OPINION (Times)- In 2004, I listened to your inauguration speech and I must confess to having had a warm feeling about the future of this country. The best thing about the new Malawi was that you promised it would be corruption-free, intimidation-free, democracy-laden and opportunities were going to be equal for all.
You came to power touted as an honest and upstanding man even though a few of us were well aware of the arrogance and sleaze that had led to your dismissal from COMESA. But we gave you the benefit of the doubt. Then, there wasn’t a shortage of people to blame for your apparent shortcomings as presidentâ€”Bakili Muluzi, John Tembo, the UDF, MCP, the opposition. You had a lot of sympathy from the people, which, sadly, you have mistaken for meekness.
Since by your own admission you say you do not understand Malawians, I will tell you that all Malawians want is for you to understand the exact nature of this relationship. You begged them for a job and they have let you hold the reins of power on their behalf, on trust. So Malawians don’t work for you. But you, as the top civil servant, work for Malawians. Please do not ever forget that.
Red flags went up when the first thing you did as president was to try to indulge yourself in luxuries. The real smell of rotting fish came a few months into your first term with the intention to use our money to purchase two obscenely priced limited-edition lush Maybach vehicles; one for yourself and the other for your wife.
That was the first indication that you have an obsessive desire for bling-bling, even when the money you are blowing is not yours. The claim that you were in office only because you wanted to create a better life for all Malawians started to look as fake as Chinese Givenchy.
In your second term, things are going badly for Malawi and now you are using scare tactics to want to silence us. But look at what you have done to the country. In a few short years, Malawi has moved from a country in which people were happy and contented and safe to a place where they now they have to steal from each other to survive and have to dodge petrol-bombs at night.
Telling your party hoodlums last Sunday to do whatever they can to protect you was unwise and appalling because when these goons of yours start smashing in the heads of your critics, you will be held responsible. If you think your threats are a joke, look at all the fire bombings that went on after you said you were going to “smoke out” your critics.
I have heard you complain bitterly about the media being harsh on you. Ask Barack Obama and the leaders of European countries who are subject to constant public assessment and media scrutiny, and are far more harshly dealt with than you have ever been. Do not listen to what Hetherwick Ntaba and Albert Mungomo will tell you are the roles of media in a democracy. These two are clueless on this: Ntaba was once a medical doctor and Mungomo a radio DJ.
The point they miss is that the people who put you into that office are entitled to expect delivery from you and that means they are allowed to complain when you don’t deliver. You have had terrible days in the office for a while now. For that you deserve to be criticized but no one is gunning to crucify you so stop all this talk about a coup that only exits in the heads of the sycophants surrounding you. It makes you look like a hopeless cry-baby and that is not good for your image at all.
If these threats you issue with reckless abandon are deliberately designed to blind us from seeing your true colours and the dangerous path you are overenthusiastically taking Malawi on, please stop. Your reckless public outburstsâ€”especially against those who have been our friends for decadesâ€”have caused enormous political and economic damage to Malawi already.
So, at no cost to you, here is a free lesson in DIPLOMACY 101.
Mr. President, there is a reason why diplomatic contact is supposed to remain private and the clue to that is in the word DIPLOMACY. Once diplomats feel they can’t convey their true impressions within their line of work, then the whole point of being a diplomat flies out of the window. Even if you don’t like them you can’t call our guests stupid and order that they go to hell, all from a podium of a DPP rally in your home village.
What you do is put your thoughts into a private communication only to be seen by a certain trusted people. Global politics is complex today that it would be naÃ¯ve to believe that you can swear and spit at the hand that feeds you and get away with it. You could do that during the era of the cold war, but no more. The world has since moved on from such primitive politicking to something more subtle.
The downside of this regime is that it is your egotismâ€”more than anything elseâ€”that has plunged our country into a maelstrom of political and economic chaos that it will require a miracle to restore it to its pre-2009 buoyancy.
You succeeded once in fooling the people with the fallacy that we were the second fastest growing economy in the world, after oil-rich Qatar. But the citizens of this nation have little to show for what that so-called growth did to improve their lives. In fact, the general accusation is that you have presided over a sharp rise in misery among the peopleâ€”while you, those brothers and your Mulhako cronies are running businesses here, there and everywhere.
Tax money that should have improved the lives of millions of Malawians has either been frittered away on nonsense like a 58-roomed, 4-storey mansion on a farm or pet projects steeped in personal pique like the so-called port in Nsanje or just disappeared into dubious bank accounts in Portugal and Australia.
Sadly, there are no indications that anything will change for as long as your obsession is on securing your life after 2014, which means only one thingâ€”we are destined to go the same way as other failed states.
Over the past two years, you have become involved in unwinnable and costly wars with everyone. The result is that Malawi has become isolated and undemocratic; protestors have been gunned down in cold blood, houses have been set on fire, the economy has tanked, corruption has risen to stratospheric levels, service delivery has deteriorated, the country has become a pitiful pariah stateâ€”and the people are fed up.
Sir, my advice is please change your ways or eventually something will snap.
Tags: Bingu wa Mutharika