Even after the winds of death swept across Mudi in Blantyre, taking with them diplomat, author and politician Sam Mpasu– leaving Malawi's landscape dry and one soul less – the term forgiveness still does not exist in Malawi's president Bakili Muluzi's his vocabularly, especially when it comes to Mpasu [sorry for the long paragraph].
Mpasu, in case some do not know, fought for multi-party democracy in Malawi, after joining the underground movement that, later, after the Catholic bishops had paved the road with that famous Pastoral Letter– in which they condemned the excesses of power and appealed for sanity, spiritual or otherwise– took on the name United Democratic Front (UDF).
RESTING IN PEACE– Mpasu
Mpasu was one of the people who settled for Muluzi as party leader, even though Muluzi was an outsider of sorts in the UDF. Well, Muluzi rode his luck and the rest is history. History that stops at Muluzi's unsuccessful attempts to vie for limitless terms of office and, when it became clear to him that that was not going to happen, third term. Again, in vain.
At the heart of those who resisted Muluzi's undemocratic overtures is Mpasu, who– as Speaker of the National Assembly Muluzi was re-positioning to extend his extend his term beyond the constitutionally sanctioned two, five-year terms– connived with UDF insiders to frustrate Muluzi.
No wonder, Muluzi appointed Mpasu Minister of Trade and Industry at the height of calls for Muluzi to contest in the 2004 presidential election for the third-term. Mpasu openly defied Muluzi by refusing to take up the post.
Public broadcaster went on overdrive, accusing Mpasu of being full of himself. How dare he challenge the president? Around this question traditional leaders were castigating Mpasu,. along with political analysts with questionable credentials.
Mpasu, facing political winds from all directions on the campus, finally succumbed to pressure and accepted to 'pick up' the post of Minister of Trade and Industry. During Muluzi's time, it was called the Ministry of Trade and Industry; it is Malawi's third Republican president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who declared that the ministry should be called that of Industry and Trade, to reflect his renewed focus on industrialisation.
By appointing Mpasu Cabinet minister, Muluzi hoped to work behind the scenes to bring in someone [to the position of Speaker of Parliament] who would lick his boots. Someone who would be game to the idea of Muluzi running for a third term.
But, somehow, thanks to condemnation from Catholic bishops, political commentators and UDF insiders who were working behind the scenes to frustrate Muluzi, sanity prevailed. Muluzi was defeated and, in a bout of panic and shame in equal measure, he announced– rather reluctantly– that he would not stand again.
And, in a fit of shameless abandon, Muluzi abandoned the truth and started peddling lies. Whatelse could he do, when he was caught pants down trying to rape the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi?
Muluzi started lying, in broad day-light and sometimes at night, that it was UDF supporters who were drumming up support for a third term; continuing, rather shamelessly, that he had nothing to do with the third-term campaign.
Of course, this was a lie and Muluzi knew it.
Muluzi wanted a third-term. He wanted it badly. So that, at his behest, those who opposed it were tortured. A democrat-turned-animal on the loose.
Malawi's democracy was in silent crisis.
Examples, of people who were tortured, abound. Mark Mezalume, who once dined with the National Democratic Alliance of Brown Mpinganjira – a political chameleon who was once Malawi Congress Party [during the one party regime everyone was a member], once UDF, once People's Party, once National Democrat Alliance, now Democratic Progressive Party– was harked at Clock Tower in Blantyre during demonstrations against the third-term bid.
The hackers, sent, of course, by the so-called democratic UDF, hacked Mezalume, rendering one of his eyes dysfunctional. He had to undergo an operation.
Surprisingly, Mezalume later joined the UDF. Oh, forgiveness at best.
But the fact is that he will never have his eye back – in its original form–although he did suffer a change of heart.
Anyway, all these points serve to show that Muluzi loved the idea of the third term with his whole heart, and was ready to punish those who were against it. One of those who were against it is the man Mpasu; a man who stood for the truth no matter how painful. So long as he did not suffer the pain himself, of course.
And Muluzi has never forgiven Mpasu for that, even as Mpasu lies peacefully, but breathless anyway, under the red soils of Khuzi Village, Senior Chief Kwataine, in Ntcheu District.
That is why Muluzi– well-known by his fans as 'Oyenda m'maliro [funeral-monger]', a moniker he loves so much that he would pay anything to have that moniker preserved– did not attend Mpasu's funeral [and burial] in Ntcheu on Sunday, February 19, 2018.
Muluzi is still angry.
And Muluzi does not want to forgive Mpasu.
Muluzi loves his third-term.
You see, thinking that the past was gone, and that he would rekindle his third-term dreams, Muluzi attempted to register in the 2009 presidential elections and, when the Malawi Electoral Commission made it clear that that would be impossible, since he had served the maximum of two five-year terms as Malawi's president, Muluzi went to the courts.
The courts, as expected, rebuffed Muluzi, saying he had ran his course.
Shamefully, even without Mpasu playing the role of antagonist, Muluzi lost again.
He spends his days at BCA Hill drowning in the shame of his unsuccessful attempt to get a third-term he did not deserve.
He spends his days at BCA Hill hating on Mpasu, even as Mpasu rests peacefully, but breathless anyway, in the Ngoniland away from Lake Malawi.