Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cash or African Solidarity: Joyce Banda's Dilemma

It boiled down to a moral validity question and, being a morally-upright pretender,  Malawi's President, Joyce Banda, fell for it.
She did  not need a retreat, having made her mind way before she ascended to Malawi's top most position of Chief Executive Officer  and preside over the destinies of 14 million people. No, it (the situation) was not like a tempestuous sea.
What is clear, though, is that it all depended on her. Banda was the harbour against which the tempest seas would hit. As such, she was expected to make a decision that would shelve her people from the effects of the mad sea of international relations and politics.
And, when she did, it was not like a decision thrust upon her by circumstances. She had made it herself, when she was the country's Vice-President.
Banda was equivocal, during former president Bingu wa Mutharika's regime, against the country's decision to host the African Union summit  slated for July.
When fate raised her up, she begun to change colours- mere colours.
Her heart remained unchanged.
Put to her that the summit was rooming, and that Malawi needed to make her position clear, Banda shifted responsibility to cabinet. She promised that members of the cabinet, who are her puppets by default, would sit down, decide the next course of action, and make it public.
But, before that, she was all over the international media, telling the world media Malawi would, not only host the summit but, arrest Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir if he dared bring his well-polished shoes to Malawi, and trample on the sacred, red soils of the land of the lake.
Incensed, the African Union simply called off the meeting in Malawi, and shifted it to Ethiopia. Of course, Ethiopia has always been the headquarters of the African Union, and its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity.
Now, Zimbabwe has joined the fray of countries condemning Malawi. The country's state-run newspaper accused Malawi of trampling upon the principles of African solidarity for United States Dollars and Euros.
But Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu says Malawi is not moved, and that the country is, in fact, pondering on whether to attend the summit in Ethiopia.
That suggests that Malawi is entertaining the idea of absconding from the summit.
Of all the African countries, it is aonly South Africa, Zambia and Botswana that seem to support Malawi's stand on Al Bashir.
The rest, being so full a basket of rotten apples, are bewildered and dismayed. They know they have skeletons in their cupboards.
But that is beside the point. The point is that it has become saddening to note that Malawi, under the leadership of Banda, is becoming a ship without a fixed port of destiny.
Cash, Harare has suggested, seems to be the motivating factor.
What Zimbabwe has done is to indirectly call Malawi's president 'greedy', as opposed to being 'principled'.
So, all of a sudden, a country that saved Zimbabwe from the jaws of hunger (and whose bill Zimbabwe is yet to honour) has become so focused on money it is no longer a guarantee that it would save   other African states in dire need of help.

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