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.