Two women came to King Solomon. One of them said: “Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago I gave birth to a boy at home, and so did she three days later. No-one but us was present.
“One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, and then she put her dead baby next to me.
“In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.”
“No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive!”
“The dead baby is yours,” the first woman yelled. “Mine is alive!”
They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.”
A sword was fetched, and Solomon ordered, “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”
“Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”
The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”
Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.” Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”
Lo and behold, everyone marvelled at King Solomon’s wisdom.
It has come to pass that Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the party that governed the land hitherto known as Nyasaland from independence to 1993 is split into two factions.
Like the two women in Solomon’s court, each faction claims to be in the right. Poking fun all along at MCP has been its nemesis, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
As fate would have it, as we speak, DPP is in the same quagmire, experiencing an increasing cacophony from members who want aged President Peter Mutharika to do the right thing and give way to Saulosi Chilima, the Vice President.
Mrs Callista Mutharika, the incumbent’s in-law, served as the proverbial rat that volunteered and bravely belled the cat.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she intoned, “My in-law is a disaster waiting to happen!”
In response, party’s secretary general Greselder Jeffrey retorted; “Callista should sort out her personal problems with the Mutharika family without involving the DPP.”
Writing her off as a nonentity without a locus standi, Jeffrey claimed, “We all agreed to have Professor Peter Mutharika as our candidate and nothing changes.”
Such a decision, going by DPP’s constitution, can only be made by the party’s national governing council (NGC) which last met four years ago.
Just when Callista was beginning to look like a force of one, DPP national youth director Louis Ngalande, as if to tell her that “you will never walk alone”, weighed in.
“In this day and era,” Ngalande said, “where the majority of Malawians average ages are around 25 to 40 years, you cannot have a leader aged around 80 and above. It doesn’t make sense. Our President must tackle this issue with the seriousness it deserves.”
Ngalande added that a cross-section of DPP members want Chilima, aged 45, to represent the party in the May 2019 general elections as a presidential candidate.
In short, while characters that Callista, Ngalande and Winiko insist are wolves in wolves’ clothing insist on Mutharika, an increasing horde of DPPians – including comedian Winiko – categorically state that the hyenas in hyenas’ skins surrounding Mutharika are not only misleading him, but are the ones messing up Malawi.
So, here we are.
On the one hand, we have greedy old men insisting that by virtue of age, they should continue borrowing billions from local banks, Chinese and international consortiums to build stadiums and buy maize we do not need.
“Government is not for babies, government is for people with experience!” says Goodal Gondwe.
On the other, we have millions of the suffering younger generations positing that given that the old men and ways have failed, we should try someone younger and begin doing things differently.
King Solomon, where art thou and what say you?
“I still can’t figure out why he [Mutharika] believes he has the energy and capacity for the incredibly arduous and complex struggle for developing Malawi. The most successful presidents in the last 20 years—the Meles [Zenawi] of Ethiopia, Rwandan President [Paul] Kagame have been young with huge amounts of energy.
“In addition, we can’t have a Minister of Finance [Gondwe] in the 80s. It makes no sense and this is beginning to show in some of the confusion in fiscal policy. And it is a joke among both donors and investors.
“We, the old should sit on the side, doling out our wisdom when demanded. But running a State or economy? No,” says Professor Thandika Mkandawire.
This, Blues’ Orators, is Solomonic wisdom. If the Goodals of our world were imbued with just 10% of Professor Thandika Mkandawire’s wisdom, we would have long stopped singing “By the rivers of Nyasaland…”
Look here: Mutharika and his grubby pals aren’t adding any value at all to our economy or wellbeing. Their mission is self-enrichment at any cost.
In fact, like the woman who would have rather seen the baby killed than see it thrive under the care of its genuine mother, they are devastating and devouring everything they can.
Malawi youths on the other hand, like the genuine mother, have for so long been screaming, “Please don’t kill Malawi! While we love Malawi very much, give Malawi to the grumpy old men. Just don’t kill Malawi!”
The question is: until when?
Blues’ Orators, IF DPP’s greedy thieving old goats can’t learn from the Solomonic wisdom evident in Professor Thandika Mkandawire, their endings will not be beautiful. If they are in doubt, they need look no further than Zimbabwe. Comrade Mugabe is a living witness.