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You certainly need grace Mr President

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In the opening player at the press conference President Peter Mutharika addressed last Thursday, presidential aide on religious affairs, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa, asked God to provide grace on the president. And Mutharika acknowledged the player, stating he indeed needed grace during the press conference.

As it turned out, the president really needed grace to go through that press conference. In fact, he needs grace to be president of Malawi at this point in time.

I would like to believe that Mutharika means well for Malawi. He is somebody who loves the country and wants to serve the people better. But things don’t seem to be getting right for him. And the trip to the UN is one of the biggest goofs by the president.

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When stories about the bloated delegation on the UN trip broke out on social media, I initially thought they were exaggerations and that the government would provide plausible information regarding the number of people sponsored by our taxes on the trip. I gave the president and his government the benefit of doubt.

But from the press conference on Thursday, I’m convinced that government indeed sponsored the majority of the 106 delegates to New York. Yes there were one or two people whose expenses were paid by the UN and other agencies. But the largest chunk of that group was on the Malawi government ticket.

It was very clear at the press conference that the president struggled to explain about the trip because he knew that if he were to provide full details, the truth would be known and the government would be embarrassed with information contradictory to its earlier explanations.

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If indeed the Malawi government only sponsored 20 out of the 106, Mutharika and his lieutenants would not have problems providing that information to Malawians. It would have been a simple task because copies of that list the president had would simply have been and distributed to each journalist, with full details about the people who travelled and who sponsored them.

But that wasn’t the case and we now all know the reason.

I still don’t understand how the president could have decided to waste so much government money on the trip with all the problems prevailing in the country. What was the president thinking when he authorised that list?

And then you come back and start pointing fingers at the media! You even go to an extent of demanding apologies from journalists? No Mr. President. That is simply unacceptable. In fact, it is you Mr. President who should apologise to Malawians for being so irresponsible by spending so carelessly on the trip to the UN.

Malawi is currently on fire because of the president’s failure to rally the people together as we go through the economic problems prevailing in the country as a result of cashgate, donor aid suspension, floods, drought and poor food and general agriculture production experienced this year.

The Mutharika government has failed to communicate to the people that the problems are a result of external and natural shocks and not incompetence on its part. As a result of poor communications and public relations, all the fingers are pointing at the president and his government.

Blunders such as the UN trip are only making things worse for the president. At the time the president is in desperate need of better political and PR management, such avoidable gaffes should be the last for him to commit.

The president really needs to review his style of management and see whether he is resonating and connecting well with the average Malawian, especially at this time when everything seems to be going wrongly.

The president needs good advisors and a vibrant PR and communications team to reconnect with the people and move with them together in addressing the many problems prevailing in the country.

As things are at the moment, it will be difficult for the president to work effectively as there is now growing resentment towards his leadership. He really needs to regain people’s trust and confidence if he is to be able to lead the country out of the current doldrums.

And that support can only be regained through bold actions that would clearly demonstrate that he is a true leader who is not only making efforts to address the problems but is also suffering with them through sacrifices in the way he uses tax payers’ money on himself and his cronies. Travelling in a hired jet in times like this isn’t the smartest thing a president of Malawi would be doing. And indeed, you need to ask for more grace from God the Almighty. #ThumbsDown President Mutharika.

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