So, is it Satan or opposition?

President Bingu wa Mutharika is paid handsomely by Malawians to clinically diagnose problems that can confront this nation and then find solutions for them.

Except where Mutharika said there were some achievements for government in 2011 because there were none, he was spot on when he said in his Christmas address that Satan is responsible for the woes that beset this nation such as shortages of forex and fuel with its attendant problems of ever-rising costs of essential goods and services.

Elsewhere Satan has been exonerated from our problems but, as a practising Christian, I want to agree with the President with one slight addition, though.

By invoking Satan, the President could have meant that actually the devil attacked him and his government in 2011 which led to the costly mistakes responsible for our tribulations, constant wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Let me elucidate this. The President famously called donors stupid and that can only come from Satan because God forbids us from using foul language openly and in the presence of children.

The donors reacted by withdrawing their money, leading to problems such as shortages of drugs in our hospitals. People died.

God’s commandment number five forbids us from killing others but on July 20 agents of this DPP government, the police, killed 20 unarmed people. This could only have come from Satan.

God does not want us to be arrogant but the year 2011 will go down as one when Mutharika talked toughest and ignored all manner of advice. When Bishop Joseph Zuza preached humility for example and called those who are not humble foolish, the President called the man of God names. That could only have come from Satan and no one else. I can go on and on with examples, but the point is that the President was correct that Satan rained brimstone on this nation but what he forgot to say is that he and his government acted as agents.

Today’s Diary could have ended here but, unfortunately, the President, a few days later, added to Satan the opposition MCP and UDF as also being responsible for fuel shortages. Their sin according to the President? They did not build storage facilities to keep fuel during their rule.

MCP has reminded Mutharika that actually its administration did build fuel storage in Chipoka and Chilumba, among other places which are getting rusty today because they are empty. But let me remind the President that the problem of fuel is not storage but forex. At the risk of saying the obvious, we simply have no foreign cash to buy the fuel.

And the President knows better than to be told that without money to buy the fuel in the first place, the storage facilities he thinks are a panacea, a wonder solution to the problem, will come to nought.

It is common knowledge that tobacco is the country’s mainstay of forex in this country. The President, to his credit, has single-handedly destroyed the industry by continuously using cowboy tactics to threaten and intimidate buyers to buy the leaf at dictated prices. He even deported Charles Graham, then boss of Limbe Leaf who is now regional boss of the company and his jurisdiction includes Malawi.

But buyers showed him that they cannot be intimidated and punished our farmers with low prices, leading to massive forex flight.

He cannot blame Kamuzu because, to be fair, the old man bequeathed to this country a thriving and well-regulated tobacco industry in which farmers were handsomely rewarded for their sweat. I grew up in rural Kasungu where I saw farmers getting rich from tobacco sales.

Today, when I go home, my heart bleeds to see how those same farmers have been reduced to paupers because the crop is now fetching peanuts at auction floors. The humiliation is leading some of them to their early graves. The clever ones are selling the crop in Zambia where the same companies that buy the leaf here are offering better prices. I even have it on good authority that some of the companies even make forays into Malawi buying the crop straight from farmers at better prices than at the floors here.

As for UDF, Muluzi can be blamed for anything but during his 10-year rule, motorists never spent a night at a filling station. He even brought more players into the market. I cannot imagine how the fuel situation could have been were it not for fuel companies such as Petroda and Total which came on the scene during Muluzi’s rule. The two are today holding out in a nasty business environment serving Malawians with the precious liquid.

In case the President does not know it, by constantly blaming others on problems affecting us every time he opens his mouth, he is giving Malawians the impression that he has lost it. That he has no clue on how to end these problems. Today, he thinks it is Satan; tomorrow, he changes his mind and thinks it is the opposition. Which is which, Bwana President? What do you want us to believe?

You are knocking on a wrong door and confusing Malawians with lies. It does not inspire confidence that you have what it takes to end the fuel problem. That makes me, as a citizen, voter and taxpayer, fear for the future.

MCP and UDF had and still have their problems, but to be fair to them, their administrations fulfilled the minimum requirement of making sure that the country generated enough to buy fuel and other necessities. Yours has not. It cannot be their fault. It is your fault and, yes, your administration has failed. That is the naked truth and you cannot wool-coat it in anything else.

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