Malawi’s Political Twists: Are You Not Entertained?

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The current political climate in Malawi is nothing but fun and comedic, especially the political twists and turns. Within a month, so much has happened that it is hard to imagine what the rest of the year has in stall for us. There is so much drama to consume from the political scene that it narrowly can make you forget that Malawi is burning from the inside out. We are in doomsday, and no savior lurks with a red cape.

I am not exaggerating when I say this country is a failed state. There are way too many examples to use, such as citizens only being allowed to buy a packet of sugar because Illovo Sugar Company decided not to produce it for the first quarter. The sugar situation is already horrible, and this is only the first month. I saw a tweet that said we would have to take our tea cups to shops, and they would charge us based on the teaspoons so that rationing was done right.

What makes the whole situation even more skewed is that we have a government institution in the name of Salima Sugar Co., over the years, it has proven to be an institution set up to steal money rather than produce sugar. This is because if there was a time for the company to make a killing profit, this would be it, but their product is nowhere to be found on the market.

The economy’s in hell dancing to Michael Jackson’s Bad, and tangible policies are being followed to resuscitate it. There was a recent guest post that touched on this topic, read Malawi Paradox: Rich in Democracy, Peace, and Spirit Yet Economically Poor. To be honest, if I dwelled on all the problems this country is facing, we would all be crying at the end of the blog post.

Now, let us get entertained with some of the political twists that have happened lately that got my undivided attention.

Men of God for Presidency!

Earlier this month, a renowned Man of God registered his political party that aims at liberating Malawians from political bondage. Prophet David Mbewe registered his party called Liberation for Economic Freedom.

Malawi Political Twists: David Mbewe registering a new political party
Photo Credit: Times Group

In the 2019/20 presidential run, we had Rev Dr L Chakwera and Rev Kaliya as the two men of God who were vying for the commander-in-chief position. We finally elected Chakwera, and if anything, has brought a bad taste in a lot of citizen’s mouths when it comes to a clergyman leading a nation.

We have learned the hard way that theological studies might not be the best in shaping a country’s leadership. Think about it, his predecessor had promised to turn Malawi into a Senegal, then Chakwera promised to take us to Canaan, but we seem to have gotten lost in a maze thicker than the one in Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire.

However, maybe what we should be thinking of is what exactly it means if the clergy want to abandon leading their lost sheep to God’s pearly gates, to wanting to lead the country without having any educational or professional background for it. Maybe it is apparent that we need saving, a strong hand to our face that can cast out all our problems and make us reborn.

One of the flaws with the current leadership is that a church leader is used to leading without feedback. No one can go to the pulpit to tell their pastor or priest that what they are preaching is utter nonsense. Somehow, that is what is expected with our current president, or maybe that is my screwed way of looking at things. Say I am right, is this how another Man of God cosplaying as a president would lead the country, too?

No Fear For A Man Called President

In May 2020, then-president Peter Mutharika’s convoy dashed out of Ndirande after it was heavily stoned by residents. This was two months before fresh elections, when almost everyone in the country was tired of him and his party’s shenanigans. Up until then, we were so sure that such events would never happen again.

They have not yet happened, but signs are there that we might be closer to getting such an event.

This January, Blantyre residents were blessed with the presence of the president, who often likes his Kamuzu Palace better than here. The day he arrived, everyone was already wishing him to be gone. The unnecessary queues, sirens, and heavy presence of police on the roads tend to annoy most.

Regardless, he came and enjoyed his stay, while checking some of the developmental projects happening in the region.

No, I will not talk about how ridiculous I think naming Phalombe District Hospital as John Chilembwe District Hospital. What I would love to talk about is the video that was shared widely on social media of people cursing him while he was in Zingwangwa township during a visit to the ADMARC depot. I had never heard so many people chant profanities at a head of state with so much passion in their voices that it sounded like music.

You tend to wonder what the reception was meant to be. An ADMARC depot that had no maize for the public to buy for months, only stocking up because of a visit from His Excellency. Were the people supposed to clap their feet while dancing with their hands?

Malawi Political Twist: Chakwera blocked in Ndirande
Photo Credit: Face of Malawi

Like that was not enough, the president’s convoy was blocked by Ndirande mourners by HHI. The chaos, the laughs, and those haunting chants of “wayimabe” (you’ve stopped). That’s something I believe he will never forget. That is 4 years into his leadership.

I saw many say “If it was Muluzi, he would have stopped, paid his respects, and then would have asked the mourners to allow him to be on his way due to other commitments.” I agree wholly with this, but the thing is, we have never had a charismatic president like him. We almost got one in Chilima, but everyone else has never truly known how to handle Malawians. They did learn how to steal though, so that’s a plus.

A Puss Booted

When I wrote Malawi Blank Canvas, I shared some of the issues in the Democratic Progressive Party, mainly between Peter Mutharika and Kondwani Nankhumwa. What I did not expect to hear was Kondwani Nankhumwa being booted out of the party along with other members.

Nankhumwa is one of those we saw as the party diehards, the guys who would do anything for it. It is so surreal seeing him outside their closest circle when at some point he was one of Peter Mutharika’s right hand.

For the first time in my adult life in this country, I saw the ruling party taking a “democratic stance” on their main opposition. That sweet letter from Malawi Congress Party condemning the undemocratic Nankhumwa’s firing is just one for the books.

As expected, Nankhumwa has already started hinting at a new party, with his hunger for being on the ballot paper showing even more.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I wish this was news that closed up the month, unfortunately, there is one more stint to talk about. A few days ago, it was announced that Uladi Mussa commonly known as change-goal due to his love of jumping from one party to another, had joined the ruling Malawi Congress Party. Likewise, Nicholas Dausi returned to the party that had kick-started his political career.

For those not in the know, both of these two were fired from the DPP along with Kondwani Nankhumwa. The issue is, how many times are we going to recycle the same politicians? There is no change in the political space, and that explains the stagnant development in the country.

We keep cycling the same politicians as one would with ex-lovers, hoping they might that the new time they are together, they might have changed. They bring a lack of creativity, no solutions to problems, and just more trauma. However, they were welcomed by our president, so we should not question it.

….. Zuneth Sattar

He is like the ghost in a thriller movie that makes the actors think they have gotten rid of, while it lurks in the background waiting to attack. Zuneth Sattar, at this point, I cannot help but admire the guy. Without having to say much, listen to this audio except.

On January 29th, Platform for Investigative Journalism broke the news that the Malawi Defence Force had just paid Sattar a whopping $4.98 million as part of payment in a deal worth $19.93 million for the armory. This is after the Attorney General had confidently said he had terminated all of Sattar’s contracts with the government in January 2022.

During that time, we had so much drama that surrounded this story, with the ultimate story being the implication of Vice President Saulos Chilima that led to countless charges in the court.

However, this not only undermines Chakwera’s stance on corruption, especially with Sattar who has been known to have captured the state. It also brings into question the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s stance on corruption, brings many questions on it’s capabilities to successfully handle corruption cases, but worse, makes many questions if Martha Chizuma is the right driver of the organization.

This is because, when Martha Chizuma was appointed as the Director General of the ACB, many Malawians believed she was the right person for the job. There was so much belief that she had the hunger and drive to curb corruption in this rotten country. However, her first days were surrounded by so much, her arrest due to recorded phone calls that had her discussing confidential bureau issues with someone who remains unidentified to date.

We felt the fire that she brought into the bureau the first days, but what’s the point of the fire if the bush does not burn? Since her appointment, there has not been a prominent case that has been closed. Now, the bureau acts like a good boy on a leash waiting for its master to throw it a bone.

We are doomed when it comes to corruption.

There was so much more that happened within the month, but these specific topics piqued my interest the most. Share your thoughts on these below.

2 thoughts on “Malawi’s Political Twists: Are You Not Entertained?

  1. Neighbors who have a man of god running around the opposition should watch out, meanwhile African politicians have mastered to move from party to party and still seem like they are fresh voices, African presidents enjoy putting women in charge of anti corruption as a from of tokenism

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