Friday, December 2, 2016

Somehow, I agree with Joyce Banda

Joyce Banda: Eyes  2019 Malawi Presidential elections 
After over 2 years in a self imposed exile, former President Joyce Banda peeped out of her hiding place. In an interview with Voice of America’s (VOA) Straight Talk, the dethroned president promised, as she has been doing for these past 2 years, that she is all set to return to home, in a Jesus fashion. With no one being in the know of that time and day.

Nonetheless, she made clear the purpose of her return:

“If Malawians want me to stand again, I shall answer that call!”

She hinted at retiring from retirement to wrestle power from the incumbent, Peter Mutharika, during the closing minutes of the programme.

There are a couple of things that she made in her interview that I agree with.

Firstly, things in Malawi are not rosy. Malawi appears to be on an autopilot. It is Joyce Banda, however, who put the country on autopilot. Her slogan, as president, was: "Azungu akuti..." She did not hide that she put Malawi in the hands of Western 'diplomats' or donors as we call them. She even bashed Mutharika for disregarding advice by the Bretton Woods institutions that force governments to implement austerity measures to the desolation of many. Lucky for her, her successor is equally clueless.

On Cashgate, Joyce Banda only arrested suspects after enormous pressure and a clear uprising from the public. She was initially shielding the suspects. I understand her intentions were to pool in funds for her candidacy. If she would argue that she wasn’t aware that people were looting under her nose until after the shooting of Paul Mphwiyo, then she concedes to being the most incompetent leader Malawi could ever employ for the presidency. Certainly, not one worthy another opportunity.

Lastly, Joyce Banda’s interest on the presidency also shows that as much as we have a hopeless President, we also have a hopeless leader of opposition in Lazarus Chakwera. Here is a person who publicly opposes government’s over-expenditure while silently accepting a multi-million Kwacha 'porsche' purchased from government coffers in a time of suffering. Do I need to add that Chakwera continues to use MCP’s four pillars, which violently safeguarded Kamuzu’s tyrannical rule, to get even with his opponents? Be very scared of his presidency if providence gifts him that.

Of course the Malawi economy is haywire! But having ruled out Chakwera as the hope for Malawi in 2019 elections, is Joyce Banda a panacea as she presented herself in that interview? My answer will always be no! She is only setting herself as competent because we have Peter Mutharika. If we had any serious President, or nearly half serious, JB would have been ashamed to even imagine that she could be a President of this country, let alone hold any meaningful post.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Donald Trump’s Victory has laid bare Western Hypocrisy

Donald Trump pulled what has been described as one of the most stunning upsets in the US political history. Against all odds, from opinion polls and experts, the business tycoon who has never held any political position defeated his long time friend-cum-nemesis, Hillary Clinton with 306 of the Electoral College votes compared to Clinton’s 232.

The results did not only come to shock the world but have also, in their weirdness, revealed the hypocritical nature of the West, a civilization that has considered itself a master of democracy – dispensing it throughout the world, even at a point of a gun and an irreversible social upheaval.

Trump won on a strong xenophobic, anti-immigration stance, and outright sexism, racism and Islamophobia. Drawing from his campaign, Trump intends to ban Muslims from flying into the US ‘because they are terrorist and ISIS sympathizers’. He is also against women’s rights to choice over their lives. He preaches against homosexuality, a stance taken by other leaders in Africa such as Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

The US President-elect also plans to build a 2000-miles wall running from the West to the East Cost on the US-Mexico border because he considers ‘Mexicans who migrate to the US as rapists, drug dealers and criminals’. His position on Black people is unflattering as it is heartbreaking.

With all these promises, a ‘Love Trumps Hate’ slogan was adopted. UK politicians came close to banning him following a petition signed by 570,000 people. Despite not voting on the motion, UKparliamentarians denounced and described him as a 'buffoon, demagogue and wazzock'.

But after gaining more electoral votes to win the nomination, politicians from around the world are now biting their lips, rescinding their threats by congratulating the president-elect for his victory and a ‘hard fought campaign’.

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, who had previously criticized Trump by calling his views as nonsense, congratulated Mr. Trump and assured him that Britain and the US will continue in their "enduring and special relationship" under his presidency.

She said: "I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.".
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who had previously said that "the only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump", also tweeted his congratulations saying he was "much looking forward to working with Trumps administration”.

Likewise, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, offered the US president-elect a “close cooperation” in a phone call immediately following Trump's election victory.  Unlike May, Merkel clarified that her support is on the basis of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and the dignity of men, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation” which she said links the two countries.

President Francois Hollande of France promised to engage “without delay” the new American administration in the fight against terrorism and on economic relations. These are the main issues.

Several other politicians congratulated Trump for his victory, committing to a stronger partnership with the US during his term in office. While the trans-Atlantic Alliance militia bloc, NATO, announced this week that it is "looking forward" to working with the Trump administration.

The message these politicians are sending to Trump is that nothing will change in the manner the US and Western countries operate even with a renowned sexist, racist and bigot (just to mention a few appalling accolades he has to his name) at the helm of leadership.

Now, reverse the tables and imagine Trump as leader of a country in Africa, say Zimbabwe’s Mugabe or Sudan’s al Bashir considering that he also plans to bomb other Muslim countries to defeat countries which is likely to result in millions of civilians annihilated. . There is no doubt that aid could have been suspended; and indiscriminate sanctions implemented.

Malawi experienced the wrath of the West when two gay men were jailed for 14 years (I am pro-gay and I personally believe no country should have laws that sets how adults have sex). When Zimbabwe ordered White people to leave Zimbabwe, he paid a hefty price, that he has survived this long is a miracle and very few understand.

The biggest question is why are these Western Countries not putting in place sanctions against the US?

It is clear that he won because of his campaign promises and the 60 million people who voted for him expect the promises to be fulfilled. Is it Racism or Colonialism, that Western countries find it okay to work with a Robert Mugabe, even a worst evil, as long as he is White?

This same question can be raised against Brexit, a vote that saw the UK leave the EU so it could take control of its borders and stop ‘muslims’ as well as take control of its laws.

Compare the reaction of the West and other International Organizations on African countries that are leaving the ICC so as to settle their issues in-house. How will the West respond in a few months or years from now when other politicians in other countries adopt a Trump/Brexit stance that: xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia are a winning card?

Surely, such politicians will expect relationships with the West not to be affected. They would expect congratulatory messages and phone calls. A Trump victory will have other governments ponder whether it is important to invest in climate change or renewable energy?

Clearly what is happening in the West should revitalize people, particularly in Africa, to oppose the West, either for double standards or showing that it is just okay to hate and staple on values of social justice. We need to stand up and guard human rights; and if it means Africa leading in this fight, then be it for the so-called world leaders have illustrated that they can’t be entrusted as before.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Giving Mutharika a news blackout is retrogressive: Mount Soche Declaration is a threat to Malawi’s democracy and press freedom

The mainstream private media in Malawi have threatened to give President Peter Mutharika a “news blackout” unless press freedom is guaranteed by his administration. The media made this declaration following a meeting convened last week at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.

Representatives from the media houses also agreed to “boycott” press conferences by the Head of State and cabinet ministers in recognition of what was described as “the highly belligerent attitude that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Government has taken against the private media to silence it from telling Malawians the truth”.

Threatened with a news blackout
In hindsight, the threats that the media have issued through what is now called the Mount Soche Declaration signed by Nation Publications Limited (NPL), Capital Radio Malawi Limited, Times Group, ZBS, MIJ FM Radio Station, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter and Media Council of Malawi (MCM), can be deemed as welcome and in good intention if Malawi is to safeguard press freedom and consolidate its democracy as stipulated by the country’s constitution.

However, after several attempts to make sense of the decree and reflecting on its threats, in both instances I end up with the same conclusion: the Mount Soche Declaration is a threat not only to the country’s democracy, but to both press freedom which the media seek its assurance as well as the public’s right to access information. The decree is outlandish and must be opposed.

With the Mount Soche Declaration, the media joins government in ganging up against the public in the attempt by the executive arm of government and the fourth estate to square their vendettas.

It is without debate that the media plays a crucial role in any democracy. As such, press freedom must be guarded jealously particularly against attempts by those in power (politicians and media owners alike) to stifle it.

It is when the environment is not conducive for the press to exercise its duty that the public needs the media most; to be informed of government’s undertakings so that the employers (the public) can hold accountable the employees (politicians and those in public positions). It is therefore surprising to learn that instead of playing its role, the media wants to run into some dark corner operating on a ‘see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing’ maxim.

Here are questions that the media needs to answer before the Mount Soche Declaration sees light of the day: what direction will the news blackout on Mutharika, the Cabinet and government arms take? Does this mean during the news-blackout period, the press will stop investigating Mutharika? If they find some ministers engaging in corruption, will the press remain mum, or is it simply about ‘black-outing’ on positive news for the regime? If the case is black-out on positive news, how then can people trust such a media that is preferring to walk a biased instead of a balanced news path?  

The news blackout is the best Christmas gift that the media can ever give the president and the cabinet to pillage public resources knowing there is no one watching over them; to blow the horn or offer the much needed checks. Through the decree, the media acknowledges that they have a duty to the public to serve as the Fourth Estate to provide checks and balance and provide information that could enable the People hold those in public offices accountable for their decisions but how will this be achieved if the media has locked itself inside a room darker than the ‘media blackout’?

It is for these reasons that I consider the Mount Soche Declaration a threat to democracy and press freedom. I am therefore pleased that Chanco Radio and TV have decided to not be associated with such a declaration. However, their reason for not being a private media to be part of the Mount Soche Declaration means that Malawi media have a long way to go to understand what the actual role of the press is.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#USElections If it were the Western Media reporting results in an an African country

The drama on US elections continues to unfold. So far, reports by the US mainstream media reveal that Donald Trump is not guaranteed the presidency even after winning more than 270 Electoral College votes required to secure the presidential nominee. 

The New York Post outlined one possibility that a Trump-presidency could be derailed. According to the US Constitution, chosen electors of the Electoral College are the real people who vote for the president and often pick the candidate to whom they were bound by the popular vote. 

Depont Trump, one banner reads 
However, the paper revealed it is possible that some electors can chose a different candidate than they were bound to elect or abstain from casting the vote altogether. This, the paper claimed, is "the one scenario that could still get Hillary Clinton into the White House" on 19 December when electors will meet to cast their votes.

Observing all the drama through the lens of the media including the denial of a Trump presidency, there is a clear contrast in the way the Western media are reporting the US elections compared to how their coverage of elections in non-Western countries, say of countries in Africa.

Here is a common snippet of how the media could have reported the elections if the US were a country in Africa.

“Supporters of the incumbent, Mr. Barack Obama, whose party has lost to the opposition, are in the streets, protesting outcome of the results. Some are rioting, breaking shops even taking whatever they can lay their eyes on.

Much as the incumbent and his-would-be-successor, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, have conceded defeat, the smoke and smell of burning tires in the streets of 'New York' have a different message for the president-elect and soon to be the US ruling party.

So far, there are calls that the Electoral College, which will officially nominate the president on 19 December, should disregard the outcome by choosing Clinton whose endorsement came from both Republican and Democrats’ bigwigs. 

But how far can the protesters stay in the streets as cold nights of winter are fast approaching? We don't have an answer to that yet. Only time will tell us of their resilience.

Meanwhile, a majority of the mainstream media continue to demonise the president elect.  "The one scenario that could still get Hillary into the White House" reads the headline in the New York Post, detailing how a Trump victory could still be nullified despite President Obama setting on the ignition of transition of power which started with the meeting the two had on Thursday at the White House. 

'Not my president'
Over 2 million people have signed a petition backing the proposal outlined by the NY Post. The figure will sharply increase by the time the Electors meet in about 4 weeks time, a reminiscent of dissatisfied British citizens calling for a second #Brexit referendum because those backing the UK to leave the EU won the June referendum. So far, more than 80 MPs are plotting to stage a Parliamentary coup to stop Brexit. 

As for Trump in the US, it is therefore clear that should he survive the protest considering increasing calls for his assassination from several members of the opposition who talked to us strictly on condition of anonymity, he has a mountain to climb. As for the Democrats and those protesting, it is going to be a very long 4 year period...”

MwanaMwa's Take: So, the West and African countries are not different from each other after all. All our democracies are immature unless the dice spins in our favour. Personally, I cannot wait to see how everything pans out between now and 20 January as to who will be officially crowned the US president. Viva Democracy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Let there be light. Addressing Malawi's Cashgate For Good

Joyce Banda said: The Cashgate was a crisis. Nothing was taken serious of her assertions. But then, when the IMF followed with claims that : The Cashgate was a crisis; that headlined all daily and weekly papers; Facebook pages and pinned in most social network group discussions. It was with no surprise that some opposition parties took advantage of IMF 'new discoveries' and...The rest is history.
But what's my take in  all these. It is an open secret that Malawians know of the Cashgate as being a crisis even before JB said it. And what makes the assertions by IMF so special...? What should I expect from the IMF and everyone out there? Usual politicking, leaving the welfare of most Malawians to remain at stake as the battle of supremacy between the ruling PP on one hand, and the opposition (particularly the DPP) on other other hand to rage on. Of course with some civil societies torn between the two sides either with credible or questionable intentions.
But taking, for example, the overarching goal of these exploratory Bretton Woods institutions like the IMF; what I want are measures to address the Cashgate once and for all; and assist in the sustainable reconstruction of Malawi's economy (call it bail out if you want). But I am tired of the blame-game shifting posts...Knowing the cashgate as a crisis without proper recommendations/support is nothing more than knowing that someone has, say, 'cervix cancer' or malaria without recommending any medication.
As you may have suspected, my argument is that JB must not resign as others emotively demand. A larger portion of those who demand for JB's head have been tried and failed.
The DPP? the UDF? 'Our' self-representing MPs? Why are these politicians afraid of waiting for May 2014. Is it because of the adage that no ruling party in Africa loses an election (serve in Zambia). And their hypothesis here is that if JB remains, she can not be dislodged or they are of the view that if they, through the back door, hiding behind an interim government change their statuses into that of the Ruling.
One, this may mean they have gotten their revenge on JB who snatched the leadership crown from them when no Malawian wanted to associate with DPP after 2010; or UDF after 2002? 
Or these politicians think this change in their status or on who occupies the driving seat will help them emerge winners of the 2014 tripartite elections, hence sustaining the status quo that no ruling party loses an election
Thirdly, may be the know their monkeying businesses and are so certain that when the Cashgate hits the Revelation of its compilation, none of them will be safe. Unless, they are at the driving seat, which can only be made possible if they are part of the interim government to close all loopholes left open after that fateful 40th day in April, 2012.
For me, its a question of why are they so much afraid of waiting for next May 2014 which may, if they win, evidently demonstrate JB's lost of popularity here at home? 
My hypothesis here is that all these parties have no principles whatever to be trusted by we Malawians to form an interim government. They demanded the head of who their mouthpiece referred to as Rough Kambara. When this Kambara got nicked, the same people changed colors like chameleons. I am certain that no sooner had that interim government formed than these political parties or MPs  (politicians) want to jump ship; come out of their shells to show their true colors. Have we forgotten how these same guys plundered resources?
The Judges? Hehehe. T's ironic to ask the judges to take control of this sinking ship. For Judge Dingiswayo Madise in Mzuzu while presiding over the case of Ralph Kasambara revealed something which could be a tip of widespread iceberg. He said: "Hearing Kasamabra's case in Mzuzu while Judge Esme Chombo is presiding over the same case would give an impression that the applicant was engaging in JUDGE SHOPPING". This is not in verbatim. But it also casts a net of doubt regarding the credibility of the 'humen' with the white wigs (which I find quite funny and imperialistic). 
Somehow, I am surprised that the media just saw the judge-shopping claims made by one of the country's senior judges as a molehill. This is an area requiring serious investigative journalism. I doubt if any media house will dare take this path; as most of them have become PRs of one or the other party; telling us the obvious.
All these said: My greatest solution to this is putting in place a transparent structural system which starts with the Assert Declaration Bill. 
And of course, the RBM governor has to go. And the principal secretaries of those concerned ministries have to go. Thumbs up to the Malawi Police and ACB for rounding up those, small or big fishes, depending if you view yourself as being size of an ant or an elephant, without 'much government interference'. Nothing of this sort happened during the Muluzi and Mutharika regimes. 
And the heads of the budget director and accountant general have to be brought before King Herod. Yes, CAMA and CONGOMA can also help in the winding up of all Banks which were complicit and allowed the cashgate to take its shape when it could have been prevented. RBM should  withdrawal the licences of the concerned banks - It does not matter which Bank it is. Be it the National Bank or Standard bank, let them wind up their businesses in Malawi, because evidence critically demonstrates that these banks helped the Cashgate to take its course.
Allowing JB to resign while sustaining (or remaining silent about) the structural systems which made the Cashgate to grow its wings, will not at all bring anything. This will only allow the Cashgate to continue for as much eternity as possible. The chessboards might have changed, the key players will have remained the unscratched.
And it is an open secret that DPP benefited from this Cashgate-the blue bus, hammers, the WhiteHoutse at NdataFarm for someone who failed to have his minibus an operational starter motor. Paja ankachita yoduda kuti ilile.
We also know kuti mkulu wachikwama uja gain yake ya sugar inali ya unjonda; and how he managed to buy ma pickup a yellow aja, construct Keza Office Park, the BCA mansion, is a mystery.
And when I was grinning that my MCP was whiter than snow, allegations are  budding that my own MCP is spinecorded on the Cashgate moneys. Apparently no one is safe. Not even me.
If DPP, UDF as well as the two parties (MCP and PP) which I lean my allegiance to are serious to seeing the Cashgate become a thing of the past, let them start declaring their asserts and source of their funding and the sources of funding for those funding them publicly. Let this information be made available to the public through the media and public libraries within a week. They should do this before even the revised assert declaration is tabled and passed in Parliament. 
Let there be light by allowing transparency to take its course in the way we deal our national (and personal) businesses. This will address the Cashgate for good, without even having  JB's head. All that some of us want are measures which will not allow others to take advantage of a porous system despite having JB's head on that platter.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Who the cap fit, JB or Chakwera?

Stop Press: This is my confession: Congrats Malawi for the SADC chair'ship. This is "JB's moment"  to demonstrate that being chair of regional blocs has huge dividends for the country development/investment. I don't remember what Bingu's time as the AU's Headhoncho yielded (sorry zigoba za DPP).

Who the cap fit, JB or Chakwera?
Today, all 'eyes' in Mw are at fixed at Ntchalachala. What does Chakwera have for Malawi that the other candidates do not already have? What will Chakwera promise Malawians from Nsanje to Chitipa, Mchinji to Likoma through Tukombo? We have heard from APM (yet we all know why he wants to bounce back and bank! We all know! Asatipake phula akulu awa). And [if] the change agenda of Atupele Muluzi was highly effective, this dude could have done lots of things when he was in government as a cabinet minister, udindo umenewu wa u Minister si wamasewera achakulungwa. ironically, I have never heard Atupele Muluzi talk about the welfare of young people in Parliament, akufuna kutibera nzeru chifukwa cha age yawo akulu awa samalani nawoni. But we are all aware what's on Muluzi's mind for constructively pushing forward Baby's name as the UDF presidential candidate. Kungomva kuti okumwa tea azamwanso, basi mukuti oyimba belo azayimbanso, tchupiti.

Regardless of what I have said above, I have respect for all the candidates. If it was anything about ideologies, my vote could have been counted null and void. Ndikanazachonga onse ndi chichongi chachikulu kuti Chongi just like Nike. And if ideologies 'was' indeed anything malawi's vote is counted on, either George Nnesa or James Nyondo could be presidents today. This should however not undermine the impact that ideologies have on influencing the castigation you get from the others (from the other camps) or gunning support among some sections of the society who are currently sitting on no man's land. In addition, without sounding too contradictory, regionalistic votes are by and by becoming an issue of the past to sorely rely on it.

Between Chakulungwa Baby and Mbwiye che Thomas, huhuhuhuhu, 'cant just be fooled by these two candidates. Nay! Not me!

This leaves my heart torn between JB and Chakwera. As I said: This is my confession. And to make it a fairground, whosoever convinces me between now and 3rd March 2014 has my vote! Y'all know why 3rd March, don't you? No blood was shed in vain while fighting for Malawi's development/progression in fairness and equalness. Thus, come 2014, this is what will influence my vote.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dead or Alive?

They ask of us not to talk about autocrat Bingu wa Mutharika because he is dead. Most people who say this are DPP supporters, and often say this when we remind them of the atrocities committed by DPP and its [current] army under the commandeer of none other than Bingu wa Mutharika. Yet, these same people have the audacity to remind us of what they claim 'achievements' of Bingu wa Mutharika when they discuss JB or attempt to gang up support for Bingu wa Mutharika's young brother, Peter Arthur Thom. Kodi chikomere mbuzi kugunda galu?