Muluzi could never be a presidential advisor
Just the other day, I was attending a wedding in Blantyre. Out of nowhere, the master of ceremony announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, to welcome Atcheya, DJ can you play Akamwile." The master of ceremony was ordering the Disc Jockey to play the Yao masterpiece hit that is enjoying popular acclaim on the dancing floor these days.
I thought the master of ceremony was pulling a fast one on us. But, in no time we saw the security detail entering the wedding reception hall. Before we knew it, former president Bakili Muluzi, otherwise popularly known as Atcheya, was in the house to the din of "Atcheya... Atcheya...Atcheya..." chanting. He did not waste time as he went straight to the dancing floor. Not that he did much dancing the way he used to do the kwasakwasa in days gone by, before his back problems.
But he was on the floor long enough, exchanging pleasantries with the newly-wed, who were obviously chaffed by the distinguished guest. The photographers went into overdrive, wanting to secure one more vintage shot of Atcheya as he joked: "make sure you put this one on Face book."
The man has not lost his sense of humour. You just knew that although old age will soon be catching up with him, he has not lost his touch. He will always be man of the people.
I must confess that I am a great fan of the charisma of former president, Bakili Muluzi. Atcheya really knows how to work the crowd. That much you cannot fault him. Whether or not he, as it is alleged, pocketed billions during his rule, or as others say misrule, only the courts can say.
Now, Muluzi may be a lot of things but I am sure he is not a presidential advisor. But the talk around town is that he is supposed to be an advisor of some sort to Her Excellency President Joyce Banda. I hope there is no truth in that story, otherwise the very thought of him sitting in Joyce Banda's corner is to me very scary.
You are right, it is not my call to make. It is Joyce Banda's prerogative to choose her advisors. She is actually spoilt for choice. She is at liberty to choose anyone as her advisor, literally anyone, even a former president if only to stress that he is her mentor.
You will recall that at the height of Muluzi's political machination, we were told that it was dangerous for a bicycle passenger sitting on the carrier to be attempting to ring the bell when someone else is in control of the bike. It could cause accidents.
As an ardent rider myself, I agreed entirely that the one cycling the bicycle should be the one ringing the bell. The circus is the only place you can ring the bell when someone else is in control and get away with it.
To those who have since forgotten the analogy above, it simply means that you can't have someone calling the shots from behind when someone else is the rightful leader – or something to that effect anyway.
But try this: should someone on a different bicycle be allowed to ring the bell of another bicycle coming from the opposite direction? That would be a recipe for disaster. It seems that this is what Joyce Banda and Bakili Muluzi may be attempting to do.
Muluzi has been there. He has done it. He did some things well and some things badly. But, he is gone. He is history. His works went with him. His faults went with him too.
Surely, Madam Banda does not want Muluzi's faults to show up in her administration's scorecard. Why would she want to be judged by the excesses and machination that characterised Muluzi's rule?
Let's just say, there was some really nauseating stuff during Atcheya's rule which is better left where it belongs -- in the past. I am glad that our constitution provides that after a maximum of 10 years we get to part with our presidents whether they still have unfinished business or not. It is common knowledge that Atcheya does not subscribe to that.
I would plead with Madam President that this is her time. She should leave Muluzi alone to nurse his health and clear his name in the courts. Otherwise for me he is not the right person to rope in her team of advisors. He will pull strings and just spoil her party. Young Muluzi could do with some apprenticeship but don't touch old Muluzi even with a ten-foot pole.
If Madam will make any mistakes, let her make her own mistakes instead of copying someone's mistakes and failed experiments. Malawians will forgive her more readily for her own mistakes, because she is only human, but I doubt it if they will forgive her for copying any bad habits of any of our former presidents. If Joyce Banda knows what is good for her she will remember this.
My one Kwacha worth of advice would be to keep as far away from Muluzi as possible because, in my view, he would never make a good presidential advisor.
Banda should just be original. Don't copy Kamuzu Banda or even accept to be called a Ngwazi or any of these funny titles our chiefs will craft for her. Don't copy Muluzi and definitely do not copy Mutharika because if she does, she will have a 20 point petition on her desk in no time. And those are known to cause heart trouble.
But hey, it is her call to make. As they say, we are all born original but we die carbon copies. So, it is possible Joyce Banda doesn't even want to be original. It is possible that all she fancies is being Muluzi's carbon copy. Well, that's up to her.
During the transition, when I heard Muluzi talking on the radio about the need for Malawians to respect constitutionalism, I said to myself, what does Muluzi know about constitutionalism? During his time he wanted an open term, third term and when that didn't work he dealt democracy a blow and handpicked a presidential candidate.
The other day, he was busy trying to assess the Joyce Banda 100 days in office on the television. I just knew that he was up to no good and I think Malawians should keep their eyes open. He is reaching out to Joyce Banda and it seems the president is warming up to him. What kind of chaos does he want to plunge the country into this time around, instead of just enjoying his retirement?
Muluzi already overstayed his welcome on the political stage. When the curtain call came, he left very reluctantly. If we are not careful, he could bounce back on the political stage once more that is if he is not back already. What do you think?