The Nation Newspaper dated 1st May ,2013 reported that Malawi’s ruling People’s Party (PP) officials, led by Brown Mpinganjira, on Tuesday approached Thyolo district commissioner (DC) Lawford Palani and asked him to organise chiefs in the district to apologise to President Joyce Banda over remarks made by their colleague.
According to the paper the youthful Traditional Authority (T/A) Bvumbwe of Thyolo on Sunday, during the burial ceremony of the late High Court judge Joseph Manyungwa, told the President that he was disappointed with the distribution of PP T-shirts at the funeral. The chief openly told the President that it should never happen again, and if the party officials wanted, they could hold political rallies and distribute the T-shirts there.
The Chief was absolutely right to rebuke this strange and shameful behaviour. Chiefs are the custodians of our culture. According to Malawian culture, people attend funeral for two main reasons; to pay their last respects to the dead and to condole the bereaved family. Any sane person can see that distributing political party t-shirts at a funeral does not fall anywhere near paying respect to the dead or condoling the bereaved family. It is a barbaric act that only mad people can do. The People’s Party has simply shown how desperate it is to woo people to support it.
On this and many other occasions President Joyce Banda has shown behaviour that illustrates lack of smart advisers. For today only, let me act as her adviser. A ruling party has one great advantage; it can implement its policies. It is obvious that Joyce Banda and the PP are very unpopular now.
The reason is very simple; the majority of Malawians are suffering with the current economic policies. The price of essential commodities are skyrocketing everyday while incomes remain stagnant. How can people survive like this? Only a reverse in the suffering of the people will make the PP popular. This can not be achieved through handouts and unsustainable projects which are just for show off.
Distributing a few cows will not help, just like distributing maize failed to alleviate the people’s suffering. For a common man, doctored economic recovery and figures do not make sense. What makes sense is simple survival. Therefore no amount of sweet talk by the so called economic experts and the government will make the PP popular. No amount of t-shirts distributed at funerals will make the PP popular.
The castigation of Chief Bvumbwe is yet another shameful and cheap war by Joyce Banda on people who don’t agree with her. Last time she was engaged in a brutal fight with Madonna, the pop star. Joyce Banda and Malawi’s image came out battered from the fight. This new fight against a young Chief will also end the same way. Joyce Banda and the PP should leave the Chief alone! The reaction in the social media has already shown that people are tired with Banda’s involvement in petty issues. She has done exceptional work in showing that she is not the kind of leader we should trust to run a country like Malawi, that needs a mature and wise decision maker.