Being one of the ministers that are not Members of Parliament, Water Development Minister, Brown Mpinganjira, serves at the full pleasure of President Joyce Banda.
The former UDF and NDA strongman is at the beck and call of the President anytime. After all, she has given him a precious lifeline by plucking him from the unforgiving Malawian political purgatory after the people of Mulanje Central Constituency rejected him in 2009 general elections as their MP and opted for a DPP political novice, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who was then a mere producer working for national broadcaster, MBC.
A combination of politics and power is the currency that can only be addictive to those that deal in it that even a short-lived career in preaching the gospel of the Lord could not match the allure of a new shot at it for Mpinganjira who this time threw in his lot with the President’s PP after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika to get a front row seat at the table.
But as fate would have it, things took a turn for the worse for the politician that almost succeeded Bakili Muluzi as president of Malawi when PP followers dealt him another body blow, rejecting him outright and instead preferred Lower Shire politician Sidik Mia for the vice-presidency of the party. Disgruntled as he was, he threw a few pot shots at the convention process but no one pays attention to losers these days and Mpinganjira was aptly ignored.
Only a ministerial appointment, therefore, could save him and from nowhere and against conventional wisdom, the President gave him the much needed lifeline, overlooking serving MPs and bringing him into the Cabinet in the last reshuffle.
You would think that for a man who breathed and ate politics, the experience and knack of losing elections even at his home would be sobering for Mpinganjira and he would resist the temptation of throwing political weight around as he used to do in his past political life but hell no.
Mpinganjira is at it again, ordering Mulanje District Commissioner Jack Ngulube to notify him of any development activity happening in the very same constituency where people rejected him four years ago.
There can only be one reason for this strange and baseless order and it is to use such government occasions to gain political leverage and advance his political agenda in the constituency.
But the people of Mulanje Central do not deserve this from the very same man they rejected and he has no right to do it this way.
Yet, what Mpinganjira is doing has been the hallmark of Malawian politics where those that serve in government at the mercy of the President want to overstretch their hand and push around civil servants to achieve their selfish political motives. Understandably, civil servants are afraid for their jobs and oftentimes do the bidding of the government politicians as the Mulanje incident clearly shows. DC Ngulube is obviously in awe of Mpinganjira and his attempt to transit the same to his subordinates is desperate and clear for all to see.
But it is high time this humiliation of civil servants stopped. Mpinganjira is only a candidate in Mulanje Central and, just like any other contestants, he must play by the rules which can only be enforced by the same people he is trying to cower into submitting to his selfish whims to gain unfair advantage using government functions funded by the taxpayer at the expense of others.
He wants to make an impression on Mulanje Central constituents using government programmes merely because he is a minister.
This is all wrong and it amounts to rigging the election in the constituency. Mpinganjira has no right to exercise the power he is exercising because he does not have it in the first place. The people of Mulanje Central constituency made sure of that in 2009.