George Chaponda is a widely travelled man.
In fact, I have it on good authority that the Agriculture Minister has lived the most part of his adult life abroad.
Those who know him personally do swear under oath that the man attended an Ivy League university in the United States for his law degree at Yale after which he worked as international diplomat under United Nations agencies such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
I am sure in his many world travels, Chaponda has been to Germany not once or twice or thrice but several times.
Chaponda would, therefore, not have missed a thing in Berlin if he had skipped one more trip to Germany at government expense last week just to maintain peace with Malawians.
In case you have just been parachuted into Malawi, let me fill you in with the background.
Government and Admarc have bungled the economics of maize price in this country.
As a country, we woke up to a shock sometime last year when Admarc, with support from government or to be specific, Chaponda as Agriculture Minister, told Malawians that the maize price was K12,500 per a 50kg bag, representing a 150 percent rise from the K5,000 it was being sold only the previous month.
Coupled with that, the same Admarc, under the supervision of the same Chaponda, have also bungled the maize importation from Zambia with staggering incompetence.
All this has caused uproar and President Peter Mutharika appointed an inquiry to probe into all matters surrounding the bungle.
In the civilised world, anybody who is being investigated resigns or is suspended to pave way for the probe.
Chaponda has refused the above and described his involvement in the saga as minimal although he undertook trips to Zambia more than twice to discuss maize importation.
Three CSOs took an injunction against Chaponda continuing to act as minister which High Court judge in Mzuzu John Chirwa granted and it was sustained until January 31 even when Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale challenged it
It is this injunction that Chaponda and his boss, the President are refusing to respect and as if to laugh at Malawians, the Agriculture Minister travelled to Germany to attend a workshop.
If you ask me, I have to scratch my head to see the relevance of this workshop to the country.
In the end it is just pure arrogance on display.
The question is: Who is advising the two to blatantly disregard the rule of law.
Does it mean respect for the rule of law is only for you and me? That Chaponda and Mutharika are above the law?
Signs are there that Chaponda is positioning himself to take over the leadership of DPP one day and the country? Does he really think this whole saga is doing him good?
Chaponda, with the support of his boss, is displaying unnecessary and unbridled arrogance never seen in recent years.
The question is if Chaponda can do this as a mere Agriculture Minister, what stubbornness would he bring along if we sent him to the State House?
We would have a Bingu wa Mutharika once again.
And Malawians paid dearly for the late Mutharika’s arrogance.
We lost aid from the West and with it came all sorts of economic problems. We lost 20 young men after the police shot them dead in their prime as they were among those calling for the reclamation of their country from the clutches of the unpredictable Bingu during the countrywide demonstrations on July 20, 2011.
As a country, we would not want another arrogant Bingu wa Mutharika reincarnating himself in the form of Dr Chaponda.
In fact, we do not need such leaders who think they are special and that the rule of law is for us, the lesser mortals.
As I keep saying, Malawi is not a banana republic.
We have a template that we agreed on in 1994 and I am sure that that time Chaponda and his boss were still enjoying themselves in some exotic places abroad.
This template calls for all of us to obey the pronouncements of the courts and appeal them if we are not happy.
Whoever is advising Chaponda should tell him that. What is wrong with him?
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