Friday, March 15, 2013


It scares me to note that we might have a lot of violence in this country as we head towards the 2014 Tripartite Elections. 

I am not speaking from a blank perspective. Events surrounding members of the former ruling party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) continue to worry me.

Since the party was pushed to the opposition bloc things haven’t been the same on the peace front.
One time the party’s supporters roughed up Peoples Party members when President Joyce Banda was attending a function in Thyolo. And only this week we have witnessed some ugly scenes both in Blantyre and Lilongwe following the arrests of some of the party’s top gurus including interim leader, Peter Mutharika.

Peter is not the first politician to be arrested so the violence cannot be justified in any way
Several stakeholders that include Public Affairs Committe (PAC), Judge Ivy Kamanga, the media and government have all voiced concern over this conduct as it defeats the trust that people must have in their Judiciary.
By committing the case to the court of law, government displayed total regard for the independence of the Judiciary.  It is therefore wrong for DPP supporters to resort to violence within the court premises when the case was going through normal procedures.   

It has been argued time and again by our friends from the blue side of the political divide that those that made their party intolerant have moved out to other political establishments. However, the realities on the ground display a contrasting situation.

Is it a big deal for a party leader or any politician to be arrested? Cassim Chilumpha, Brown Mpinganjira, Atupele Muluzi, John Tembo, Gwanda Chakuamba, Kamlepo Kalua and Bakili Muluzi have been under police custody before. So Peter is no exception; if he crosses paths with the law then he must be answerable through the legal processes.
THE ARRESTED PETER MUTHARIKA LEAVING BT FOR LL: The reformed Police should give other politicians a lesson on how best to run the country
I remember some five years; former President Bakili Muluzi was arrested in connection to corruption allegations. The first day Muluzi voluntarily went to Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) offices opposite Old Blantyre Magistrate Court, the place was filled with his sympathizers who braved hours of waiting to see him going in and coming out.

When the court case commenced at the High Court, hundreds of his supporters were always loitering on the court grounds opposite the Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds. 

Everytime the court session finished they used to escort him all the way to his BCA home, a distance of some 5 kilometers. And with the excitement accompanying the escort, Muluzi’s car travelled at a snail’s pace such that the journey would take 3 to four hours.

RECENT VIOLENCE: DPP needs some serious re-branding as they always resort to violence when under duress
In all this, never (and I mean never) did Muluzi’s supporters cause violence or engage in running battles with the law enforcers. This is not crediting UDF for a no-violence attitude but I think they handled Muluzi cases very well.

Why then do our DPP friends always run a highly charged political game like this, causing damage to property at will? Now look at how the tide has shifted; five of their supporters have been arrested and they have to answer their own share of charges. For them, there will be no media spotlight, no public sympathy and no crowds at court. This is where life gets tight for party followers. 

In the midst of all this are we wrong to conclude that DPP has not changed in their conduct? Are we still dealing with a party that is reminiscent of panga-wielding youths on January 19, 2011 in a bid to scare us away when we said enough is enough against Bingu wa Mutharika’s arrogance?

JULY 19, 2011: Do Malawians need another version of this conduct?
Are we still dealing with a party that was connected to the merciless butchering of Polytechnic Engineering student, Robert Chasowa, in 2011?
Why then should Malawians have the audacity to vote back this party into power next year? Are we going to be safe under them anymore? They terrorized us while in government and they continue to do so while in opposition.

The political trend does not give DPP an outright chance to unseat the PP government in 2014 and I turn to wonder how they will take defeat? Instead of using the courts they might resort to violence which has become their main characteristic over the years.
VICTIM OF DPP REGIME: The country cannot afford to lose bright young men as Robert Chasowa due to political thuggery
My plea to DPP leaders and supporters is to accept that this political game must be played without traits of terrorism. There is no slot for violence in 21st Century politics. We cannot avoid the 2014 elections but whatever happens, Malawi must continue to exist as a peace loving country.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Some days before Callista married Bingu wa Mutharika, I met her mother at their family home behind Mitundu Secondary School. One aspect that characterized our discussion was how people in her family were happy that their own daughter was going to be mother of the nation.

One thing that her mother said was that Bingu’s had spotted Callista because she is humble and polite. Looking at the mother’s etiquette I was so convinced that Callista’s upbringing must have been constructive and focused.     

The day came and Callista exchanged matrimonial vows with the former Head of State. And she indeed became the “mother of the nation”.

However, a few months into her “state motherhood” she surprised us all when she adopted her husband’s battles as her own and her first victim was Joyce Banda who at that time was Vice President.

She was described as polite by her own family but where did she lose all that?
Shocking is the fact that she took the lone battle to every other function she attended including that at Zingwangwa Secondary School where she was “Guest of Honor” at a Blantyre girl’s forum. At this function Callista spent some five minutes attacking Joyce Banda. I never understood why she bombarded these sweet teens with filthy and frustrated rhetoric in an irrelevant manner like that. In any aspect she is supposed to be a model not these girls not an angel of hatred and confusion.   

This woman is a politician and her weakness is that she has allowed her political character overshadow other aspects of her humanity. That is why all she sees is politics in the recent arrests. She deliberately ignores objectivity in some of these issues.

We appreciate that Peter Mutharika promised Callista during Bingu’s funeral that “You will never walk alone”. We will not stop Callista and Peter from doing what they deem fit for their promises to each other but if she picks a bone with the Head of State then she draws the daggers further against the majority of the citizenry.

Her interview on Zodiak Broadcasting Station while at Southern Region Police Headquarters was characterized by a lot of emotion and her voice was shaky and with full of anger; all this with very little sense in the content she wanted to communicate.

Despite being hit by Callista's insults, President Joyce Banda has maintained her stateswomanship even in the former's hardest moments (PIC BY MARAVI POST)
Callista, as any other citizen, is free to say what she wants but she must be responsible enough with her tongue because Malawians will not allow their President to be insulted.

Why is it hard for the former First Lady to understand that this country is not a village operation? We are a civilization that is oiled by laws and anyone who dares scratch the law card must be ready to answer before independent courts.

She must be knowledgeable enough to appreciate the roles that the Commission of Inquiry, the Police and the Judiciary are playing in as far as this issue is concerned.

We even wonder why one day Callista is trying to defend Peter while she is also at loggerheads with Bingu’s children as she salivates for the fortune of the departed leader. Is Peter more important than Bingu’s children? Are they not all one family?

Now listen to Callista when she accuses President Joyce Banda of failing to forgive those that have been arrested? 

You too Peter will never walk alone; Callista reciprocating his brother-in-law's gesture(PIC BY NYASATIMES)
Which law; religious or civil, does Callista think bars justice to be undertaken?

Who said forgiveness means overlooking the mistakes and cutting legal corners just to favour a few citizens who nearly caused chaos in a peace loving country a year ago? Does she know that God is also happy with justice when it is executed rightfully by those commissioned to do so in our societies?

We know Callista is trying not to walk alone as per Peter’s promise at the funeral. Yes she will miss Peter (the promise maker) but all she has to do is to wait for the law to take its course. Peter is innocent until proven guilty so there is no need to stress.

Just make sure you don’t call our President “stupid”. That we cannot swallow.

Monday, March 11, 2013


The report produced by the Commission that undertook an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the demise of late President Bingu wa Mutharika and the subsequent rise to power of President Joyce Banda has surely brought in a range of selective perceptions from the public.

While many are sticking to the legal aspects and the arrests already making rounds in town, I choose to put my efforts and focus on something else and today’s entry will focus on culture in regards to Bingu’s death.

In our Malawian culture, a corpse is referred to as “mfumu” (king) regardless of who the deceased was in society.

For instance if you are playing football and you see a group of women weeping while carrying tree branches, you are obliged to stop even if the ball is on the goal line ready to be calculated into a goal. Even an imbecile gets such treatment upon death. You cannot just underrate the decorum with which a corpse is handled.

As I was going through the document, I anticipated seeing a page where family and government officials clashed over the hullabaloo that surrounded Bingu’s body.

I expected family to stand strong and deny all this nonsense of letting the body start rotting just because they had to look into succession issues first. 

Everywhere I look, my eyes meet greed as the main reason why even Bingu’s family indulged in such a cultural malpractice. The older members of the family Peter (his ONLY brother) and Callista (his WEDDED wife) overrode humanity and failed to use their ubunthu in making sure that the body of their departed family member was treated well.

At this point, according to the testimony of Mrs. Stella Warren, the body of the President began to bleed from nose and mouth. The South African medical personnel got worried since they did not want their linen to be stained in blood.Accordingly,Mrs. Stella Warren got some gauze and packed it in both nostrils. This did not work. More gauze was used to cover the nostrils, and a diaper was used to cover the mouth and then she tied it with linen. As they were working on the body turning it upside down, the bleeding started again and Mrs. Stella Warren made sure that she cleaned and dressed the body accordingly in readiness for evacuation to South Africa”- THE REPORT

It was Peter’s greed that made him force medical personnel at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) to proceed with resuscitation procedure hours after Bingu was already pronounced dead. We learn that Peter’s logic was based on that he had read some literature somewhere where it said that people can come back to life four hours after having a cardiac arrest (Share me the literature Sir)  

Call me anti Peter (of course I am) but honestly I understand why he is not fit to lead a country which has a deep regard for culture. The dude failed to manage his own family affairs and how can we entrust him with the affairs of a country?

“The team further noted that several ribs were broken especially on the left hand side of the body. The sternum was also fractured”- THE REPORT

No wonder he was not there to celebrate his brother’s victory for the Presidency in 2004 and also failed to come in 2007 when Bingu lost his first wife, Ethel.

Similarly, I expected the kids to stop this kind of nonsense as their father’s body was being tossed around.
With the knowledge that a Roman Catholic Priest had already given an offertory prayer to commit Bingu’s spirit into God’s hands, why didn’t the family seek guidance from the men of God on what they had to do?

Bingu's children; Madalitso, Noma, Duwa and Tapiwa needed strong guidance from the male authority of the family and Peter was that person. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be; Peter’s greed made him mistreat the body of his only brother. He allowed the body of his only brother to evade proper embalmment in good time as if in rotting, the body was going to resurrect.

If one family member dies, that person does not get any replacement no matter what. This makes me wonder why Bingu’s own family fell for this foolish trick of concealing his death.  He was gone and even if Peter had stolen the Presidency, life would not have been the same. There is no justification whatsoever for them to do that.

“Prof Liomba told the Commission that when you embalm a body which is already decomposing, what you do is to stop further decomposition. He further explained that the face of the late President was very dark not because of the embalming but due to part of the blood that circulates since the body stayed for a long time on an open place before being embalmed.As a matter of fact, the body stayed in the open without refrigeration for about 18 hours after death”-THE REPORT

I did not love Bingu that much due to his arrogance but I respected him as a Head of State. For one to overlook the need to respect his dead body for personal aggrandisement it makes me sick and dizzy.

And Callista, what kind of woman is she? I cannot think of any other Malawian woman so brave and hard-heartened to allow the concealment of her husband’s death just to nurse the ambitions of others. Did she really mean it when she made that vow in April, 2009 at Civo Stadium when she said she would love Bingu always?”  

This was an opportunity for Callista to show us that she was a loving wife; she would have faced Peter head on and advise him accordingly. Are we wrong to say that she married Bingu for his wealth? Are we being unfair to say she is a gold (or PLATINUM) digger?

Why is it that the first woman who had to treat Bingu’s death with dignity was President, Dr Joyce Banda not his own wife?

I now appreciate why the woman who Callista attacks as a “mandasi woman” is Malawian in many aspects including culture.

In all this I see one thing, a greedy brother, an opportunistic wife and children who were left misguided in that hard moment.

May Bingu wa Mutharika’s soul rest in eternal peace.

Monday, March 4, 2013


This blog post would have come over the weekend but there was need to commemorate Marty’s Day first with all the respect the day deserves. However, my urge was aroused on Saturday (March 2) when I saw pictures of DPP politician, Peter Mutharika, comfortably seated in the front passenger seat of a minibus and another one where he is shown standing in front of a fish stack.

For electoral purposes, this post will address the politician as Mutharika Peter Authur (just as his name will appear on the ballot paper next year)

I hear that after buying some bonya at Lilongwe Market, he proceeded to board a public commuter bus to some township west of the city.

The occasion reminded me of Zambia President Michael Chilufya Sata who some weeks after election victory travelled a 500 km distance from Lusaka to Livingstone on a minibus. Though the trip was characterized with hype, it did not surprise those who know Sata from long ago.

The two scenarios by Sata and Mutharika Peter lead us to a proper contrast that clearly separates elitism from populism politics.

Politicians who are populists connect with people not as a stunt but as a way of life. Nothing is rehearsed and nothing is forced.

It is a known fact that Malawians know Mutharika Peter as someone who is detached from the life of the masses. Someone who during his brother’s reign was untouchable even by his fellow cabinet ministers. I remember seeing several cabinet ministers bowing to him during the opening of Parliament Building sometime in 2010.

Mutharika Peter is not a populist so the best he can do is stick to his side of the game. Anything to the contrary is self-damage to his already weakening political campaign.

By trying to shift his elitist ideals into the populist sphere, Mutharika Peter has failed to recount the political trend as presented in the past three if not four years.

The moment the crowds make noise about your stunt, then it shows that it is not part of your normal life.Why should people be surprised when you buy things at the city's main flea market?

MUTHARIKA PETER AUTHUR: Does his gesture reflect his real intentions?
I am reminded of several times when I saw the current President, Joyce Banda, at Blantyre Market shopping for close to an hour. If she decides to do the same now, we will not treat her as acting outside her lifestyle. That is what she has been doing for the past 40 years.

Political publicity stunts are not intended to manipulate people but relate with them. Whoever told Mutharika Peter to buy bonya and board a commuter bus misled him big time. Mutharika Peter had to use something he is known for to relate to the plebeians.

No wonder he ended up sitting alone in front on a seat that accommodates two. If mixing with people was the basic intention of such a gesture, then he would have allowed another passenger in front.

So, for example, when Sata boarded a bus to Livingstone he was not doing something that people did not know him for. He was just reminding them that boarding a bus is something he has done so many times in his life. If anything, it just reminded of his stay in London many years ago where he worked as a taxi driver as he tried to make ends meet.

For Mutharika Peter, his gesture lacks smart calculation because he is doing something contradictory to his inner self. It is not his lifestyle and it comes only a year after his own god-shadow unleashed pure arrogance on the same citizenry when DPP was in power.

They were the same people who saw Peter getting Presidential treatment at a time he was just a mere cabinet minister. Those were the days when he used the Presidential motorcade and chopper when visiting various regions in the country to drum up support for his presidential bid.

In that minibus, people saw a law expert who failed to prove his competencies to Malawians in all the ministerial portfolios he held under his departed brother.

Now Mutharika Peter should understand that being a populist does not start when one is already grown up.

Picture this; Former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva was a shoe shine boy and grew up relating to the masses. Late Frederick Chiluba’s time as a bus conductor is what made him man of the people and it surprised no one when he continued speaking common language when he became Zambia President.

Zambia President Michael Sata is a populist not by design but tradition
Former Madagascar’s President, Mark Ravalomanana peddled ice cream in his youth and he never lost his ice-cream charm when he ventured into politics and criss-crossed the Malagasy Island on his personal helicopters during election campaign.

Similarly, Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales relates to indigenous farmers not because he wants their votes but just because he is one of them. He has spoken their language, cultivated coca plant with them and led their trade unions for years before he went to congress.

Even our own Joyce Banda mingled with mandasi business women from long time ago. No wonder others think it’s a big deal when she finds comfort with common men and women.

In short, when Mutharika Peter Authur squeezed himself into the front passenger seat of that minibus, he towed a strange lane and only exposed his desperation. When he bought bonya at Lilongwe Market, he never convinced anyone that he was going to eat the delicacy at home.

Someone said may be he was buying the bonya to feed his Rottweilers. I wouldn’t be surprised.