AS President Joyce Banda leads the nation in mourning the passing of President Bingu wa Mutharika, the Muckraking community would like to assure the new President that it will still be there to play the patriotic card to the letter. Abiti Mtila has assumed office at a time when the Big Kahuna's ratings were at their lowest ebb. There’s lots of goodwill for the new President, everyone wants her to succeed.
In fact success is there for the taking for her; what she has to do is just to be different from her predecessor.
Bingu was a saint in his first five years. Things begun going south when power went to his head and he started getting illusions that it was a privilege - not a right - for Malawians to have a leader who was delivering the goods. Suddenly the man who was a darling to all between 2004 and 2009 started picking up needless fights with all and sundry. Soon the man who was a friend to all became nobody's friend.
On April 5 Bingu died a sad man. If someone was not calling for his resignation, someone was planning a vigil against his crazy policies. Indeed wide-cats strikes were on the cards as scathing pastoral letters were coming off the presses with reckless abandon.
The Big Kahuna was boxed to a lonely corner. But all this was because Bingu mistook Malawians' ringing endorsement in 2009 as a passport to play god. Suddenly he thought he was bigger than Malawi. Sadly people who surrounded him and had a chance to slow him down let him go to the precipice.
Culturally, you are not supposed to talk ill of the dead. Oh, how we wish the Big Kahuna had seen off his term to realise how his policies were destructive!
But God has his own ways. As we mourn our dear departed leader the muckraking community has a patriotic duty to put the in-coming leader on notice that should she slip up through bad advice or otherwise she should be assured she will hear from us.
Mme Banda enters the New State House at a time when Malawi's economy is literally on its knees; there’s no forex in banks; we spend 10 hours to access 10 litres of fuel while poor Malawians are needlessly dying because there’re no essential drugs in public hospitals.
Abiti Mtila's job is cut out for her, the whole nation looks up to President Banda to put to rights these wrongs. There is palpable goodwill for southern Africa's first female leader - and Africa's second. Indeed the euphoria surrounding the crowning of Mama Joyce is palpable. She will squander the goodwill if she lets power get to her head.
The muckraking community wishes her all the best. But if she begins to think she is the be-all and end-all for Malawi and that the rest of the 15 million of us are trash - like her predecessor tried to think - she will hear from the Muckraker!