A sick gwape (Duiker) lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture ground.
Its companions came in great numbers to inquire after its health.
And each one helped itself to a share of the food which had been placed for the sick gwape’s use; so that it died, not from its sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.
Indeed, evil companions bring more hurt than profit.
During President Peter Mutharika’s news conference at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Thursday, presidential press secretary Gerald Viola only confirmed that he is a counterfoil of the President’s and anybody’s somewhat rationality.
Responding to accusations that he and his administration blew millions of taxpayers’ money on travel to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in form of allowances, Mutharika, minus some circumventions and derailments, at least came clear on the matter.
He produced a document he claimed contains names and financiers of 106 Malawi delegates to the UNGA.
Whether Mutharika’s document is authentic or bogus is a subject of another day.
But the explanation served to cast the President into a leader that is mindful of treating his true bosses – the general populace that put him in an elective office – with genuine reverence, adoration and appreciation.
It is not surprising then that under his leadership, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime so far has demonstrated some political will to transform the country.
The regime, for example, has not preoccupied itself with retributive politics that became fashionably so rampant that it became a norm in the country’s politics.
His clear desire for rapprochement with our-father-who-art-in-the West is another positive trait of Mutharika.
The President has continued to avoid any confrontational politics with the hallow-be-thy-names of ‘off-track’ fame even in the continued withdrawal of their financial ‘assistance’.
But having taught and walked the corridors of an institution of higher education, Mutharika would do his presidential press secretary a huge favour by schooling him on how to treat the general populace and the media inclusive.
The President surely would manage to remind Viola that it is the general populace that the county’s leadership needs to be accountable to for the exercise of all ‘public power’ and whose ‘trust and confidence’ it must enjoy at all times, and convince it that it is not using their public positions for personal gain and avoid any conflict of interests between their private and official undertakings.
Viola needs to be rewired so that he recalls that it is not the ‘media house’ he was referring to that led to the July 20 2011 massive demonstrations against Mutharika’s brother, Bingu, regime.
Recall that with a 2009 landslide re-election victory, Bingu thought he had infallible wisdom and, in a horrifying replay of the Odysseus-Sirens or Bwampini-Amphalasa adventure, he stuffed his ears with wax so that he could not hear what he thought was the average-minded voice of the governed.
Accordingly, despite widespread opposition from the majority Malawians who viewed the introduction of the new flag as unnecessary waste of taxpayers’ money and nothing more than window dressing, Mutharika went ahead with the move.
That marked the beginning of his astounding about-turn of popularity.
As trust is like virginity that once lost, it is never recovered, Bingu and DPP had no choice but to engage in calamitous tactics to cling to power; including publicly censuring the media by picking on specific media houses as Viola shamelessly re-enacted the scene.
So, Mutharika’s sickness like the gwape is that he seems not to realise quickly that some of his disciples bereft of any governance skills like Viola would heavily work on him and his performance in office.