Allan Ntata
Z Allan Ntata

We all love a good joke, and as far as political jokes go in Malawi, they do not come much funnier than last week’s apparent release of Kamlepo Kaluwa by apparently ill-intentioned and unknown abductors.Kalua shook the Malawian social media with laughter and what is known as Internet trolling when news of his release broke and Malawians started posting pictures of themselves loosely bound hands and feet apparently discovered after being abducted.

I almost did it myself too, to be honest. But after a laugh or two, I suddenly was caught in a moment of philosophical reflection.

Is it not quite sad that as a nation, we are perfectly happy to sit back and see the funny side of the Kamlepo Kalua fiasco, and make so much noise about it on social media and yet we are unwilling and unable to call out with similar zeal and contempt on the more important political comedy that is unfolding to our detriment right before our own eyes?

When I consider the potentially disastrous consequences that the puppets and clowns in charge of this country are putting it through, I wonder why this does not invoke similar attention and commentary as Kamlepo Kalua’s shenanigans. More than that, it never ceases to amaze me how passive we are when it comes to national issues that actually matter.

What I am saying here is that when the Kamlepo Kalua circus was soon succeeded by another familiar circus which ironically, perhaps because of its recurring nature, we continued to fail to recognise, we sat back and could not demand something better.

Just as we were about to rest our lungs from laughing at Kamlepo the joker, Someone pulled the puppet strings and Mutharika the puppet obligingly stepped onto the parliamentary podium and delivered yet another State of the Nation that demonstrated only one thing.

He is not familiar with the State of the Nation!

Now, if you do not see the darkly comical side of President Peter Mutharika’s so-called State of the Nation Address, perhaps you may want to help me answer this question: How can a president be claiming that he has finally dreamed of a prosperous Malawi three years after being elected into office? Isn’t this a dream he should have had long before he was even elected? You mean it has taken him almost three years after being elected president to suddenly know what his job is? Was Mutharika essentially admitting that he has been sleeping all these past three years?

Mutharika’s State of the Nation address revealed to me that someone wrote the thing and simply gave it to him to read it. There is no other rationalisation I can think of that explain away his cluelessness on the burning issues of the country and his unfamiliarity with the fact that people do not want dreams but answers and solutions. Mutharika’s address was curiously disconnected from national realities, and it was fundamentally self-deceiving.

Who the hell wrote that speech?

As a matter of fact, it is hard for me to reconcile the things he spoke about in that speech, the fact that he has lived almost all his life until now in the USA and the corrupt and constitutionally harmful legacy that his administration to date has set.

As a constitutional law professor from the United States of America, Mutharika knows full well the values and edicts of a good democracy. And yet, the legacy of his administration is a legacy of the violation of every fundamental value that a democracy stands for.

If Mutharika wants to speak about dreams, the dreams I can believe are those of further violations of the fundamental values of democracy adopted into the Malawian constitution from the American constitution that he taught for years in the United States.

In his three years, Mutharika has defied the democratic values of freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances. His aggressive comments against the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and against The Times Newspaper and Zodiak Broadcasting Station are evidence of this.

A stable democracy must protect the right of citizens to be secure in their persons, and with their houses and property against unreasonable searches and seizures, yet we have seen in his tenure in office so far, that the Mutharika administration will not hesitate even to use the Malawi Revenue Authority to persecute opponents with questionable seizures and violations of private premises. The Times newspaper, Boniface Dulani and Kamlepo Kalua the Clown all stand as witnesses to Mutharika gone wild.

Under Peter Mutharika, Cecilia Kumpukwe, the sister of Joyce Banda, Jesse Kabwila, Stella Assani and many others have been arrested in suspicious circumstances that seem more political than legal, a demonstration that the Mutharika administration is happy to use the police to advance political goals.

Mutharika should know full well the importance of universal suffrage, the vote and the electoral process, and that this is a right that citizens must exercise whenever there is the need for it. Yet somehow, the Mutharika administration has condoned (if not instigated) the postponement of the central region election which the courts have ruled to be held again.I am quite certain that if this was in Thyolo and it was the Lhomwe voting, the election would have happened immediately the seat was declared vacant

If age was on his side, given the incredible and self-centred nature of his dreams, I would not have been surprised if Mutharika was also dreaming of himself ruling past the presidential term limits. Thank God for enforcing the law of nature regarding the ageing process on that one!

Now I believe that in keeping with the comedy spirit set by Kamlepo Kalua’s abduction, His Excellency President Arthur Peter Mutharika was simply playing the clown when he made those remarks about finally waking up after three years from his sleep in which he had dreams of a prosperous Malawi.

But, Mr President, joking with people’s rights, and more especially their lives isn’t funny.