Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera

By Mapwiya Muulupale

Good day Mr. President,

When these few lines reach you, I hope they find you in the best of health.

I am writing to reiterate a few issues that I feel are not getting the attention they deserve if the lives and livelihoods of our people are to improve.

I should not have written at all because you already know them, and you have a covenant with God and Malawians whose socio-economic welfare you committed to uplift.

The gist of that covenant, Mr. President, was that should Malawians elect you President, you would deliver a-b-c-d and govern them faithfully under the principles you dubbed Chakwera SUPER Hi5.

The people delivered their side of the bargain. Other than the various ceremonies that attested to this fact, additional proofs are your status, “office” in both the physical and functional sense, and well, the numerous benefits you and those close to you enjoy today.

This letter is about your side of the bargain.

Except for the few not telling you the truth for self-preservation reasons, the consensus is that you are falling short on both delivering a-b-c-d and governing by the tenets of Chakwera SUPER Hi5.

True, only eighteen months have elapsed; therefore, you still have plenty of time ahead. The problem, Mr. President, is that this far, Malawians see neither a winning team (in terms of your Cabinet) nor a foundation from which you can deliver transformation.

Yet, time is flying, and each day gone is another day in hell for the masses.

The least they expect is some sort of urgency, and urgency, like the foundation, is lacking.

Saulos Chilima and Lazarus CHakwera, When MCP needed UTM

Your eighteen months or so in power are punctuated with indecisiveness, un-explicable delays in executive actions, kneejerk reactive stunts, and transactional leadership.

Again, most Malawians do not subscribe to your dangerous view, as expressed on 17 January 2021, that Covid19 is force majeure enough for you to unilaterally abrogate your campaign promises.

I am saying “dangerous”, Sir, because there are usually two sides to a contract, and what is a contract worth IF one party just wakes up and unilaterally declares force majeure?

Let us, for example, say that the people who elected you wake up one day and – like you did – unilaterally annul the mandate they gave you mid-term.

What would happen? Would you be happy? Of course not.

Hence, you cannot just unilaterally revoke the promises made during the Covid19 pandemic Campaign Time ostensibly because of “Covid19”.

This, at best, is wanting to eat your cake and still have it and, at worst, theft by false pretense.

Therefore, Mr. President, you should either take those Campaign Promises as valid and still binding or seek a new mandate with a new set of promises.

Moving on to Governance in general, in your Covid19 speech of 14 February 2021, you were right that without overhauling three fundamentals, i.e., procurement, allowances culture, and civil servants’ contracts, a better and prosperous Malawi will not materialize.

A better and prosperous Malawi will remain a mirage because the moon you promised needs significant financial resources. And currently, our meagre resources are being squandered through mis-procurement, undeserved and outright illegal allowances, and dubious entitlements of some civil servants whose value-add to your administration is, in fact, negative.

As you rightly diagnosed in 2020, some civil servants are rubble.

Today, I will desist from criticizing your lukewarm approach to fighting corruption because in this regard, our former colonial experts – by arresting one Zuneth Sattar – saved your face.

If you continue refusing to interfere in the ongoing and impending arrests and subsequent prosecutions, you will come out looking good.

You will shine, and Malawi will win.

Any hint of political interference, however, will be catastrophic. My advice: allow those whose chickens have come home to roost to reap what they sowed.

Now, Mr. President, allow me to share this.

A rich man was driving home from a late business appointment on a cold and windy night. He drove past a man loitering on the pavement, from the look of things, with no home to go to.

Something made him slow down, stop, and engage reverse gear to talk to the man. Once he was adjacent to the stranger, he slowly wound down his car window, and even with the window only halfway down, he was feeling the cruel sting of the cold.

After gaining the man’s attention, he asked,

“You’re not even wearing a coat; aren’t you feeling cold in this brutal weather?”

The man replied, “Thank you, Bwana, for stopping to ask. May the good Lord bless you abundantly. Indeed, I do not have a coat, but I am used to this. I have lived thus for years, and my body has acclimatized to weather hazards.”

The rich man was shocked.

“This,” he murmured to himself, “is no way to live.” As if by a higher power, he felt compelled to act.

After giving this some thought, he said to the man,

“Wait right here. I’ll be back with something to keep you warm.”

The poor man, overwhelmed with joy, agreed to wait.

The tycoon drove off. However, after getting home, he was distracted and soon forgot about the poor man. Come morning, he remembered the poor man, hastily picked a jacket from his wardrobe, and rushed to the rendezvous at high speed.

He found the man. Dead. Due to frost.

Peering close, the rich man saw that the man was clutching a note. Curiosity took the better of him, and he retracted the note from the dead man.

It read,

Dear Sir,

When I had no warm clothes, I had the mental stamina to fight and overcome the cold.

When you turned up from nowhere like an angel and promised to help me, I believed in you and your promise.

This killed innate power that has fueled my ability to cope and survive the elements.

I hope you will not be too late for the next person to believe your promise IF there will be a next time.

Your believer.”

This story, Mr. President, is my humble New Year’s gift to you.

In short, while a person having fun can afford to shillyshally, urgency is a matter of life and death for sufferers.

To conclude, please be reminded that Malawians delivered their side of the bargain, and you must meet them halfway.

Further, kindly note that like the man who died from frost in the parable above, many people still believe in you and that with the right people in Cabinet and key positions, you can deliver the “jacket in time” and save lives.

I wish you and all Malawians a better and prosperous New Year 2022!

Talking Blues– Weekly serious Analysis of Malawi Events. Weekly Sunday Column by Mapwiya Muulupale: Malawi’s Famous Political provocateur

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