Some may argue that Peter could have been distracted by court appearances over the green card issue.
But that could have been easy and free campaign for him. All newspapers and radio and television stations could have been following him to all court appearances. He could therefore be reaching millions of voters he could otherwise not reach in whistle-stop tours or rallies.
But, by cowing to pressure and turn in the green card to Ambassador Jackson, Peter has created doubt in a few voters that may be the green card was an issue after all.
By the way, by saying he has consulted widely and everyone – from American to Malawian lawyers – is telling him green card is a ‘non-issue’ but he had to renounce it all the same “to put matters to rest”, is he not opening himself up for further attacks?
Remember, for instance, he has that little issue about that house in Nyambadwe many think he bought for a song. He rightly claims he was offered the house as a sitting tenant and he paid the price he was asked to pay.
Well and good. But his distracters are saying the house was grossly under-valued, he should have paid something like K18 million for it, not the K6 million he was asked to pay in the dubious deal.
Peter also went on to buy the mayoral house in Area 10 in Lilongwe. An audit report actually faulted the sale since laid procedure, like valuation by a chartered valuation surveyor, was not followed.
The audit report recommended that the sale be cancelled, the offer be withdrawn and the Lilongwe City Council should take back the house.
Peter has papers for the sale of Title Number Alimaunde 10/365. But now that he has realised that the sale was improper he has to do the right thing and surrender the house “to put matters to rest”.
Again, like he has done with the green card issue, “to put matters to rest”, he should pay the right price for the Nyambadwe house or surrender it.
For the Lilongwe house he has not only a legal but also a moral obligation to surrender it to the Lilongwe City Council. After all after May 20 Lilongwe will finally have a mayor. Will President Mutharika be happy to have the mayor of the capital city live in a rented house in Kawale while he is clinging on to the legit mayoral residence he irregularly acquired?
He knew green card was a non-issue but, “to put matters to rest”, he surrendered it so that it does not distract him.
Similarly, he has to do the needful in the dubious house sales “to put matters to rest”. Unlike in the green card issue, his opponents have a solid case against him on the houses’ issue.
If he wants to be the transformational leader Malawi needs, he needs to do the right thing and “put to rest” all issues that might dent his image.