Five things we can learn from ‘Hurricane Callista’

As the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is assessing the ‘damage’ and possibly recovering from last week’s ‘Hurricane Callista’, we on the streets have been busy drawing lessons from the game-changing socio-political remarks of the former First Lady.

Although, we on the street never liked Callista’s behaviour when she was at Plot Number One, we decided to bury the hatchet and reflect on her ‘Mlamu sangawine’ rhetoric.

One thing that was clear in her avowal is that Malawians are not idiots, and no one should think they can fool them all the time. For a long time, the DPP and its leaders (Bingu and APM) have taken Malawians for fools by consistently lying to them. Influential writers have analysed the lies contained in their party’s manifesto and I will not belabour to remind you the lies. But as Callista has warned, Malawians won’t be fooled for long.

“Malawians are not stupid…” she retorted in a Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) interview. “Some people think it is easy to take advantage of the low literacy rate in our rural areas, so they just wake up and say ‘I can be President.’ It’s not that easy.”

Secondly, she subtly mentions ‘poor governance’ in her interviews. We on the streets concur with her. As a result of poor governance, Malawi remains one of the poorest in the world. Under APM’s watch, blackouts are getting worse to five to 24 hours a day. The economy is tanking, factories are closing, some are laying off people. Most households are food insecure; they live on alms. Education standards have reached the worst levels; even State-funded universities are failing to get accredited. And corruption has worsened, according to Transparency International (TI).

It is clear that we Malawians should not trust the current DPP administration because it is corrupt, nepotistic, littered with thugs and a breeding ground for ‘beasts of prey.’ In the words of the former First Lady: “They [beats of prey] are everywhere, at State House, in the DPP, everywhere…”

Thirdly, Callista’s words of wisdom are that there are individuals in DPP government who should not hold public office because they are thieves. She urges Malawians not to waste time with thieves: “Out there, lots of people would like to progress. As a nation, we need to help those who seek progress. We must not waste our energies on thieves like these. People are tired of poverty.” We on the streets believe that Malawi has just wasted five years with DPP in power.

Most of us on the streets still shake in our boots when we recall the hair splitting looting that took place during the DPP government led by Bingu wa Mutharika. These folks looted K577 billion (later reduced to K236 billion) according to a forensic audit report. While progress at  a snail’s pace has been made in Cashgate cases, the K236 billion DPP case file is gathering dust and is as good as dead under APM. That’s how bad the  fight against corruption is on DPP’s watch.

Fourth, she warns against old men clinging to power. “This man was never like this—he was a good man,” she says. We all know that APM is old and with time, everyone changes. Some sleep a lot. My grandfather lost vision. Others have heart problems. But the lesson here is that some ‘beasts of prey’ can take advantage of an aging leader to poison his mind. On this one, I think Malawians should sleep with one eye open.

Fifth, education is important. Callista believes education is key when electing leaders. We, peace-loving Malawians should ask ourselves: Do we really want ‘mabulutu’ to define our future?

Callista is on point. Unfortunately, we are still living in very sexist times. When a woman opens her mouth to speak, we insult her. It is even sad that some learned folks are quoting the early 18th century English author William Congreve’s expression: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

Word on the street is that Callista is not scorned. Not at all. She wishes Malawi well. Perhaps it’s time we should be saying: ‘Hell has no fury like DPP scorned’. n

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