An eagle swooped down upon a serpent and seized it in its talons with the intention of carrying it off and devouring it.
But the serpent was too quick for it and had its coils round the eagle in a moment; and then there ensued a life-and-death struggle between the two.
A man, who was a witness of the encounter, came to the assistance of the eagle, and succeeded in freeing it from the serpent and enabling it to escape.
In revenge, the serpent spat some of its poison into the man’s drinking-horn.
Heated with his exertions, the man was about to slake his thirst with a draught from the horn when the eagle knocked it out of his hand, and spilled its contents upon the ground.
One good turn deserves another.
That is the wisdom President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ought to carry into the forthcoming New Year.
For sure, public popularity for Mutharika and DPP has slightly plummeted in the year 2015 as established by recent studies. And in terms of the economic index, the country is continuously rated very low.
And when a government faces prolonged wide unpopularity both in the media and public opinion, it risks having its legitimacy undermined even if it happens to have been constitutionally elected.
But theorists such as the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, observed that “time and the world are ever in flight”.
Governance theories, therefore, like everything else in the universe join this general flux.
Writing in more recent times, the Ghanaian president John Dramani Mahama, whom Mutharika met at the recent Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting reasoned that in this Twitter era what is most striking is that “the hopes and aspirations of an entire nation are no longer invested in one individual”.
He further reasoned that when seeking freedom, Africans, this time around, speak for themselves through the media and online social networks, in public spaces and civic forums.
Thus, in this dot.com generation, it is the elected representatives who are listening to what the governed want.
It is true, as the saying goes, that leaders who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
But despite several cases of leaders who tumbled because they closed their eyes to changes in philosophies of governance, sadly, Mutharika and DPP are freely treading the same path.
The President and the ruling party have gone to extraordinary lengths to engage in watery empirical arguments about serious matters such as hunger when already majority Malawians are struggling to find something to fill their bellies with.
The President vastly appears to fall short of authentic commitment to deliver Malawi from the recurring socioeconomic evil.
But this era’s demand for democracy and accountability borders on perception of freedom that encompasses having access to social amenities and the rule of law, and having a say in the way one’s country is governed; the way one’s country’s natural resources are used and the way one’s country’s future is shaped.
Hence, it is nowadays difficult for leaders who fashion their headship on old models and frameworks of governance to last a mile or avoid political protests.
Old models and frameworks of leadership need to change in 2016.
And in this Twitter era Malawi where the youth below 24 make 54 percent of the population, Mutharika will find leadership undemanding and receive a round of applause not by sculpting his governance on riskier old theories – by creating a deity out of himself or defending his average governance on podiums – but by hearkening to Dramani Mahama’s voice of reason: lead while listening attentively to the governed needs. Happy New Year! n