‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water’
An organization calling itself the Malawi Engagement Group, MAENGA, has posted online and shared with The Express, this edited opinion on the current wrangle rocking the governing Democratic Progressive Party, DPP.
MAENGA is warning against ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’
What are the thoughts of others on this issue?
HISTORY is about to repeat itself in Malawi. And former President, Bakili Muluzi, must be smiling to himself over what is happening in the Democratic Progressive Party, DPP.
Muluzi thought, mistakenly, that he was the only person who could lead Malawi after his term expired in 2004.
The people however, rejected his attempts to tamper with the Constitution, which is the supreme legal document of the land.
The masses, through the news media, had warned and advised him against going against their wishes and standing again for office.
The people’s objections were carried through to parliament which rejected Muluzi’s attempts extend his stay in office to a third term.
In the course of his ambition, Muluzi denied opportunity to his Vice President, Justin Malewezi as well as Aleke Banda who was Vice President of the United Democratic Front, UDF, to rightfully take over the leadership.
Muluzi instead, opted for a rank outsider, Bingu Wa Mutharika to take over from him. And Mutharika repaid him for the favour by promptly throwing Muluzi in police cells.
Twelve years later, Muluzi is still swallowing the bitter pill of court appearances over alleged corruption while in office – even after Bingu was long gone to meet his maker.
Malawi looks set to experience a near-similar scenario in 2019. Advisors of President Peter Mutharika are doing everything possible to dismantle the solid relationship that he had established with his deputy, Saulos Klaus Chilima.
The old guards are doing everything possible to convince him to believe that he is still capable of leading the country, even where he himself, his children and sister in law think otherwise.
The division between the DPP, the Mutharika family and many Malawians has created cracks that are designed to disadvantage Chilima: to be hated, to be labeled a “dissident” and eventually to be pushed out of the DPP, even though even though Chilima never provoked the debate nor commented on the issues that are flying around him.
Mutharika’s age-mates are foolishly backing him and declaring him unopposed in the forthcoming convention.
This is clearly designed to create animosity between the president and his deputy. The old men want Mutharika to isolate Chilima and to choose an outsider to back him in 2019.
That outsider could be Atupele Muluzi or someone who comes from the Lhomwe belt but has the background of the UDF or National Democratic Alliance, NDA as a consolation.
The scene is that being set for a similar stage, scene, music and dance that Bakili Muluzi is going through for 12 years now.
The appeal from the Malawi Engagement Group, MAENGA to you, President Arthur Peter Mutharika, APM, is heed the timely advice and not the advice of your greedy, corrupt and elderly comrades.
We wish to respectfully remind you, Mr President, that the world is now turning to youthful and energetic leaders who are capable of dealing swiftly with political, economic and social challenges.
For example: Botswana, Ethiopia, Somalia, France, Austria, Hungary and many other countries now opting for young blood.
Malawi with our huge and heavy burdens needs quick thinkers to reshape the nation and bring it in line with others.
Age is not necessarily a burden. But with respect Sir, the people want leaders who will rise up and deal swiftly with national challenges.
You need to stop the old guards of the likes of Goodall Gondwe, George Chaponda and others from wasting national resources by going about making obnoxious press statements on television.
They should be reminded of how ordinary citizens defeated others in previous regimes that used the very same broadcasting station they are using.
From 1991 to 1994 pressure groups like MAENGA went around with a ‘Lantern’ telling people to defy life presidency and vote out the one-party state then under the Malawi Congress Party, MCP.
It was the old guard, the likes of John Tembo, Robson Watayachanga Chirwa, Mai Manjamkhosi and others in her women’s league who were doing exactly what the DPP old guards are doing now.
They used the very same MBC and went around telling people that the Life President, Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda under one party state was the only way forward and that no-one would vote for multiparty democracy because democracy would bring about war.
What the old guard of that time did not realise, was that no amount of money or pressure can offset or withstand change, when time for change has come.
Mr President, we humbly request you to heed our advice. Your “muteness” and “inactiveness” and tendency to ignore problems, in the hope that they will go away by themselves, is a matter of extreme concern to the majority of the people of this country.
They want you to purge the thieves that surround you and boast with executive arrogance on television. We know, Sir, that you are not happy to be surrounded by thieves who give the impression on television that they are untouchables.
But you have isolated yourself from the people because you have chosen to align yourself with thieves, ruffians, crooks and state looters.
In this dictum, MAENGA is offering the following advice to the two groups. The president and his team must not be cheated by ego, money, or fear of being arrested over Cashgate and therefore think of seeking a second term.
To Chaponda, Gondwe and others: stop deceiving the President, stop fighting the inevitable. Time is demanding change and time for fresh ideas is now.
It does not matter even if the party is still DPP but all of you who are older must voluntarily pack up and go. This is the truth that can only set you free.
In vernacular there is a saying, that ‘kutafuna mkwabwino zikanakoma’. In English, they say ‘celebrities know when to leave the stage.’
The English also have another saying: “Do not throw out the baby with the bath water’. There is no going back. Malawi needs change of leadership. The people need a better future.