The Presidency Must Stop Embarrassing the Nation


I am not supposed to be talking to President Bingu wa Mutharika himself but I have chosen to pick on the whole presidency for reasons you will appreciate as we discuss the matter at hand later.
I must say that in the past weeks, the presidency has ridiculed the nation and if we do not act, then we, as a nation, shall fail our duties together.
Some of the actions by the president, which have been classified under the ‘intentional controversial issues’, should have been avoided.
Take for instance what the President did last Monday at the Auction Floors and last Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the First National Constitutional Review Conference. Before this, his office wrote a letter whose target was Vice President Cassim Chilumpha.
Let me start with the Auction Floors speech. Mutharika was clearly angry and for him to say that he was not, as he claimed there, is deceit. The tough talk he gave the buyers was quite moving to Malawians like me because we feel the buyers were cheating us and we cannot accept a raw deal.
But the president should learn to give directives without losing his losing his head because when he does so, he injures his character. We all know that the president has to be bold on matters of national importance, for instance issues concerning tobacco prices but he should do so diplomatically.
I hear the buyers have now conspired to buy the best quality tobacco for not more than $1.10, contrary to what the president demanded.
On the other hand, I feel these so called tobacco buyers astound me because this shows that they are playing double face. They offer as high as $3:50 for the very same tobacco when it is smuggled across the boarder, which is strange, isn’t it?
The other thing is that it is absurd for them to sulk after the President talked tough as if they are our benefactors when, in fact they are the most beneficiaries in this tobacco trade. I really hate their beguilement.
While we are still on this dishonest proclivity, what is this that I hear is giving the president enough clout to play hardball with the buyers? Is it true that he has set his sight to markets in Zimbabwe and Japan and he is not worried even if the buyers decide never to visit our floors again? Why can’t it just come out in the open? Zimbabwe and Malawi, I wonder what the two countries intend to become.
The opening of Constitutional Conference where the president irritatingly claimed he was not angry when he made the outburst that Section 65, which is threatening his ‘co-opted’ DPP MPs, be scrapped off from the statutes because it contradicts with sections 32 is a display another outrageous behaviour.
One tends to wonder if the Attorney General, who used to be sharp in private practice, has lost his high legal acumen or he is bent at embarrassing the President who made a brilliant speech save for the imposition he made on the conference, which stole the glamour, he had accorded it.
I have another biggest problem than the ones earlier expressed. This is concerning letters coming from the presidency.
There is a man from the OPC press office whose write-ups when he was working for newspapers were good. Now it is a different story altogether.
Surely, he needs to demand his terms of reference and job description. I don’t think the taxpayers money can be wasted on someone whose job is to refute allegations using a kind of language that can tear us a part as a nation. There are many ways to make the bosses appreciate that you are working hard even without injuring others in order to please them; but to embarrass them.
When I sat in the conference hall during the constitutional review last week, one person whose presence and contribution to the process I missed highly was that of the State Vice President.
The Vice President could not come because another letter writer, this time not from OPC, but from the state residences warned him against attending public meetings because his security is not guaranteed.
As I declared in one of our past discussion, I really do not want to take sides on the standoff that exists between Mutharika and Chilumpha, which I believe is being fuelled by such kind of letters.
I don’t know what happened to our manners. I wonder if there is no means of communication between the state residences and Chilumpha other than the so called press releases or media releases.
By the way, did you read a feature by Mzati Nkolokosa in The Nation newspaper analysing how inconsistent Chilumpha’s actions have been lately? Please look out for that issue that came out a day before the State House release that warned Chilumpha.
If you succeed in finding that feature story, then look for the State House press release, which also came out in the papers. Believe you me, you will not doubt that either Nkolokosa is de facto press release writer for the State House or someone is plagiarising at the state residences.
Aren’t these reasons enough to declare that the presidency is embarrassing the nation?

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