Monday, November 12, 2012

The Joker That Is Atupele Muluzi

Atupele Muluzi, until 6 o'clock this morning the Minister of Economic Planning and Development, has finally announced what sensible Malawians wanted him to do yesterday: Resigning from the People's Party on grounds that the party's senior politburo attacked him at a political rally held in the Lake shore district of Mangochi.
The decision, coming barely a week after Atupele maintained that he would not quit Mrs. Banda's cabinet despite being appointed party chairperson for the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), shows how unsettled the young man is. This is so because that appointment, normal Malawians deduced, meant that Atupele had become the UDF's default presidential candidate in the 2014 Presidential elections.
But Atupele, being the political novice- and, probably, Daddy's boy- he is, saw no sense in calls for him to resign and concentrate on building his wishful (Head of State and Government) presidential ambitions.
 In his less-than-convincing argument, Atupele said he wanted to be part of the solution to Malawi's economic problems, and that he could only do so from within. He said he was so committed to contributing towards the attainment of an economically-viable Malawi that he could not abandon ship.
Normal Malawians, to say the truth, doubted that explanation. They knew Atupele was just playing greedy politics. They knew Atupele was beginning to take the government as a cash cow- one he would use, and abuse, to fund his presidential hopes.
The boy, to say the truth, is a political novice- too immature to make bold decisions; too childish to read and tame the muscles of the mythical political snake.
So many examples of his novice attitude in politics abound. For example, Atupele was elected party chairperson at UDF's staged convention held at Comesa Hall in Blantyre despite the UDF constitution clearly stipulating that he was not eligible by virtue of his age (he is under-aged).
But, using money and deceit of the highest order, Atupele forced his way into the party's chairmanship position. Of course, some people  suspected the machinations of former president, Bakili Muluzi, in all this.
They said, from the time Bakili realised that his third term ambitions would not materialise and imposed Bingu wa Mutharika, then a rank outsider, on the UDF, it was clear Bakili would try to play politics-of-behind, or, put in his own words, 'carrier politics' (in which the governed want to pull the brakes from the backwaters of politics).
That, exactly, is what Bakili has done. Of course, as a rank outsider, Mutharika dumped the UDF on 5 February 2005, a day that will forever remain unforgettable to the UDF. That day, the UDF moved from a ruling to opposition party- just like what happened to Mutharika's DPP on April 5, 2012.
Muluzi has been behind UDF politics ever since he announced his retirement from active politics. That is why he hand-picked Friday Jumbe to be the UDF president, a position, apparently, that does not exist in the UDF constitution and, therefore, the party.
Now Jumbe is out of the UDF, and has announced plans to form the New Labour Party (his earlier plans to establish the Labour Party having been thwarted because another name answering to the same party was registered at the Registrar of Political Parties office in 1997.
And, to add more salt to Jumbe's self-inflicted injury, it has transpired that he cannot use the name New Labour Party also- the reason being that- like the Labour Party- the New Labour Party is a registered name already!
Kennedy Makwangwala, the UDF Secretary General who tried his best to lick Bakili's political wounds by helping to organise the staged convention that took place in late October this year- at which Makwangwala was shown the red card as Kandi Padambo, former Electricty Supply Corporation of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, took over the position of General Secretary.
Like Jumbe, Makwangwala has been left in the cold.  
But this is not strange. Jumbe and Makwangwala invited this mess on themselves by playing in the hands of Atcheya, as Bakili is fondly called by UDF supporters.
Fast-forward to 12 November 2012. Atupele, Bakili's front boy, has announced his resignation from the Cabinet of Mrs. Joyce Banda- where he was serving as Minister of Economic Planning and Development.
It changes nothing, really.
If anything, there is nothing Atupele brought to the Malawi way of doing things. Like other ministers, he spent much of his time touring institutions under his ministry in the name of familiarisation.
Atupele is part of the mess created by Mrs. Joyce Banda, who, from the way she governs, has shown to be a mere 'follower' other than leader.
And Atupele was appointed minister by this follower! 
Meaning that Atupele is another follower.
The politics of like-follower-like-follower, may be!
Is Malawi ready for another follower? Especially a 'follower' of his father?
At least Mrs. Joyce Banda is a follower of the nation-less International Monetary Fund and World Bank- institutions that preach and want more poverty for impoverished nations such as Malawi through their disruptive policies. They told Mrs. Joyce Banda to devalue the Kwacha, which she did by a whopping 49 percent. To date, the funds the IMF promised are no where to be seen.
Even the hope on Mrs. Joyce Banda's face has started disappearing. She is, more and more, taking the shape of a woman in distress. A woman whose comfort zones have been cut out for her. 
But, unlike Mrs. Joyce Banda, Atupele follows his father. And wants his father to run for a third term through him.
Malawi is, surely, not akin to family property. This is a country of 14 million people.
But this does not mean Mrs. Joyce Banda has done any better. She has shown, by delaying to fire Atupele- and, instead, concentrating on bashing the immature Atupele from the political podium- to be a 'follower' many people have, all along, feared she was.
Mrs. Joyce Banda is not a bold leader. She does not make the bold decisions. She showed it by failing to fire the lying Finance Minister Ken Lipenga. Lipenga cheated the nation, through the Honourable House of Parliament, that the government of Bingu wa Mutharika did not borrow money from commercial banks in order to hoodwink the nation into believing that the Malawi Revenue Authority did not doctor tax collection figures.
When the scandal broke out, Mrs. Joyce Banda backed Lipenga from the beginning, and appointed a committee that  would investigate the issue and come out with findings about the role of Lipenga in peddling those lies.
The chairperson of this dubious committee was the political mis-fit, Vice-President Khumbo Kachali himself- a morally bankrupt Kachali who grabbed beds from an impoverished hospital at Mponela in Dowa, and transferred them to his Mzimba South West constituency during the By-elections.
As expected, Lipenga was found to be a clean- and pious and righteous-  man!
And he has kept his position ever since, despite reports that former Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe was being groomed for the position. Now, Gondwe may as well get Atupele's vacant position!
All these cases just show that, in Joyce Banda, Malawi is in trouble. Here is a leader who doesn't know what she is doing. A leader who came into power by accident, and is ruling by try-and-error.
Trying and erring with the Malawi nation.
She tried and erred with Ken Lipenga.
She tried and erred with Atupele.
Everyday, she tries and errs with the lives of Malawians. Commodity prices go up every month, on the back of increasing fuel prices every month.
She spends much of her time complaining about negative media publicity instead of ruling.
The media, to say the truth, are just doing their job.
It just shows how ill-advised she is.
In conclusion, Atupele has goofed because he is a novice in politics and, by clinging to his ministerial position despite being elected UDF chairperson and, therefore, UDF's torch-bearer in 2014, he has shown to be undecided and greedy.
Enriching his pocket in the name of solving Malawi's problems!
Mrs. Joyce Banda, too, has come out a loser. By her indecision, she has played into the hands of Atupele, who will now go to town claiming he was being victimised and has, therefore, resigned because Mrs. Joyce Banda is intolerant!
The bad thing is that Mrs. Joyce Banda does not learn.
Just like Bakili and, it seems, Atupele.
As the Public Affairs Committee communique rightly observed after the quasi-religious organisation's meeting in Blantyre, Malawi is short on leaders!

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