making the public believe that they are supernatural beings that do not grow old – despite age pointing to the contrary, to gain undue wealth and advantage for themselves, their relatives and friends.

But truth be told mdzukulu. Mutharika is past the retirement age.

In fact, he has failed to display progressive and visionary leadership for the past three years and signs are clear he will never become such a leader. He is an octogenarian.

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