Friday, June 15, 2012

Shame, Not Common Sense, Behind Joyce Banda's AU Summit Snub

Hard reality has started firing from all the angles for Malawi's embattled President, Joyce Banda.
By announcing that she will not be part of next month's African Union (AU) Summit in Ethiopia is, in itself, a sign that Southern Africa's only female president is not ready to face the consequences of her actions.
The fact that she was full of life and buzzing a couple of weeks ago contrasts sharply with present realities. Of course, she tried to put up a brave face during the media-interface on Thursday, attributing all her miseries and quagmires to her dislike for anything unMalawian.In other words, she hid all her uncertainties under the shrub of her unconditional love for all things Malawian.
That is the price people pay for throwing all camaraderie to the dogs, and sneezing hard  at soft cash.
That is why, without prior notice, Banda has changed what Malawians stood for: Love for all human kind.
This love was manifested in the never-ending smiles, and the spirit of endurance in the people, and the communal spirit that has characterised the spirit of the Malawian since the time the charming Chewa of the Central region, the friendly Mang'anja of the Southern Region, the great Ngoni of the Central, Southern, and Norther Malawi, the courteous Tumbuka of the Northern region, the warm-hearted Ngonde, Nyachusya, Yao, and the eloquent Sena and Lomwe agreed to come together, become Malawians, and live in eternal peace thereafter.
Together, they make Malawi the Warm Heart of Africa.
Together, they have tried to make Malawi a God-fearing Nation.
But Banda has said 'No' to all this. Not only through her actions; she has made it clear through her own mouth.
That Thursday, on her trip from the United States of America and United Kingdom, Banda confirmed what others had long-suspected; that she had coined another definition of Malawi.
Malawi is no longer 'The Warm Heart of Africa', or 'God-fearing Nation': Malawi is a donor fearing nation!
In fitting Malawi's new cap as a donor-fearing nation, Banda said on Thursday, employing her unforced mouth: "We have not been a donor-fearing nation for three years. But what did we gain? What option do we have, as a nation, so that we cannot go back to the IMF (International Monetary Fund)? I will not be loving Malawians if I become militant against donors. ...We are a donor-depending nation because we depend on them" 
Therein lies Malawi's tragedy.
With this kind of (mis)thinking, it came as no surprise to hear Banda announce that she will not be part of the AU summit in Ethiopia!
That meeting was initially slated for Lilongwe, Malawi.
At first, the reports that Malawi would host Africa's greatest club of leaders came as rumours. Then, fallen president Bingu wa Mutharika confirmed.
It was real. Official. Just in the nick of time, it became Malawi's new reality.
But the worst part in that reality was yet to come.
A man, so honourable in the ways of his dressing, and the manners of his walking, and his stature when walking; a man indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity was to be part of the greatest feast of African leaders.
Without him, the dining, and wining, and laughter, and point-making would be incomplete.
That is how Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir came into the picture. No, it is not a picture any more- pictures being so static and unlively, and unquestioning. It is a dilemma.
Al Bashir came into the Malawi dilemma. Then, Al Bashir became Malawi's dilemma.
But it only turned into Malawi's dilemma when the Southern African Development Community Country lost its dear leader and president, the nationalist Bingu wa Mutharika.
Bingu knew the solution. He had invited Al Bashir to a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa meeting before his April 5, 2012 untimely death.
That was the solution: Inviting Al Bashir.
But the solution had its repercussions. Financial repercussions.
The international community, already wary of Mutharika governance style, squeezed the aid taps.
Malawi entered into a silent, but hurting, crisis. This must have contributed to Malawi's fuel shortage problems. And economic problems. And hope-deficiency problems.
But Mutharika was unfazed. He stood his ground. In his world of colour and so many possibilities, Africa came first.
And, then, he died.
The nation wept.
And buried him at his Rest of Peace resting place in Thyolo, Southern Malawi.
His farm became his resting place.
Ndata farm is his final abode.
There, he rests.
Unaware of the world around.
Unaware the the AU summit has been councelled.
Joyce Banda, hitherto Vice-President, came in. She came onto the scene. As Malawi's president.
She did not understand Mutharika's solution.
She decided to tell the world that the African Al Bashir was unwelcome in Malawi, and that he would be arrested.
The AU responded by shifting the summit to its Addis Ababa headquarters.
Malawi left in the cold.
Banda was surprised.
Now she will not attend.
Instead, she will delegate Vive-President Khumbo Kachali.
The die is cast.
She is now dancing to the confusing music of politics.
That is life, to her.
To the Malawian, a loss. Businessmen and women had invested heavily in the hospitality industry.
Others invested heavily in car rental businesses. They purchased new vehicles.
But the people should understand the haste in Joyce Banda;s decision.
It is the sense of shame that is pulling her back. It is not anger or common sense.
Joyce Banda has entered the pit of shame.

No comments: