Talking Blues: Get a life Mr Interim President, grow a pair

Interim President Mutharika addressed Parliament via recorded audio when opening the 4th meeting in the 48th Session of Parliament and 2020/21 Budget meeting on Friday.

Although he had physically addressed a rally the other day, a rally whose theme was essentially prostitution – a subject we never knew he is very conversant with; opening Parliament in person was too risky in these coronavirus times.

A pusillanimous crow, our elders noted, died of old age. They were darn right!

Anyway, just like Michel de Montaigne, I’ll continue writing to keep from going insane with these contradictions. I may also work some of those contradictions out for you Blues’ Orators.

In secondary school, I had a teacher who insisted that we should read widely. He repeatedly warned us against cherry-picking some topics while ignoring others.

He told us a yarn about a scholar of zoology or something to that effect. This man’s course had two modules; one on elephants, the other on worms.

He was, for some reason, so fascinated with worms that he researched and read about nothing but worms.

Worms, worms and more worms. Worms in the morning, worms in the afternoon and worms in the evening. That‘s how his study timetable looked.

Come exams, he was all set, raring to go and smiling in anticipation of a distinction on his specialization: worms.

He duly took his seat in the examination hall and waited. The hour came, and the invigilator boomed:

“You may open the Question Papers.”

He did and his smile froze.

He had expected two questions. There was only one. Worse, that question read: write all you know about elephants (number of words: 1,000).

The guy pondered, thought, cogitated and agonized. He decided that no matter what, he was not leaving the answer sheet blank.

Remember, the question required 1,000 words on stuff about elephants.

He got started: “Elephants are enormous animals. They have legs. A head. A body and a tail. They are vegans. They are born. They eventually die.”

End of paragraph one and that was all he knew about elephants. So, what to do?

He continued:

“Now, when they die, their rotting carcass is oftentimes infested with worms.

Worms, by the way, are invertebrate animals from a variety of distantly related groups.

They include animals from phyla such as Annelida (earthworms, polychaetes), Nematoda (roundworms), Nemertea (ribbon worms) and Platyhelminthes (flatworms), Sipuncula (peanut worms), Echiura (spoon worms), Acanthocephala (spiny-headed worms), Pogonophora (beard worms), and Chaetognatha (arrow worms)…”

He went on and on about his beloved worms and checked the number of words. He now had 991 words; 24 on elephants and 967 about worms.

He knew very well what the question was. Important, he said to himself, was to start with elephants. That, he had done. The trick, he deluded himself, was a strong finish with something unique about elephants.

“Worms, by the way, are much smaller than elephants,” he signed off and reached the required 1,000 words.

You are the examiner, how many marks would you award him?

You know who this dude reminds me of?

Peter Mutharika.

Mutharika had a full five years to deliver. He wasted these five years on the Zameer Karims of this world, building innovative bridges that dissolve in water, setting aside funds for his beloved Mombera University only to divert these funds to Peter-knows-where.

I could go on and on, but I will leave this at that.

His failure to perform and impress from 2014 to 2019 is why he could not win the May 2019 Presidential Election although the opposition had favoured him by refusing to unite.

Akin to the worm guy, advice freely offered went unheeded.

“Let me say one thing for the record. With the decision which the Court has made on the issue of irregularities, we will never, never have a valid and credible Election in this country because there will always be some irregularities in any Election.

“We have set a precedence … ..Your election… can be nullified just because a well-meaning officer tried to correct a mistake using tippex. We cannot, and we should never, nullify an Election if any irregularities do not affect the results of the election.”

The first thing that came to my mind reading the SONA was that while indeed a president can shoot the breeze (i.e. express his opinion) on any issue; the topic, the venue and the occasion matter.

Calling an unfavourable judgement a travesty of justice during the SONA is more than a mere expression of opinion because the SONA outlines policy.

Threats of treason are not matters to shoot the breeze about. Mutharika, saved by the bell in 2014, should be the first to know this.

Mutharika‘s SONA address, it is crystal clear, was intended to show the same Judiciary that swore him in, the middle finger.

Since the likelihood that Mutharika, like former president Mr Eleson Bakili Muluzi might frequent the courts in the near future is high, poking the middle finger at the Judiciary is plain ill-advised.

Coming from other lawyers, this would’ve been disappointing. However, coming from Mutharika, no one is surprised because the general consensus amongst lawyers and scholars is that he left the ‘lawyer’ that was hitherto in him in the USA.

Look here, the five Constitutional Court and seven Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judges painstakingly elaborated their reasoning.

They exhaustively considered the case’s two critical qualitative and quantitative aspects and their impact.

On the Quantitative test:

Were Mutharika following that case, he would have appreciated that it was actually a MEC witness, Mr Henzly Mukhondia’s testimony which informed the Court that MEC had depended on:

  • 1,593,334 votes recorded on duplicate forms,
  • 1,330,448 altered valid votes,
  • 1,120,104 tally sheets with no signatures,
  • 188,172 fake (unconventional) results sheets, and
  • 524,340 valid votes recorded on tippex sheets;

to declare Mutharika’s short-lived presidency.

These figures, mind you, were not disputed by anyone. I repeat, no one disputed these self-explanatory and for Mr Mukhondia, self-incriminating figures.

Now, given that the difference between say Mutharika and Chakwera was minimal as per MEC’s own figures, can anyone say the May 2019 election had passed the quantitative test?

Answer is a big NO.

Mukhondia’s cooked figures mean Mutharika’s, Chakwera’s and Chilima’s votes could have been anything.

The qualitative test?

As per the MSCA: “We are in full agreement with the holding by the Court below that the petitioners’ complaint alleging undue return and undue election ….were made out both qualitatively and quantitatively. We find the litany of irregularities…not only serious but troubling.”

Litany of irregularities. You get that?

Now, when Mutharika mumbles,

  • “We cannot, and we should never, nullify an Election if any irregularities do not affect the results of the Election.”
  • “The Court failed to show or prove that irregularities affected the result of the Election.”

What does he mean? Did he follow the case at all?

Do you see the second and third parallels between the worm guy and Mutharika?

Look at these two:

  1. a) Mutharika approached the 2014 elections casually banking on MEC to do the needful, i.e. create a space for him so that he can exploit irregularities.

He almost succeeded.

Unfortunately for Mutharika, MEC got caught.  Hence like with the worm guy, it didn’t end well.

  1. b) When the case was in Constitutional Court, Mutharika was banking on Mpinganjira to grease the system, buy the judgement and win.

When push came to shove, this scheme failed miserably because Mpinganjira got himself caught.

Hence, again like with the worm guy, it didn’t end well.

In other words Blues’ Orators, Mutharika is the quintessential ‘worm guy’ with a knack of boarding wrong buses only to scapegoat others as he is doing with the Judiciary.

I will repeat: Mutharika had from May 2014 to May 2019 to deliver. He didn’t. Today, he knows that Malawians want none of his lazy freerider types anymore. His antics, am sorry, will take him nowhere because Malawians want 100% compliance with February 3 Judgement as upheld by the MSCA.

As yet another law professor has put it, there is no rocket science required.

The facts of the matter are simple and straight forward:

  1. a) the 2019 presidential elections were lawfully nullified,
  2. b) Malawi will have a fresh presidential election, and
  3. c) all that Mutharika is doing are the kicks of a dying horse.

Period.

Get a life Prof Peter Mutharika, grow a pair and allow Malawi to move on.

 

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