In Chief Kyungu’s ejaculation that those of us who take our time to analyse professor Mutharika’s presidency and point out where things could be better are fools, we see the evidence of the sycophancy that has crippled this nation’s progress from the moment Kamuzu Banda was sworn in as the first president of this republic. I am sure that if it were up to him and those of his kind, Chief Kyungu would be moving to declare Professor Peter Mutharika as Life President of the Republic of Malawi!
I suppose that because of our historical heritage as a people originally ruled by dictatorial chiefs whose word was law, to many Malawians the idea of criticism and dissent is associated with disloyalty and is seen as unpatriotic and unwelcome.
I wonder if the good chief considered carefully the things that Mutharika’s critics are actually saying about this administration before he made his “unchiefly” remarks. I find it very difficult to see how telling a president to resolve electricity problems in a sustainable way, or telling him to address corruption with practical result-oriented methods can be a foolish thing to do. Or is it the old adage that those who tell the bitter truth are often considered enemies of the system?
When an administration is failing, and seems either not to know that it is failing or not to care about its failures, it is important to have in society those that can light the candles and show the way to deliverance than to just sit in darkness and helplessly go with the status quo.
It is in this spirit that those of us who speak raise our voices. Our solitary attempts aim to give light to them that are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of government propaganda may be unsuccessful now, but they remain on record as a sure witness and testimony to posterity. One day these candles we light will burst into flame like a long smouldering spark and start a conflagration that will sweep across the nation like a bushfire in the harmattan and illuminate vast new horizons for the first time. That unyielding hope is the source of our courage, which aids in our struggle against great odds to which we are subjected for obvious reasons.
It is my solemn belief that our presidents need to be told the truth. Although it is common knowledge that in the end truth always prevails, it seems there are such comprehensive efforts against getting our leaders to know the real truth about their administrations that repeated lies threaten to actually so obscure the truth. Left unchecked, this can make people begin to believe the lies that either the leaders are doing all they can to solve the nation’s problems, or even that some of the problems we are facing can never be solved. This sad situation arises because although Truth in action can often prove itself a dynamic powerful force, it is not a self-starter. Truth cannot get off dead centre unless a worthy apostle gives it a little push to overcome its inertia.
On the other hand, truth can be completely blacked when sycophancy repeats contradictory and conflicting untruths over and over again, and again, and again.
What bootlickers and sycophants forget is that in their attempt to do an “ounce” of good in the direction of the leaders, they end up doing a “ton” of harm to the many Malawians, adding to their already considerable suffering.
For fear of the truth being trampled underfoot by sycophants and bootlickers with no other interest but that of their their bellies, here are some home truths about this much touted solution to the energy problem the country is facing.
The launch of the diesel-powered generator as a source of electric power is not a moment of joy for our country.
It ought not to be celebrated, for it is a source of colossal shame. It is a symbol of our downward spiral. That the entire president found it worth his intellectual register to commission the thing speaks volumes about the vision he has for the country.
Diesel-run generators were used in Malawi back in the 1960s. The fact that we have gone back to 50 years ago should leave us in no doubt about the direction this country is taking. While others are marching deeper into the 21st century, we are heading towards the 19th.
Now, I do understand that in extreme situations, extreme remedies are justified. But these generators, while initially pitched as stopgap measures, are now being hailed as “the beginning of the end of poverty” by our president. No, Mr President. This is a symbol of our worsening poverty. It is a wrong direction. Please, steer the country away from it.
I know that this is not entirely of Mutharika’s own making. For more than 20 years, every government has done nothing but plunder the resources of the electricity-supply company. There has been endless, brazen theft through dubious procurement deals, appointments of good-for-nothing boards of directors whose sole purpose is to enjoy the allowances paid at the end of every meeting, ruining of the entity’s assets by using them for political purposes, such as lorries ferrying people to useless presidential rallies, and so on.
All this is a culmination of that, and what a culmination.
This is a reality and a truth that every Malawian needs to be aware and which the president needs to heed- not self-serving ego-massaging remarks from chiefs and bootlickers that do not have any interest in studying and analysing this country’s problems objectively and truthfully.
No institution in our modern society can long survive if its structure is not from the start erected on a foundation of truth. This country was from independence first erected on the truth of wanting to create a better society for all Malawians- a better society that, it was concluded, was impossible as long as colonial rule was sustained. Falsehood, greed and corruption have destroyed that foundation.
Now with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, for Malawi as a nation to survive, it must rebuild that foundation of truth. I am speaking here of truth spoken to the leaders- the politicians, the presidents and the party leaders.
The deterioration, the disintegration and the destruction of the structure of Malawian society today will be accelerated in direct ratio to the extent that misrepresentations and distortions of truth become substitutes for podium oratory perpetrated by sycophants like Chief Kyungu and those of his ilk.
Only those who deliberately shut their eyes and ears to reason can claim that diesel-generated electricity was ever a symbol of prosperity, progress or indeed the beginning of the end of poverty.
I am surprised that our president, as learned and realistic as he has touted himself to be, can indulge in this futile folly of fooling himself.
In much of this article I have used, with permission, some observations made by my good friend Stanley Onjezani Kenani. For those that were expecting the second Party of the subject I introduced last week on why we should shun political parties, this will come in due course. First things first!
Allan Ntata’s Column is posted Every Sunday on The Maravi Post