As a nation we have never been as directionless as we are now. Look at history:
Dr. Banda had direction: I’m the president and no nonsense about it, four pillars: unity loyalty obedience discipline. Clear cut dictator, clear direction even it was wrong. 30 years later we got rid of him.
Bakili Muluzi came into power after wrangling with John Tembo (of the Mwanza four) and he started liberalizing the economy. He sold inefficient state corporations to his friends for a friends’ price. Corrupt but clear direction. And only at his second term did he loose direction and corruption spiraled out of control.
Bingu, who was by Muluzi meant to be a puppet, had his own direction: he started subsidizing fertilizer and got the economy going, improved food security, and history repeated itself: in his second term he showed the true autocratic ideas he had, and he managed to undue all gains of his first term in no time and put the country in terrible shape in less than two years. We demonstrated against him, and he answered by murdering 20 unarmed demonstrators and Robert Chasowa. Clear direction: murder. Then he got so worked up that he got a heart attack which could not be treated because he had caused shortages of drugs in all hospitals, and he died. We will never know whether he got worked up over our protest or some other way in that backroom together with Mrs. Agnes Penemulungu.
Then Joyce Banda as vice president took over after a half-hearted coup attempt by Peter Mutharika and friends had failed. She started a hand out based policy, and a hand out based election campaign of the full length of her two year term. This she financed by Cashgate means, which immediately got out of hand and a few unscrupulous people enriched themselves at the cost of the Malawian people. Predictably, her hand-out campaign failed, and we got elections, which were an unprecedented mess under the incompetent leadership of Mr. Maxwell Mbendera, who clearly showed that any position above office assistant is too much for his intellect. In this mess DPP/Peter Mutharika proved to be the strongest, either on votes or on rigging or maybe even on both but because of the small margin with Pastor Chakwera the latter is improbable.
All previous Malawian presidents started out energetic, with direction and agenda. Peter Arthur Mutharika? No idea. The man does not show direction, it is like, well, we’ll see. Just wait. A commission about the civil service. A commission about subsidy for iron sheets. The FISP, which had survived since the early days of Bingu wa Mutharika (though lately only a costly farce), is in big trouble, and nothing happens.
This man is a highly aged scholar older than Bingu when he got to power, and age caught up with Bingu big time. The man is not a politician or a statesman, the man is a retired professor. And he should have stayed that.
We could have known: as a minister he was three times a failure:
1. As minister of education he closed Chancellor College for eight months, and it got no one anywhere
2. As a minister of constitutional affairs he changed the flag, a costly useless exercise which by popular demand was reversed less than two years later
3. As minister of foreign affairs he went on the road to mend the connections with neighbouring states Mozambique (failure) Zambia (failure) and with donor countries UK (failure), EU (failure) and US (failure)
The sooner we get rid of this incompetence the better.
We do not need a highly aged gerontocracy; we need men and women in their strongest years, say 40-55 to lead our nation through the turbulent times of the early 21st century. These people should have retired decades ago!


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