Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Questioning Vuwa Kaunda's understanding of patriotism

Vuwa Kaunda's response to the decision by the Hunger Project to withdraw the 2011 Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger from Bingu wa Mutharika was predictable - the guys currently entrusted with leading Malawi seem to have lost all sense of hearing.
But what I found laughable is Vuwa's argument that the Malawians who signed a petition urging the Hunger project to withdraw the award are unpatriotic.
From its Greek and Latin origins, the word patriotism represents a devotion to one's country. Loyalty and devotion to an individual do not count. Yet, the Vuwa Kaundas of this world have time and again demonstrated that their loyalty and devotion is to the person of Mutharika, a man who is single-handedly causing untold and unprecedented ruin on Malawi.  This is not patriotism Mr. Kaunda.  The true patriots are those Malawians that have shed their blood for the country, not those who have shed that blood on behalf of Mutharika. The true patriots are those Malawians who urged the Hunger Project to rescind their offer in fear that it will give the President more ammunition to govern the country as a personal estate and bring further ruin.

Thanks, but no thanks to another Muluzi or Mutharika

The recent manoeuvrings for the presidential candidature for the 2014 elections in Malawi by Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi  have reminded me of one of my earliest blog posts where I endorsed the then Senator Barack Obama as my preferred candidate for the US presidency. In that post, I pointed out that:
"I am reluctant to lend my support to Hilary Clinton on one count and one count alone: in a country of nearly 300 million people, I cannot be convinced that there are only two households that can produce Presidents...."
 To hear that the DPP, as predicted, has endorsed Peter Mutharika as the party's candidate to succeed his brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, while Atupele Muluzi, son to former President Bakili Muluzi, is seriously contemplating to contest for the state presidency, brings back to mind the same notion that made me reject Hilary Clinton's candidature. While I have nothing personal against Atupele Muluzi or Peter Mutharika, I refuse to accept the underlying perception that  out of the 13 million plus Malawians, only the Muluzis and Mutharikas are capable of producing presidential caliber individuals.
If truth be told, the Muluzi era, which was characterized by mismanagement, corruption and incompetency, will count among Malawi's lost years. As for the Bingu years, need I say more? As they say, the works of his hands speak for themselves - murder of innocent Malawians, long fuel queues, deprivation of academic freedom, forex shortages, arrogance and corruption of the grandest scale - are showing that he is not only out of touch with reality, but also that his style of leadership does not belong to a Malawi of the 21st century. And for some to claim they want Peter Mutharika to continue his brother's legacy is, in my considered opinion, pure lunacy.
The long and short of this post is that if Atupele and Peter- who admittedly have to be judged in their own merit, not by the performance of their fathers or brothers - stand for presidential office in 2014, I would, on principle, not vote for them. Malawi belongs to us all, not just for families of Kamuzu Banda, Bakili Muluzi or Bingu wa Mutharika. I would rather we looked elsewhere among the millions of my country-folk for a new leadership. This is no guarantee that we would get a better leader, but we would be giving others the opportunity to captain the ship. So, nothing personal about Atupele Muluzi or Peter Mutharika, but thanks, but no thanks.