Yet, before April 2013, Lutepo, who stares at an eleven-year jail term sentence stacked in his face by the Zomba High Court, was a man whose face brought a new consciousness.
Indeed, he was someone whose shadow one would dive head-first to hug. Yes, here is a man whose human countenance was more shiny than perceptible realities.
Now, nobody knows whether it is former president, Joyce Banda, or the well-known business magnet, who attracted who-to-who.
What is known, though, is the fact that, when Lutepo announced his intention to control the kitty in the then ruling People's Party of Joyce Banda, Banda did not raise any qualms. In fact, Lutepo got his desired position quicker than he came.
And, soon, spotting that he would be donating vehicles to the People's Party through its president, Joyce Banda. And Lutepo and Banda could do this in broad daylight.
Ah! Perhaps Malawians were foolish!
Ah! Perhaps Malawians are foolish!
Nobody cared about the countenance of Lutepo and Banda as they exchanged the keys in public, the donated vehicles behind them, but visible- very visible- to the media and members of the general public.
And, ah!, always Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Radio and Television would cover the events live!
Now that Lutepo has received the sentence he deserves, I see how foolish the media and Malawians have been!
Look, Lutepo was a smiling gentleman wherever he went. No wonder, people scrambled to kiss his shadow. After all, he was a business magnet of sorts. A man who forsook formal employment for self-employment.
Banda, too, was a smiling woman whenever members of the diplomatic corps paid her a visit. Didn't she woo the British back, after former president Bingu wa Mutharika showed British Ambassador Fergus Cochrane-Dyet the exit?
The truth is that she did.
In fact, Malawi was a replica of Zimbabwe before Banda wooed the world with her cosmetic smile: No diesel, petrol and paraffin in service stations; no sugar in shops, including reputable ones such as Shoprite, People's Trading Centre, Chipiku-Plus; and no hope among the citizens!
Malawi was suffering from a public crisis.
Coincidentally, this was the time the Democratic Progressive Party, on whose ticket Banda run as running mate to Bingu wa Mutharika, and Mutharika himself, had booted Joyce Banda out of the party, and sidelines her as Vice President.
Then, just in the nick of time, Bingu fell down in his office- at the New State House in Lilongwe- the type of fall one never wakes up from, and Banda became the president.
As the say, the struggles that followed her ascendancy, and the efforts to thwart her rise behind the scene, are common folder now.
From the blues [I mean, after the blue party- the Democratic Progressive Party] had embraced the exit door with qualms, Banda wooed everything in her path.
And she seems to have wooed the erstwhile business magnet, Lutepo, too.
And when Lutepo started donating vehicles to Banda's People's Party in full view of the public, the media, and the nation, missed the cues.
What cues? One may ask!
The non-verbal cues.
On the faces of both figures.
The figure of Banda and the figure of Lutepo.
I mean the face of Banda and the face of Lutepo.
The two never smiled!
Maybe they knew what this was all about. Behind the scenes, of course.
Maybe Lutepo was being forced. Maybe Banda was forced Lutepo to donate the vehicles.
Only Banda knows. Wherever she is. Outside the country.