Joyce Banda’s vehement defence of huge entourages during her trips abroad is very worrying.

This is because it reminded us of the sad era of executive arrogance which we suffered under the late Bingu wa Mutharika.

If the late Mutharika, may his soul rest in peace, became widely unpopular it was because of his typical arrogance in insisting on doing what Malawians did not want their president to do.

We want to state that Banda’s message on austerity is defeated when she insists on continuing the malpractice of taking along many personal guests on her foreign trips.

The time for wild partying like in the past is gone. This is the time for sacrifice and Malawians have demanded just that from their president and her deputy.

Much as the the president and her deputy have symbolically cut their salaries 30 percent, let them look at the larger picture of spending cuts. In fact the president should be encouraging reduction in spending among her cabinet colleagues and not make that gesture optional.

The president should be aware that Malawians of today are no longer the same. Malawians have matured. Malawians know their rights. Malawians know the type of leadership they desire.

The anger being displayed by Malawians over rampant executive travel and other governance issues is not out of malice. It is a cry for quality and visionary leadership that they hope can take Malawi out of the shackles of poverty to the promised land of milk and honey.

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