Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Understanding President Bingu wa Mutharika

Malawi's President, Bingu wa Mutharika, does not know Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika yet.
If anything, Bingu wa Mutharika is beginning to distrust Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika.
Here, 'if anything' means four things: evidence on the ground; the History of Bingu wa Mutharika, well known as Webster Thom;the policies of the Third Republic, and; the running of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Bingu wa Mutharika's brain-child.
Explaining the four factors is a book-worth task. Here, we will try to sample what they mean, individually.
And we start with that man, our man: Bingu wa Mutharika. This is not Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika- it is the real Bingu wa Mutharika, a Bingu wa Mutharika who used to have one-two many in Lilongwe's Area47, and leave everyone smiling and contented when time to go home chanced.
But it is also a Bingu wa Mutharika who was technically broke. In 2002, this 'real' Bingu wa Mutharika borrowed a laptop from Mr. Chiume of Blantyre, and has never given it back. This means the 2002 Bingu wa Mutharika could afford a laptop; rather, he could afford to win the trust and confidence of others, attributes Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika- that personality imposed on Bingu wa Mutharika, The Thom, lacks in great measure.
Today, let us look at Evidence on the ground very briefly.
1. Evidence on the ground
In 2004, when former Head of State and Chairperson of the United Democratic Front (UDF), Bakili Muluzi, made the 'mistake' (as Muluzi openly admitted in 2006) of imposing Bingu wa Mutharika on the UDF and Malawians, Bingu wa Mutharika knew he had a mammoth task at hand to win the support of Malawians.
This was a time people had clearly lost interest in the UDF that, to date,many exist who doubt that the party (UDF) really defeated the opposition Ngwilizano Coalition led by one, Gwandanguluwe Chimkazi Chakuamba.
That is why tyres went alight in Zingwangwa Township, in Bangwe Township, and many other Blantyre ramshackle settlements.But the UDF, and thus Bingu wa Mutharika, still won and went own to direct the affairs of Sanjika Palace in Blantyre and the New State House in Lilongwe- not forgetting the Mzuzu State Residence, that in Zomba (which Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika wants to turn into a hospital), and that at Chikoko Bay.
It is on record that Bakili Muluzi- the villager of 1994, when Malawians voted for multiparty democracy, and deceitful-taker of Malawi Congress Party 'funds' in those early MCP years of the 1970s- apologised for the misery (read, Bingu wa Mutharika) he imposed on Malawians.
But Malawians are still waiting for an apology message from Dr. Bakili Muluzi, the President- and not Bakili Muluzi. The answer is simple: Bakili Muluzi ruled Malawi from 1994 to 1999, and there was no Mutharika then, and thus the reason to apologise (Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika's other name being 'Apology'- according to Bakili Muluzi-the-villager of 1994).
But it is not Bakili Muluzi who ruled Malawi from 1999 to 2004: another personally, again, impossed made the rules during this period. And the name of the individual who ruled Malawi is Dr. Bakili Muluzi, and not Bakili Muluzi as people believe.
The differences between Bakili Muluzi and Dr. Bakili Muluzi are too obvious to overlook: Bakili Muluzi was humble, down-to-earth, loveable, full of humour, approachable, understandable, adviseable, and in cotrol of national affairs by his great touch with the masses, the anchor that develops Malawi.
Dr. Bakili Muluzi- like Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika- on the other hand, was stubborn, rude, and confused. He did not know what he wanted: whether to respect the Republican Constitution and head for Kapoloma Village or BCA Hills when 2009 called, or remain at Sanjika against the spirit of the Constitution, which spirit may visit you at the time of self-abandon and trigger memories of regret. Sometimes, memories of how things used to be, but this previlege is reserved for great statesmen like South African apartheid-buster, Nelson Mandela.
This, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, is the one Malawians want to apologige and not the 'innocent' Bakili Muluzi because the later did not cling to power in 1999, but only served one term from 1994 to 1999- only to leave power to the unelected Dr. Bakili Muluzi.
Malawians were dupped without knowing it. When he started shoe-horning 'Third Term' craze, the sign that another personality had taken over was there for the taking; even villagers, generally regarded as too ignorant to care, knew that something was wrong.
However, when Bingu wa Mutharika took over the reigns of power in May 2004, only to dump the unsuspecting UDF on February 5, 2005, Malawians- the majority of them- were elated.
And Bingu wa Mutharika rode on this new wave of happiness to run the country like an archtect who builds by demolition. By dumping the UDF, he chopped the brains behind what he termed as 'corrupt practices'- the reason he fleed boat during that Corruption Commemoration Day that, in the end, left the UDF empty-Sanjikad. Or, empty State-housed, if you want it!
Bingu wa Mutharika, then, went to work- starting with agriculture.
The fruits of the targeted farm inputs programme are there to see. Malawi is a food-surplus nation, as Mutharika has put it so many times.
Good riddance. But Zachimalawi can tell you that our food security programme has one weakness: it is production-oriented and not nutrition-oriented.
What does this mean: Malawi has become a food secure nation, but remains a nutrition-insecure nation. The focus should now be on raising the nutrition status of the people, a people who want to 'feel' something in the 'stomach' to know that they have eaten (pumped up the stomach), and not feel from the 'muscles' that all is well.
That is food-abandance problem Number One.
The economy is also ticking. Some two, three years ago, Malawi's economy performed so well it was second to only oil-rich Qatar. Yet Malawi has no oil; just great brains in Bingu...(which one? Bingu wa Mutharika or Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika?) Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika,of course- the personality imposed on Bingu wa Mutharika,The Thom. But the economy's perfomance was the ground work of Bingu wa Mutharika, that sympathy seeking leader Malawians came to love between 2004 and 2009.
Malawians so loved Bingu wa Mutharika that Civil Society Organisations organised a virgil at the New State House in Lilongwe when the opposition-led opposition played 'souls' with Malawians.
Undule Mwakasungula,Mabvuto Bamusi, Ben Kondowe, Kenwilliams Mhango, among others, were there for the national cause. That was a time Bingu wa Mutharika, the Thom's, other name was 'National'.
Now he has changed from 'National' to 'Personal'. The symbols of his personality are 'Ngwazi', 'Prof.', 'Chitsulo chanjanji', 'aBingu akayankhula', Mose wa Lero', among others.
Of course, Bingu wa Mutharika also insulted Malawians in 2004: he distributed targeted farm inputs in February when Malawians had already planted their crops.Not that he ordered government officials to deliver the 'goods' in January or February- there were delays to deliver the same, and resulted in farmers not using the fertiliser at all. That is the meaning of all this.
Another plus for Bingu wa Mutharika, the Thom, was that cases of armed robberies- famous during the UDF regime- generally deteriorated.
Here was a Bingu who never promised what he could not fulfill; a Bingu who lauded day-dreamers but loathed 'black-colourants'. When it was a mere hope, dream, or wish, Bingu wanted it in colour!
This is the psychological button Bingu employed to tell Malawians and all the world that "Malawi is not poor: it is the people themselves who are poor". It was new, as a philosophy in Malawi, but worked wonders on the people's psyche.
In a nutshell, Bingu wa Mutharika had impressive policies; policies Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika seeks to destroy.
They say education is the key, and Bingu wa Mutharika supported this. Now with Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika: this one has muzzled intellectual discourse and political freedom.
He has backed his Inspector General of Police, Peter Mukhitho, in questioning academicians over what they say and do in class, tendering Malawi's entry into the draw of world academic shame.
Whereas Bingu wa Mutharika preached peace and tolerance, Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika is a distributor of treason charges. It doesn't matter whether one is a Reverend, politician, businessman or Vice President. Treason is for sale everywhere, free of charge- as peddled by Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika.
There are many other things that he is getting wrong. Of course, it is in itself wrong to call these things wrong because Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika has no yardstick to be measured against. Him and Bingu wa Mutharika are too different human beings, and are, therefore, bound to do two different things.
It is the stark contraction that is the disease. The hurt in Malawi's academic and national policy heart.

1 comment:

VINCE KUMWENDA said...

We all want our Bingu wa Mutharika back not the Prof. Ngwazi Bingu wa Mutharika. Great thinking!!