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Foot-in-mouth disease

“Politics is the art

of looking for trouble,

finding it everywhere,

diagnosing it incorrectly,


applying the wrong remedies”

– Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx

There is something strange about politicians that beggars belief; they almost always see everything through the lens of politics.

Look, what is political about a group of well-meaning medics alerting our representatives of the sorry state of the Kamuzu Central Hospital, the main referral hospital in the Central and Northern regions?

That things are dire at the hospital is well categorised. Hey, good people, did we not lose a whole president because some chemical that could have been used to resuscitate him when his heart parked up was not available at the facility?

I must commend the professionals at KCH for demonstrating for a noble cause. We know staff at our government hospitals is over-worked, its locum – a supplementary allowance for working extra-hours – is not always paid in time, if at all.

But these folks at KCH were not demonstrating for their perks; they were fighting to get tools for what they were employed to do – save lives.

They could as well have been sitting cross-legged and telling accident victims: ‘Sorry folks, go back home, we can’t suture your wound, we don’t have gauze.” Nobody could blame them for it was their employer – government – that did not provide them with their working materials.

And government could still be paying them for it was not their fault not to work – they just did not have materials to discharge their work with.

But folks at KCH stayed true to the Hippocratic Oath they took on graduation as physicians and health-care professionals to practice medicine honestly.

But how can one perform ‘honestly’ and ‘professionally’ when one is not availed with the requisite tools?

That is why the medics and support staff at KCH were toyi-toying at Parliament.

But one Godfrey Kamanya, who – by the way – spent time working at the very hospital’s University of North Carolina (UNC) project before he added ‘honourable’ before his name – saw DPP apologists toyi-toying at Parliament.


I am glad KCH staff did not let the deputy minister get away with his insults. I am glad Kamanya was brought to near tears as he recited his penitence.

It is high time our elected or appointed officials realised that they hold their positions on trust. We should not allow them to insult our intelligence.

Kamanya and his ilk have to know that they represent us in the august House. Not all the 15 million of us can fit in the 193 seats in the Chinese-built edifice.

The 193 of them are there to speak for us, not to insult us.

I am glad President Joyce Banda allowed her deputy minister to climb down his ivory tower to apologise to the hospital workers. Her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, famously said, “A Mukhito sapepesa” when his police chief Peter Mukhito – whom he described as the best ever – had issues with the dons at the University of Malawi over academic freedom issues.

I would, however, have loved it if Abiti had censured her boy right at the Phalombe rally before the medics took issue with him. He was at the rally as deputy minister of Local Government and Rural Development for goodness’ sake! He was supposed to speak about chieftaincy. He should not have been allowed to digress to senseless politics.

Workers at KCH have led the way. The fact that a whole deputy minister was forced to do a public mea culpa is a plus that the citizenry is calling the shots.

We thought it was only Vice President Khumbo Kachali, him of the pakhomo pa anyoko fame, and Uladi Mussa who were afflicted by the ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease. Godfrey Kamanya has joined the hall of shame.

In her rallies Joyce Banda always subtly faults her protocol team by re-arranging sitting plans. Before she starts speaking the President always says: “Azimai inu bwerani apa, azibambo inu apatseni malo azimaiwa adziona bwino.” This clearly shows that her protocol team always does a bad job. How can it take the whole president to re-arrange sitting plans?

So if she subtly censures her protocol team in public, Abiti should also start censuring those politicians who speak before her if they mis-speak lest we conclude that she agrees with their wacky thoughts. 

It is high time these politicians were placed in their right places. Not everything is politics. Kudos to KCH staff for making a whole deputy minister stick his tail between his legs.

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