Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Dark Side of Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda, Malawi's newly sworn-in President, cut the figure of a God-fearing, revenge-shy woman that Saturday morning. She had good reasons to pretend to be a caring mother, in part because she was surprised by the sudden turn of events, and in part because it was only two days after President Bingu wa Mutharika's death on April 5.
Her April 7 acceptance  speech was graceful and, almost, sombre to a fault. She promised to unite all Malawians. She promised not to raise the torch of intolerance and revenge. She promised to work with all Malawians. She promised to lift the socio-economic gloom hovering over the nation.
Malawians were happy.
Happy with the cosmetic Joyce Banda.
The real Joyce Banda is a ruthless, grudge-trophying woman.
Examples abound. During a Press Briefing held in February at her Mudi Residence (the residence of the Vice-President; when she was serving as Malawi's duty-absconding Veep), a freelance journalist (but, in actual fact, it was the Editor of The Eye Witness  mentioned a name that was not his when he introduced himself as Michael Kalizang'oma. Banda stopped him short, and said, in vernacular: "Oh, ndiwe Michael Kalizang'oma? Siinu anthu oipa aja mumandinena aja? (You say you are Michael Kalizang'oma? Are you not one of the bad guys who talk ill of me?).
The reporter could not hold his anger; he retorted back: "Where have you seen that name writing ill of you?"
Banda, cornered, apologised. "Oh, sorry then. I think I have made a mistake. But there is someone who talks ill about me, and I don't like that".
So, that is the real Banda for you. Vindictive.
This vindictiveness came to the fore on Saturday, just seven days after being sworn-in as Malawi's First Citizen.
It also came at a bad time because it was ill-timed.
This real Banda (the vindictive woman) came to the fore during the arrival of former Head of State and Government, Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika's , body at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
Guess who endured this dark side of Banda? Madam Callista Mutharika herself, the former First Lady.
It was such a bad sight (for all Malawians who cared) seeing Banda- coming from the salute dice- hand-shake all the dignitaries that sat at the Very Important Persons section kind-heartedly.
In fact, she shook the right hand of all those who stood along her way to the Presidential seat for some four seconds on average. It was the mark of a true Malawian woman. Not just true Malawian woman, but cultured woman, at that.
But, when Banda came to the place where Madam Callista Mutharika stood, Madam Banda cold-heartedly touched the hand of the former First Lady (in fact, it was not touching; it was a touch-and-not-feel-and-withdraw kind of thing) as if she was touching something undesirable.
And the shame-of-Banda did not last even a second. It was within a fraction of a second, and people can verify this by watching the video tape again on MBC-TV.
It was the typical example of unMalawian behaviour showcased by Banda.
Meanwhile, as she gave Callista that hand (probably with two hearts; one saying 'don't greet her at all; and the other saying 'just get over this greeting thing, this woman reminds you of your undesirable past when the Democratic Progressive Party expelled you from the party'), Madam Banda was wearing the face of (not a woman touched; a woman in sorrow) a woman scorned. A woman with a mountain-like grudge in her heart.
Of all the people Banda greeted, she greeted the most immediate Mother of this Nation in the most shameful, and uncultured manner.
It was as if Banda owns the body of Mutharika. As if Madam Callista was the intruder.
But, if the truth be told, Banda has no right over the body of the Father of this Nation (now lying in state). It is Madam Callista Mutharika and the former president's children and relatives who have more rights, and can decide (just like the former president himself decided to be burried at his Ndata Farm in Thyolo District).
There, at Kamuzu International Airport on Saturday, Banda showed her true self; an insight on the sort of cold, vengeful treatment Malawians should expect.
Malawians have not been liberated. They have just been tossed from a Hyena-infested bush to one where lions rule both day and night. Hyenas are better; they eat wrotten food.
But the lions and lionesses will eat you alive!
On another note, congratulations are in order for South African Defence Force soldiers who brought the body of our Father back to Malawi on Saturday. It was such a touching ceremony.
It, really, symbolised the love the people of South Africa have over their fellow Africans.
In fact, the fall (on the steps of the South African Defence Force plane that carried the remains of Mutharika) by one of the senior members of that  South African delegation symbolises the sad reality in Malawi: A Father, giant of the nation, had fallen.
He goes ahead of us, to a place where people in happiness exist. Remembering the gloom of this dark earth no more. Remembering 'mocky' hand-shakes no more.
Where the people's faces are the light, that filter the bits of eternity.;


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