Acheemwa Joyce Banda, Executive on Christmas?
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, it is now clear that most of our leaders, both ruling and in opposition, are not seriously interested in the people’s welfare.
They all seem to be focused on the 2014 polls.
The deeds and speeches of most of them smack of electoral language: promises, promises and promises. In most cases, it is the stuff we have already heard several times before; non-doable programmes and projects. In some cases, it is the same tired rhetoric that precedes any electoral exercise.
For Acheemwa JB, it is even worse. It would seem everything she does is part of a grand plan for her to remain in State House. After all, this is the first time for her to seek that office through the ballot. She went into that office, as she also openly admits, by sheer fate and accident.
And having tasted the trappings of power in that office: being addressed as Her Excellency by all and sundry; driving convoys and flying helicopters all over; living in stately quarters; having travel (local or external) fully paid for all the time; having the power to appoint and fire whomsoever she wants; making history as the first woman president of the Republic and the only few such species on the continent; featuring on State radio and TV when she so wishes—almost having the feel of Mercy James Madonna, surely Acheemwa would not like to leave Plot Number One after only two years.
Which, esteemed Raw Stuffers, may explain some of the interesting (not necessarily creative) antics she has played on our minds and on the political stage—getting out to distribute relief food in person; offering scholarships at will; commiserating with the downtrodden, the bereaved and less fortunate members of society; going to Ntayamoyo in the Lower Shire; reversing, on the spot, some of the unpopular decisions the late Professor Moya made, just to show that she cares and all at our expense—just to make sure she is still suitable for retention as Malawi leader.
Of course, to be honest, it can be argued that she has not seriously sat down to run government and impress some serious minds, especially the country’s middle-sector, businesspeople and cynics such as the John Kapitos of this world. The argument, obviously by her esteemed advisers, is that this is a small constituency as compared to the povo out there in the villages, who have a real say in terms of votes.
Suffice to say she capped it all the other day by going to some South Korean university, if we can call it by that name, which shamelessly awarded her an honorary doctorate degree in economics—for the great work she has done in this country!!
Yet, you and I know the Malawi economy is in auto-drive, with any Capital Hill or party headquarters cook coming up with plans to impress her as well, either to sustain their personal positions or work out on some political or economic experiment. It would seem she has really not stamped her foot down to make a serious mark of her authority and give the economy direction. In other countries, that is the real electoral issue
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, we will repeat this till 2014: JB has not seriously curbed corruption—so rampant in our days that the late Kamuzu Banda, the founding president of this Great Republic, would choke of hearing about the same.
She has not sat down to ensure order, growth or stability in the key sectors of the economy: agriculture, health, education and trade and industry, which are near suffocation by Malawi or Sadc standards.
And when we in the media and civil society tell her this for free, her argument is that we have been bought or sent by some political aspirant who is eyeing the same Plot Number One or folks who want to derail her development agenda. Same old language we have heard from post-one-party Malawi presidents.
They don’t value honest, constructive criticism; but, rather, handclapping by party hawks and loyalists who end up jostling for fresh positions once the incumbent is off the slope, gone!
Esteemed Raw Stuffers, if it were elsewhere, where governance, accountability and true representation are entrenched, nobody, from the President down to the Cabinet ‘dogs and MPs as well as top senior public servants could have been having a full cup of tea (kumwa madzi).
They could, as Obama did the other day, have been in the Capitol even on Christmas to ensure that the economy works and picks on some serious trend.