Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Mutharika’s Features of Muluzi and Kamuzu

President Bingu wa Mutharika is unfortunate to be the country’s third occupant of the State House. There is bound to be comparisons between his rule and that of his two predecessors whether or not this inference is his cup of tea.
However, since he keeps on declaring that he wants to take after the first President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, there has been some conspicuous gaps in as far as his trying to carry out his emulation of Kamuzu is concerned.
It would also be interesting to know that Mutharika is a product of the warmth of the United Democratic Front (UDF) where the benefactor of this heat was no one else other than former President Bakili Muluzi.
Therefore, although Mutharika tries to try to be like Kamuzu, there are certain aspects within his style of leadership that are purely the Muluzi fashion of headship.
To start with, Mutharika has been unfortunate to inherit a country, which has a wholesale-liberalised market force that even when he tried to dictate tobacco prices for the buyers in our auction floors the reverberation has been adverse to the farmers instead.
Then there is a question of appeasing the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). For wrong moral reasons I assume, Bakili Muluzi spent K3 million taxpayers’ money to print the MCP cloth, which was a dominating factor at its convention at the Natural Resources College at one time.
I am timidly saying Mutharika has followed suit. Why? One may ask. My contention is without complex. The cloth, which The Guardian newspaper has reported to have cost tax payers K3 million also is an appeasement because what is outstanding on the cloth are pointers that are unmistakably MCP.
Others like me have argued that the cloth would have been something else. Something like a colt of arms going together with the face of Kamuzu, just to make it more nationalised than the party slant it took. Not all, of course, can view good things from a shared perspective, so they say.
One other feature that Mutharika is trying to emulate Kamuzu is that of making our cities look clean. At the height of Kamuzu rule, Blantyre won big prizes as one of the world’s cleanest cities.
However, there Mutharika has been slighted a bit by sticking to one Donton Mkandawire.
During the Muluzi rule all the city assembly officials, workers and what have you, never wanted the services of one Professor Donton Mkandawire. Muluzi stuck to the Professor. What Muluzi did then is what is now being practised by Mutharika; he is sticking to Mkandawire.
The result is that despite chasing the vendors from the streets, dirt is now the commonest of all eye sores in the streets and the hope to achieve what Kamuzu did remains a pipe dream.
The other similarity of Mutharika and Kamuzu would perhaps be the fear of arrest that hovers above our heads; but this is not more than the stance that he has taken though; Mutharika is bold when he executes his pronouncements etc.
While Mutharika is not much into the globe trotting as was characterised by the Muluzi rule he also has his share and unlike Kamuzu who was a lucid planner he seems to be driven by his whims as I always insist.
Take the crop inspection tour for example, Kamuzu used to plan the itinerary of it. But one day in Mutharika’s rule he just decided to do it the Kamuzu crop inspection way. The fact that puts to the clear that he was just jerked by his whims is at the time he said he will start the tours; it was in the middle of the growing season and he never visited all the areas proposed as was the case with Kamuzu.
To imagine that each trip the President makes costs K30 million plus one can really see how costly his impromptu imitation of Kamuzu is costing the country.
It is an open fact that Kamuzu was a dictator and Mutharika has also declared that in order to emulate Kamuzu by the letter he is ready to be called a dictator as well.
The way he has conducted himself of late has in fact exposed this dictatorial trait and really given chance he might really turn himself into a worst dictator.
He is very unfortunate though, because this is a democratic environment and for the Kamuzu system to work there was a suitable environment that nourished its growth.
The difference again was that Kamuzu was the country’s life President and hence was assured of his tomorrow without being threatened by the polls.
Reverend Dr Sausten Mfune, President of Seventh Adventist Church during a prayer during the unveiling ceremony of Kamuzu’s mausoleum mentioned something to this effect.
Mfune said politicians think of the next elections while statesmen think of the next generation and that Kamuzu was a statesman. He was short of mentioning though that this was possible because he made sure that he became life president.
Mutharika declared during the opening of the Mugabe road that he can not be threatened to execute decisions he so desires because people are saying they will punish him through the ballot box. He challenged that who said he was going to look for their votes come 2009 any way?
All this point to one thing that Mutharika must neither be Kamuzu nor Muluzi after all he is the first Bingu wa Mutharika not the second Kamuzu. So he has to live and rule by his own terms otherwise he won’t manage any borrowed terms.
THANKS MR PRESIDENT…
I would like to thank you sir for reading and understanding my last piece in the previous week’s issue and you indeed used that Constitution provision I reminded you about and fired one Ralph Kasambara…

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