If anyone ever doubted that President Peter Mutharika is an indecisive Head of State who must first be squeezed and dragged by the ankles to respond to matters of national importance, then the by-elections results must convince many.
Soon after the 2014 elections, President Mutharika—buoyed with the youthful, seemingly charismatic Saulos Chilima who hit the ground running as Vice-President—started very well. He and his administration seemed set for a different approach to running the government. For a short while, women civil servants were banned from presidential functions, he stopped albeit temporarily, party cadres from abusing government vehicles and stopping principal secretaries from attending presidential functions willy-nilly.
As he worked quietly at State House while his deputy Chilima implemented the public sector reforms with energy, we all thought or perceived that here was a president Malawians had always wanted.
But as British Prime Minister Tony Blair put it in his autobiography, A Journey, in politics you cannot fool people for too long about your character; people will always discover the real man in you. After barely six months at State House, APM’s perfect façade started falling for all Malawians to see the real man in him: A clueless, indecisive President with a colonial approach to issues.
While his Vice-President has a traceable leadership record and can work around the clock to inspire Malawians, APM has displayed a not-so-presidential tendency to bury his head in the sand hoping that the problems will fade away. Put it simply, APM would fail the airport test because he is nowhere to be seen. Since his brother the late president Bingu wa Mutharika rewarded him with ministerial posts where he performed miserably, the disconnect between him and Malawians has only grown larger.
As a result, he has been fed lies by greedy politicians who survive politically on gossip. Because of his inability to know what is happening on the ground, APM has become an easy target. The decision to sideline Chilima from taking part in the elections was one of these lies not to mention lies that Malawians are happy with the DPP leadership.
As a result, APM himself has created a corrupt country. What do you expect when the whole President goes on podium to defend that his ministers that they are not corrupt yet deep down in their hearts these ministers wonder why they are not yet behind bars.
From the fertiliser subsidy mess of 2014 and 2015; from Tractorgate to Maizegate and of the unexplained wealth amassed by the President’s aides, APM is shockingly quiet.
Which political leader in his right senses would send the fallen politician George Chaponda to campaign for candidates in Nsanje and Ndirande Makata? This is the man who was stoned by angry Malawians in Blantyre demanding justice.
So why front such a man in your campaign? If APM thought Malawians are as docile as he clearly is, then this election result is a wake-up call.
Recently, the media has been awash with revelations of systematic abuse of resources that can only be rivaled by the Joyce Banda era Cashgate yet APM is quiet. A fierce fight ignited by his DPP cadets erupted in Rumphi, he has said nothing.
It had to take chiefs to drag him to comment on bloodsuckers otherwise he would have been quiet until today. Which President goes to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), disappears then returns to chaos only to disappear again without offering solutions? Instead he trusted a failed minister and a spin doctor to speak to Malawians, an irresponsible action taking the citizens for fools.
So the loss in these by-elections is APM’s fault. There is nothing new Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has done and in this day and age, Sidik Mia cannot be the best thing to happen to Malawians, but this is what happens when government blunders big time.
If you are DPP and you want to demand a report on the loss, go straight to your president. His cluelessness and indecisiveness has cost you these elections. Actually, it is possible that APM can stay quiet after this loss. It seems he doesn’t care. He just can’t make decisions. Keep him for 2019 at your own risk.