Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Parliament's Rejection of Mr. Anderson George Kulugomba As Auditor General Means

The Malawi Parliament has pulled a fast one on President Joyce Banda by rejecting the appointment of Mr. Anderson George Kulugomba as the country's Auditor General for obvious reasons, one of which being that it is uncharacteristic of Members of Parliament to rebuff presidential appointments and, if ever this happens, it is only during those rare moments when acrimony rings high between the Executive arm of government and the Legislature.
In deed, the only time when Parliament became so vocal- to the point of becoming a nuisance- was during the first five-year term of the slain- according to the latest edition of Pride Magazine- Bingu wa Mutharika. But, even so, these cases were limited to his first term of office for obvious reasons.
President Mutharika- may his visionary soul rest in eternal peace- had, in that uncharacteristic term, pulled a fast one on the United Democratic Front (UDF), a political entity that catapulted him to the highest position in the land. The UDF had worked so hard, through its over-ambitious former chairperson and Head of State and Government Bakili Muluzi, to sell Mutharika- a relative unknown in Malawi's political circles then- to the masses.
Not that Mutharika was virtually unknown to the UDF. The former Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Secretary General, who at one time stood for the position of president on the United Party (a party Mutharika registered and owned) during the 1999 General Elections, only to emerge the worst loser as his name came last after vote counting, had driven all the way from Lusaka, Zambia, in 1993 to be part of the UDF Convention that elected Muluzi as presidential torch-bearer during the historic 1994 elections.
After Malawians had unanimously voted for multiparty democracy during the June Referendum of 1993, the spirits were high among Malawians, and this included both those who had their hands and feet here, as well as those in the diaspora. Bingu was one of the excited diaspora people.
So, he travelled to Malawi from Lusaka in those early days when the sky was not yet clear, if not too clear, for political manoeuvring. Apart from driving all the way from Lusaka, the slain- according to Pride Magazine, latest edition- Mutharika also helped concoct the UDF constitution- in much the same way as his brother, Peter, helped frame Malawi's post one-party constitution.
But all these efforts, it seems, were not enough to get the gangly Mutharika permanently registered in the minds and hearts of Malawians- in this case, the electorate.
So, Muluzi had problems selling Merchandise-Mutharika, people think. But Mutharika played his cards well, too, playing the dumb kid Muluzi thought he was.
Only for him (Mutharika) to dump the UDF on February 5, 2005 during the Anti-Corruption Day!
And that marked the genesis of bad blood between Mutharika and the UDF. 
And, so bad for Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president John Tembo joined the fray, giving Mutharika's minority government a tough time in Parliament.
If Malawians remember well, this is the era known for a bad-mouthing Parliament, time when Likoma Island Parliamentarian George Nga Ntafu could call legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (which Mutharika founded after dumping the UDF, for the first time in Malawi's history turning a party that did not contest in the 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections into a ruling party) "Agalu inu (You Dogs)".
Time when Tembo, somehow, became the play boy of the UDF and Muluzi politics, to the effect that he could rant in Parliament: "Section 65 first, (the National) budget second"! 
That is how the tendency of rejecting individuals appointed by the president started. It was one way of settling old political scores between Muluzi and Mutharika- and Tembo and Parliamentarians who toed a tough line against Mutharika's appointments mere pawns in the dirty political game.
Through such politics, Mary Nangwale did not live (during Muharika's regime) to see her dream of becoming the first female Inspector General of Police come to pass. There are many other people whose appointments were rejected by Parliament and this development, somehow, how the effect of putting MCP's Joseph Njobvuyalema- who was, then, the chairperson of the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament into the limelight, for bad or worse.
Today, some three years after Mutharika put such political acrimony to rest, when he thumped the opposition at their own game during the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (a development political commentators have said was Malawians' act of revenge to the 'nasty' opposition), the rejection-game has resurfaced.
What, if one may ask, has gone awfully wrong for a female president whose acceptance rates were so high on April 7, 2012- the day she was sworn in as the President, following the untimely death of the slain- according to the latest edition of Pride Magazine- Mutharika on April 5.
No one will ever know what Mutharika was thinking that day, April 5, before that stranger death came, and took him away from the New State House, from Malawi, and from fishing- his greatest hobby. But, definitely, it was not about the possibility of his next public appointee getting rejected by the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament. That stage was past and gone, carried away by the electoral tide of 2009, a tide that swept the opposition's strangleholds (the people) away.
Today, Mutharika would be shaking at his Ndata Mausoleum to learn that that game has resurfaced. 
But this is not strange.
Mrs. Joyce Banda, Malawi's accidental president, has started riling Malawians.
She no longer listens.
She goes about, distributing maize to people she says have been hard hit by hunger instead of contributing such resources to the World Food Programme (which is in need of US$26 million- this is a shortfall, according to a World Food Programme report released on November 5 this year). In addition, this task falls under District Commissioners.
The other thing is that Mrs. Banda is globe-trotting, as if she were a house less woman out to find just where, exactly, she was born, and where her parents have been. She also travels extensively locally, raking millions in allowances in the name of charity. But, if we may ask, when has charity become this expensive?
Mrs. Joyce Banda herself has said she will not back down: "I cannot spend my days locked at the News State House or Sanjika because I have to observe the challenges Malawians are facing by myself. I will, therefore, not relent".
Now, people are saying Malawi has a President- accidental president, at that- who doesn't listen. Yet, Malawians did not vote for a President called Joyce Ntila Banda during the 2009 Presidential Elections. She was just a runningmate, grabbed from the bush of presidential politics by Mutharika himself.
Now this woman has gathered the guts to insult Malawians. She travels to the countryside to distribute 600 bags of maize (50 Kg) worth less than K3 million, but uses K12 million to get those expensive rallies going.
The reason she says she can't stop this is that she knows that earns millions of obscene allowances for herself and her members of the Cabinet. She knows that's the cash they will use for campaign come 2014. In fact, they have already started campaigning.
Parliamentarians- though largely tactless and faulty in their thinking- might have observed all these political obscenities and decided to act.
 Anderson George Kulugomba, well-qualified for the job of Auditor General, has just played into their card.
He is an innocent victim, all because there is a woman leader somewhere who doesn't listen. A woman leader who has been behind the government's decision to offer Alex Nampota- former Anti-Corruption Bureau director who was unceremoniously booted from his position- K70 million compensation simply because she, Mrs. Joyce Banda, wants her own boot-leaker to take that position. Shame. Shame on you Madam!
You can avoid all this. You have a choice.
"Resign," as Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director, John Kapito, has said time without number.
As the immediate former chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Kapito knows what he is talking about.
He knows that you, Madam, have been violating the human rights of Malawians from morn till ev'n.
But this blatant abuse must stop. Because it is being perpetuated by a stranger to the position of president. A woman the electorate never voted for during the 2009 elections.
A president by chance.
Because you have, really, taken your chances.
To insult Malawians.
And ridicule the sanity of this great nation.
It is just unfortunate that Kulugomba has become the sacrificial lamb in a game whose culprit is a Madam President.
Oh, that Madam President has a name: Joyce Ntila Banda!
That name is not Anderson  George Kulugomba!

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