Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Former president Bakili Muluzi talks to Zachimalawi on retirement

.......I have no regrets- Muluzi

Former Malawi President, Bakili Muluzi, retired from active politics in London, United Kingdom, 30 days ago-and not Thursday, December 24, 2009 when he finally came out of his shell to announce the decision to an army of surprised journalists at his BCA Hill residence in Blantyre’s commercial hub of Limbe- at least that is what he told Zachimalawi in an exclusive two-hour interview yesterday (Monday).
Muluzi surprised www.zachimalawi.blogspot.com when he confided that he was one of the Blog’s private followers, a secret he now revealed, “now that I am out of politics”.
“Honestly speaking, I have been going through Zachimalawi at least once in two weeks: you need to think seriously about including pictures on that Blog; I personally feel that it’s a good initiative because you it (the Blog) is not filled with personal vendetta”, said Muluzi, who acknowledged that he granted a “a Blogger like you an exclusive interview because I know Zachimalawi, and also because I want to set a new precedent- I want Malawians to know that Blogs are serious business. In other countries like Iran, Bloggers get arrested for doing nothing but air out their views on their own platform”.
Back to the issue at hand. Zachimalawi asked the former flamboyant President whether he had any regrets over his political life, and whether, given the opportunity, he would turn back the hand of time and correct some mistakes he might have made, and Muluzi’s answer was handy:
“I have no regrets. There is nothing I would really love to have done the other way round. People gave me a job, massive job, in 1994 and I did the best I could under the circumstances to serve them well. Where I erred, as happens in this life, I think that is human. Otherwise, I thank Malawians for believing in me; for trusting my leadership. Together we are who we are- proud Malawians.”
Asked about his decision to have another go at the Presidential slot, in 2009, even when the tide was legally against him, Muluzi said what people must know is that politicians like him always have advisers who read the situation and offer counsel to him. So, he said, he may not entirely be to blame, though he feels a mistake was made, but one that will not bother him anymore- now that he was out of politics.
His sentiment is not surprising, though. Former United Democratic Front (UDF)
Executive Member, Harry Thomson, who resigned from active politics after the disastrous May 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, already squared the blame.
“I am one of the guys who pleaded with Dr. Muluzi to have another go at the presidency, despite him already serving two constitutional terms. We thought he would win,” said Thomson, before throwing in the towel.
He, too, then retired to his BCA house (his house is nowhere near a hill to be called BCA Hill house) where, as fate would have it, his vicious leashed dog dug into the leg-fresh of some jogging, unfortunate woman.
Some Malawi Television (TVM) presenter tried to blow the issue out of proportion by speaking, rather equivocally, against dog owners who unleashed their dogs during the wee hours of morning. To her, that was a deterrent to morning joggers and fitness zealots- some sure sign of power-drunkenness.
Some TVM presenters!
Well, it seems the TVM guys were at it just this Thursday (December 24, 2009). They featured the story about Muluzi’s resignation from active politics in the headline and people gathered around TV screens (yours Truly included) to watch a humbled Muluzi, one who has discovered the exactitude of where he belongs- in the cold annals of history, history so cold you begin to feel people no longer think you alive.
Worse still, you begin to forget yourself: what you were, where you have come from, and the prospects for tomorrow. It is as if someone has pulled the breaks of your life for you, you are no longer in control. Nay.
Surprise is, when the TVM guys featured the story on Muluzi, they only did it in the passing it was so casual.
Villagers who came to my house just to see for themselves the last (?) picture of Muluzi were utterly disappointed: why can’t they show him, for once, they wondered. There are times, it seems, when the viewer is more sensible than the TV producer and presenter- at least in Malawi.
Muluzi also talked about the future of the once mighty UDF. He said he no longer wanted to associate himself with the party, at least on the financial aspect of it. He, however, vowed to continue voting for UDF candidates in national elections.
“Not doing so would be the greatest cheating in my life,” he said.
The one thing he was sure he would always do, he said, was never to vote for incumbent president, Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, for any public office.
As it were, Muluzi is still bitter that Mutharika cheated him (Muluzi) out of his own game as the political engineer!
“But, otherwise, life has to go on. This is now time to spend time with my family. I am a family man, and what politics did to me was, sought of, put my huge family role in a small box and presented to me a big, open box that was the nation to look after. But my family experience also helped me a lot- I saw government as an extended family system we, Malawians, are proud of,” said Muluzi.
Zachimalawi discussed many more things with the former president, most of which are kept for a Malawi Political History Book to be published in 2012. Muluzi happens to be one of the great Malawians whose stories are lined up in the book, one, Zachimalawi hopes, that will help us keep part of the liquid records soaking down our memories now.
But one thing Muluzi drummed repeatedly into Zachimalawi was that “I will never come back (into politics). I have had my time. I have achieved a lot as a politician, yes, and perhaps got some things wrong sometimes. That made for a good political life.”
Muluzi then slumped into his a huge maroon sofa chair; no yellow (as inn UDF) was in sight. An era is gone.

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