Government hides the truth

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
Noam Chomsky

Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters' own money.
Peter Newman


The Mhlako Triumvirate

Friday, March 11, 2011


The cries are getting louder: “Bingu must go!” While we are concerning ourselves with fuel and forex shortages; threats of violence sponsored by the Head of State; continuing oppression by the Police; student protest; rumblings from churches and NGO’s rivalling the thunder of Bingu’s name – while we are distracted we have forgotten something very important.
The Constitution is clear. The Vice President takes over. Joyce for Pres – Woyeeee! Or whatever silly slogan her new party will dream of.
Bingu, had a determination to determine on termination of his term, that his young Bro or some other (hint, hint – Callista?) of his choosing would succeed him. He learnt how to do it of course. He was the beneficiary of Bakili’s methods. Pedal the bike put the successor on the carrier. But Bakili was a younger man and we’ve seen what happened to his back. Can an 80 year old stand the pace? On the sidelines stood his Vice, Joyce Banda – a possible block to his plans and, so, she has been effectively sidelined which seems to be the fate of Malawi’s vice presidents at some time or other in their term. In Joyce’s case it was done with unseemly haste.
Joyce Banda is something of a mystery to me. I know from people who knew her as a young secretary (they call them PAs these days, it sounds so much more important) that she was a clever, ambitious and focussed person. Of all those who have been at the centre of Malawi politics since the early 1990s she is one of whom I know so little. We know each other. Her husband, former Chief Justice Richard Banda, and I know each other but just in a casual manner. I have never heard anyone speak anything bad about her that was not prompted by malice. After the rift with her boss she kept a dignified silence. She is a woman who has made an impact on her world. She has been able to do things outside of politics that have earned her respect not only in Malawi but in the wider world. I and many Malawians were very sympathetic to her plight. We admired, also, her stoic silence in the face of much public and adverse comment from agents of the Government such as the state radio and TV and the derogatory language of her apparent enemy, our ‘First Lady’ Callista.
Should she have been harbouring ambitions to become President one day – as she is fully entitled to -  most of us thought that she would bide her time in dignified silence and make her intentions known much later and much closer to the 2014 election date.
Someone advised her otherwise and she formed her own party. This is very unfortunate because it merely reinforces the system with which we are only to familiar and which has proven to be a weakness and stumbling block to democratic and widespread development – the system of person-centred politics; the politics of patronage which has been so damaging to national unity and purpose.
We have lost sight of these developments. I am thankful to a Facebook contact for drawing my attention to the make-up of her party. You can see the full article and list at:
I was horrified to see the political prostitutes whose names disgraced the page.
In 1993/4, when I was a UDF Executive Member campaigning for Bakili and the Party in those first truly free multi-party elections, the cry from our opponents was:
“Chipani cha Mbava”  (The Party of Crook(s)).
I was never sure whether they were referring to Bakili who had an ancient conviction for theft of £6.00 or whether they were referring to the rest of us. I remember hearing someone shout in reply across the Blantyre street:
“Eeh! Ndi mbava amene timafuna.” (Yeah! That’s the crook we want.)
And so the ‘Party of Crooks’ became ascendant for ten years. And by the damage they did to our government departments, statutory bodies, wherever, I guess the epithet was well-earned.
Someone persuaded Joyce that she needed well-known figures to support her bid in 2014. She was wrong. There are well-known figures on her party list that the people of Malawi now know to be self-serving, some criminal, some failed politicians (some both) who have just hitched their hopes to an apparently good presidential prospect hping for more juice in the future. And, believe me, they know how to squeeze it out to leave the fruit completely dry.
If anyone doubts the affinity of the UDF high-ups with Malawi’s criminal underworld I will relate an event that should be a clear illustration.
I was Chairman of the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA). It was the annual world day for the disabled and, as usual, I was to lead a delegation to Sanjika to meet the President to mark the start of MACOHA’s flag-week. We expected, also, that the President would kick start the fund-raising with his normal generous donation. But he cancelled it. He cancelled it to attend the funeral of a well-known Blantryre crook. Government actually graded the road to his house. But, to add insult to injury, Bakili made a larger donation to the funeral of the crook than he did to the disabled.
And sitting immediately in Joyce’s shadow is Brown Mpinganjira, political opportunist, failed Presidential candidate, failed Vice-presidential candidate. He is accompanied by many of his old NDA hangers-on. And behind him is failed UDF Vice-Presidential candidate Clement Stambuli. Those who care enough can check the link that I gave above and identify the crooks for themselves
The phrase ‘Recycled Politicians’ suggests itself again. Joyce Banda does no good at all to her chances of election in 2014 by surrounding herself with so many of doubtful repute. Not a good scenario for the future.
However, all is not lost. Let us assume that, for whatever reason, Joyce becomes President before Bingu finishes his elected term. She will be faced with a Parliament full of MPs who have ostensibly rejected her. But, given the turn-coat nature of our politicians, we should expect most of them declare their undying love and support for Joyce. I would hope that her need to get parliament on her side would force her to favour MPs over her new party officials. And, if we are lucky, dump most of them for good.
If Joyce should take over the Presidency DPP will die just as UDF has died. Without the power of patronage and access to government assets that the presidency brings there is no support for the top-down party.
So, what do we want – Bingu out or Joyce in? Neither? If no change over the next three years we are doomed. We really are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. When you think of it, we have never had a decent choice of Presidential candidates.



  2. I worked with Joyce Banda we could have lost the Global funds for Malawi which buy the anti-retrovirals in Malawi because she embezzled a lot of money from the Ministry of Women. She is a crook a media lover and loves to be in a fore front she can easily make you like her but she is self fish she is not Presidential quality she is another Bakili. Bingu is a devil. Bakili a thief, Tembo a tyrant... Malawi is doomed...


  4. I would rather atcheya be president again,than have Joyce Banda for president.
    Ask any person who has had any contact or has worked with this women,they will tell you,she is pure evil,very canny, manipulative,self centered, corrupt,lacks compassion and very paranoid.
    she has an amazing ability just like pulunzi to get others to do the dirty work on here behalf,when it comes to dealing with people she views as a threat.