Bakili Muluzi once said that the problem with Malawians is that they have a short memory, they easily forget. He never could have been any right.
Recent posts on the social media have sought to present late Bingu wa Mutharika as a visionary and flawless man. The ardent admirers have nearly said that Malawi could have been paradise if Mutharika was around. Maybe they have forgotten that by now Mutharika would have had to exit the scene and be a retired President. Or they assume his brother Peter would have been his puppet, instead of being Ben Phiri’s.
While I would not like to dismiss the assertion that Mutharika appeared to have some sense when compared to the thief after him and the clueless brother, I find it hypocritical that people are trying to wash clean the soiled reputation of the dictator whom the same people held parties for when he died.
It is really disheartening that suddenly we have forgotten that Bingu urged his cadets to go about town roughing up people.
It was in the reign of Bingu that we were taken back to the dark days of politicking with pangas. It was in those days where freedom of expression was muzzled. Bingu did not just dislike the media as his brother has confessed to be doing of late, he aimed to kill it.a
Bingu ordered that there should be no business with Nation Publications. It was Bingu’s boys who torched a car belonging to ZBS. That is not progressive in any way, it is not democratic in any way. That is pure dictatorship.
Robert Chasowa died under the tenure of Peter Mutharika. Twenty protestors were also killed point blank under the dictatorship of Mutharika. What did he do? He blubbered of useless commissions of enquiry that were only to be set up posthumously by his nemesis.
Lest we forget that Peter Mutharika was actually forced to be in politics. If you can see the demeanour of him these days and hear of his outburst, you know that it is a man who has been forced to lead us. He was actually forced by his brother whom for the love of power could not stand a democratic and transparent convention elect his replacement. We can only speculate it is because he was afraid of jail. He had a good reason to be afraid.
Although the Cashgate was revealed under the thievery tenure of JB, recent audits have shown that even Bingu was a beneficiary of stolen loot. From the questionable contracts awarded at Kayelekera to the loopholes in the various ministries, you can only absolve Bingu of corruption if you are DPP or related to the Mutharikas. Otherwise the evidence fingers him.
Mulhakho wa Alhomwe was not simply formed to celebrate culture. It was formed to meet Bingu’s tribalism goals. He was a tribalist, on that we should agree. It is for the same reason he said of the non-existent Mzuzu corner and his appointments largely looked like he was appointing people into the board of Mulhakho when it was the national cake that had to be shared.
His arrogance was costly. It was for that arrogance that there was no fuel in the country and our forex levels were trimmed to the size of a banana republic. He managed to coat that arrogance under ‘making Malawi self-dependent’ but I can assure you that it was just plain arrogance. If it was economic independence for this country, he would not have rushed into a marriage with China. If it was independence he would not have been striking strange mining deals with imperialist thieves.
Today as we want to remember the life of Bingu wa Mutharika, let us also remember the life of a brutal dictator who disliked every democratic process and activity.