President Barrack Obama was in Beijing this past week. There are a lot of issues the leader of the free world and his counterpart Xi Jinping – leader of the not-so-free Chinese, disagree about.
Issues of trade imbalances, human rights et al.
But do you know what hogged the headlines? The Chinese media, the mainstream and backyard bloggers alike, took issue with the US leader stepping out of his limo chewing gum. This, apparently, is irreverent, an affront to the Chinese culture. Barry got really ‘chewed’ for that.
I do not think Obama thought anything before throwing that gum in his executive mouth.
So, you see, symbolism is important anywhere in the world.
President Mutharika was ‘Guest of Honour’ at the commissioning of the Abdul Majid Motor City in Blantyre. Among the distinguished guests was the Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
The MCP has never accepted that Peter won the May polls fair and square. Actually spokesperson Jesse Kabwila never misses an opportunity to remind us that the academic-turned-politician is presiding over a ‘fraudulent government’.
But the cleric-turned-politician has decided to move on, accepting all State House or Capital Hill invites. He was even with Saulos Chilima at King Cobra’s funeral across the northern border.
But at the Abdul Majid Motor City Peter Mutharika clearly snubbed him. The President warmly greeted former president Bakili Muluzi but ignored Chakwera who was sheepishly smiling right behind Atcheya.
Granted, Peter is not a spring chicken; his ageing eyes may have failed him. He might have not noticed the cleric-turned-politician.
But are his ears failing him as well? Director of Ceremonies Bright Malopa duly acknowledged the presence of the Leader of Opposition, so did Minister of Trade and Industry Joseph Mwanamveka.
But good ol’ Peter duly needlessly acknowledged his wife and went on to salute Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka and Muluzi and everybody else. But, still, Chakwera’s name was conspicuously absent on Peter’s mind, vision and speech. Really? Even my eight-year-old Raymond will check-mate you on that!
My good friend Fred, him who speaks for the big man, lamely explained that Peter did not greet Preacher Laz because of a barrier which nobody saw. Was there a “barrier” against the Chakwera name in Peter’s ear and on his speech as well?
Preacher Laz took it all in his stride. “I am me and will always be me,” he said. Well, he may as well be speaking Greek to the party he leads for I know some of his MCP gurus have always been uncomfortable with his zeal to embrace a leader his party believes stole an election from right under his pious nose.
The Muckraker is all for all sulking losers burying the hatchet after that fractious election which could have set this peaceful country on fire had people like Laz not let go quickly. But if the people good ol’ Laz traded his pride for are not willing to embrace him, perhaps it is high time the pastor-turned-politician learnt to become a complete politician…