PRESIDENT Peter Mutharika spent some four decades in the US. Four decades is a lifetime especially this corner of the globe where life expectancy is at a depressing low. In the US, F-words are not that much taken as offensive. Actually an F-word can even precede a generous compliment.
Likely, by having lived in the US for close to half a century, Peter might have internalised a cool dose of F-words in his lexicon. But he cannot use them anyhow in public knowing that he might touch some barbed sensibilities.
But for those who earn a living for mastering words and meaning, Peter has covertly used F-words on us and has practically given the nation the middle finger. Peter’s layers of restraints from using F-words loudly are somehow cracked during party rallies where when charged and spurred by his back-wiggling women, painted cadets and foaming pot-bellied minions, he uses words like “nonsense” ,”stupid” and “useless” on those who point at the dents of his leadership. Just last week, Peter had the temerity to call his critics stupid.
I was not surprised an iota. Peter has always had the illusion that he is the best thing—and worth remembering— ever to happen to Malawi after the national flag and the national anthem. Think of this. During his big brother Bingu wa Mutharika’s days, Peter made a mess of every ministry he headed.
When he failed at one ministry, he was moved to the other just because he was his brother’s brother. To Peter, having on his watch colleges closed for close to a year as it was in 2011 during the Academic Freedom saga is not something to be perturbed about.
To Peter, having some costly diplomatic spats while he is in charge is nothing to worry about. To Peter, imposing Draconian laws on already repressed citizens is just normal. That is why Peter was so confident that, despite his embarrassing record of failures, he could still contest for the presidency.
But Malawians have a curious love for mediocrity and low standards; and Peter now holds the lofty title of His Excellency the President of Malawi. Wonders will never cease. Peter’s uncensored rant on critics gave me that odd feeling of déjà vu.
During the last two years of his brother, Bingu’s star-crossed reign Malawians became victims of Bingu’s congenital paranoia and a pathological aversion to criticism. Once upon a time Bingu even called us chickens. To live true to his regard for us as chickens, Bingu sanctioned a rule of intimidation and terror when he told his cadets to beat up—fatally or otherwise—all his critics. Some cadets are still in the terrorism mode even today. And Peter, too, and ironically, has only two years left to his guaranteed mandate as Malawi’s CEO.
At one point, I had an ephemeral belief that Peter would be a better president than I have always expected him. In the run up to the 2014 tripartite elections and a month or two after his election, Peter made a few impressive promises. I gave him the benefit of doubt. Three years later, Peter has just proven to be another mistake that Malawians make after every five years.
What is more worrisome is that Peter is showing dictatorial tendencies in his own party. When he travelled up North the other day, Peter intimidated all Democratic Progressive Party aspirants when he dictated a list of his preferred cronies to contest for Parliamentary seats in various constituencies.
Just to show that Peter lacks standards and is alien to democratic principles, Peter believes the senile Goodall Gondwe and the loquacious and ever-blundering Grace Obama Chiumia—the latter who ironically adopted the name of one of the most flamboyant and eloquent leaders of the world, Barak Obama—are indispensable. But who cares about the blue business? Now back to issues that matter.
Peter has every right to call others stupid especially those who demonstrate an irrational hatred of him. But what is worrisome is when Peter begins to call stupid, people who tell him where and when things are wrong and need to be corrected. Peter has not been the best president in this country especially when you have to consider his poncy treatment of corruption, his lackadaisical handling of education and health crises in the country, and directionless running of state affairs in general.
Well, as I said earlier that Peter—having borrowed a culture from a country that makes light of F-words— might be excused for occasionally using some unsavoury words on whomever he thinks is not his friend as he called us stupid the other day.
But elsewhere, presiding over a stinking corrupt regime, having your Minnie-me accruing billions in diabolically corrupt and intimidating ways using your name, protecting corrupt henchmen because they are your buddy-buddies or in payback of some whiskey exchanges while in diaspora, when you make every top job a preserve for your tribesmen, failing to run a country or giving it vision and when there are strikes all over and your once-upon-atime popularity is waning at an alarming speed is what stupidity is.
Some memories hurt
IN 2006 at the Sports Complex at Chancellor College, I and Collin Chitsime were drowning our sorrows. Collin of course today no longer does Special Brew. He prefers some very strange and odd whiskies meant for ageing people. At the Sports Complex that day, there arrived one George Chamangwana. George and Collin of course are somehow related. George bought us seven bottles of Special Brew each. Those who have been students and “ma needy” know what seven bottles from a “merchant meant” on a lean day. I have always known George by name sometime back until we started associating during some social games around 2001. He was a decent left back. Of course I never watched him play serious and competitive football. During the years, George has been a very good and precious associate of my dear brother Dyson. George was a very kind man. He always helped without expecting anything in return. Just like my brother Dyson, George had a religious passion for football. His desire had always been to see his beloved Mighty Wanderers win the Super League which they last won in 2006— ironically that is the year George bought me and Collin seven bottles of Special Brew each. Sadly, George departed the year his beloved Mighty Wanderers looks favourites to win the league he so much desired. The news of George’s passing left me with so many memories that hurt. When on Saturday the other week Dyson asked me to escort him to cheer George, I had another pressing issue at the office. I thought I would visit him later. So, Ajijo as you will from today be pushing up the daisies, I will always remember you for all the good things. Rest well mighty Nomad!
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