I was surprised to hear that President Peter Mutharika of Malawi was visiting the jail cell spent time in when he was arrested in March 2013. According to media reports, the visit is meant to highlight Mutharika’s philosophy that no one in Malawi will be arrested on political grounds. That prisons should not be detention centres for punishment; rather that prisons should be places of reformation and rehabilitation.
This sounds commendable on the face of it, until you look at the fine print.
Firstly, who foots the bill for the trip? And how much of tax payers money was spent on this? Are we not in Joyce Banda’s 100 days celebration territory here? I’m not convinced.
If Peter Mutharika really wanted to help the political situation in Malawi, he would have fronted a bi-partisan (tri-partisan ?) legislative effort to ensure that ‘that no one in Malawi will be arrested on political grounds’. That would have been a better start because with the current economic situation, I doubt it is wise to get ministers and the entire DPP party to some rural area to paint some prison. I wonder how much money would have been saved if Mutharika stayed at home? At Sanjika Palace, possibly contemplating how he would reduce youth unemployment and create jobs for the millions of unemployed Malawians. He could have read this blog, at least it would have given him some ideas, on how not to do things? I think it would have.
One commentator, Billy Mayaya, writing on his Facebook profile opined that:
Malawi if facing the biggest economic crisis in its history and we have a crisis of leadership! The commemoration of his stint at Lumbadzi Police Station shows a lack of leadership. Malawians are tired of seeing their hard earned tax going to fluffy events. teachers haven’t been paid; There are no medicines in hospitals and meanwhile our leader is having a party!!!
It is true, most people feel insulted. Many Malawians were detained under the dictatorship of Kamuzu Banda.. Gwanda Chakwamba for example spent 13 years in prison. Machipisa Munthali, 27 long and weary years! Even my own father spent 5 years in prison for speaking out against the Ngwazi. All at a huge cost to their families. Lives wasted by an unnecessary detention.
None of these patriotic men contemplated of or pulled some misguided publicity stunt designed to somehow prop their popularity. None of them, after subsequently being elected to parliament, and serving in various capacities did such a thing. Does that mean that they did not care of the issue of political imprisonment? That they were less patriotic? That somehow they wanted ‘political imprisoning’ to continue? I don’t think so. If anything these men paid a much greater price than any political hardship Mutharika has ever endured.
And just imagine that this stunt comes barely a day after DPP’s secretary general Ecklen Kudontoni told a gathering in Mzuzu that now was time to enjoy the fruits of their hard work, that any CEO’s of a parastatal who does not render their support to DPP would face ‘consequences’…?? Isn’t that a political threat? Intimidation by a member of a governing party?
A government is elected to serve all its people. Not just those who voted for it. Mutharika should stop these childish gimmicks by his lieutenants and implement his plan of rescuing the country from the brink of downfall. There are many of us out here who want Peter Mutharika to succeed. Because if he does succeed, it means Malawi will do well. That’s the wish of every Malawian. But why should people be silent when the government is getting things wrong. Achewa anati wakusina khutu ndi mnansi.
I think the whole nation will be pleased to hear that no one will be arrested on political grounds. I will be pleased to be part of his government since he taken human nature into consideration . People must agreed to disagree and disagree to agree at the end of the day we are related one Malawi . My prayers everyday is for African leaders to realize that everyone has a different opinion and the bottom line is we need to build the nation for the good of everyone dispute our difference. Well done achikulire for that noble idea mulungu akutsogoleleni continue to do good for the Malawians.
I think the problem with the current government is that they don’t know how to use power responsibly. One reason is officials who are asslickers who either give bad advice, or accept everything the president says. They don’t know when to say ‘No bwana this will backfire because of such and such a reason. Don’t do this.’ When Joyce Banda was in power, we had the same problem. She made some silly decisions, which many malawians including the whole CSO body – with its own political factions – condemned as shortsigted. Making unnecessary trips where the value of the assignment was MWK 250,000, but spending MWK600,000 on fuel and allowances. Does that make sense for a poor country?
In my view when many greats such as Vera Chilwa, spent 12 years in prison, Gwanda Chakuamba 13 years, Machipisa Munthali 27 years, and many others, its a mockery and an insult to all those that died fighting for the freedom of this nation, those who were arrested, and brutally treated at every turn, for Arthur Peter Mutharika – who it must be remembered was in a police cell for 3 days, to malke a mountain out of his arrest. It would have been different if he decided that we commemorate the death in prison of Orton Chirwa for example. People would have commended that. Further, what freedom was APM fighting for when he got arrested? Remind us please. Wasn’t the issue that he was accused of being involved in a coup that failed miserably when General Odillo refused his invitation to take over government?
Malawians are not stupid. Certainly not all of them.DPP supporters can clap their hands all they like for all the silly things happening in the corridors of state house now. But one day the chickens will come home to roost. Just like Joyce Banda now. People told her government don’t do this, don’t do that. They didn’t listen. They thought they were on top of the world. Look at her now, her mistakes are haunting her – she can’t even return home. Isn’t that sad?
Malawians must learn from their mistakes.
There are people who want to help this government, but already it seems it doesn’t want to be helped. It prefers advice from ‘Yes men’, brutes who usher it towards the blunderous route which has caused Malawians so much pain over the years. The same route which was taken by Bakili, Bingu in his second term (not his first – in which he was a shinning example), and now Peter Mutharika.
O cry my beloved Malawi