"Aaah! The president is travelling too much; the president and her Vice are always together, ooh!? Did you want them to be sitting in your mother’s and father's homes? Do you want your mothers and fathers to be the ones travelling? Shame on you!" - VP Khumbo Kachali, speaking in Karonga on September 12, 2012.
The VP’s statement puts paid to Sydney J. Harris’s assertion that “Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.”
The folly of replaying a cracked record:
Long before this particular VP became somebody, former president Bakili Muluzi – dubbed the most ineffectual president Malawi ever until Bingu wa Mutharika messed up; said more or less the same thing when advised to reduce presidential tourism.
There is today, not much to show for the expeditions that Muluzi made from 1994 to 2004.
In fact, most of the structures that Muluzi commissioned: a repertoire consisting of toilet buildings and the odd fence (ostensibly to curtail drug pilferage), are no longer functional nor erect.
Is this a sign of things to come?
The VP’s boss, President Joyce Banda, has said many times that the Malawi economy is in dire straits.
To this effect she is engaging donors, accepting in due course all sorts of semi-suicidal measures and kamikaze policies in a frantic effort to pull things together.
The budget 2012/13 is therefore not a budget that anyone in his right mind can abuse by, among other things, travelling pointlessly.
Of course the President miscued by authorising increase of travel allowances because following the policy statement from the VP, it appears that cabinet ministers have been licenced to travel with little or no regard to the economic woes dodging Malawi, as long as number one is OK.
The VP’s shameless diatribe on critics:
Speaking in Karonga when officially opening a multimillion kwacha Lupaso Multipurpose Community Telecentre, the VP chose to bite the very hand that’s feeds him saying the presidency, in the endless travels, doesn’t use money belonging to the parents of their critics hence they shouldn’t waste their time because the travels are far from over.
What the VP seems to be oblivious to is the fact that the critics pay taxes, which fund his salary, his pilgrimages all over Malawi and what have you.
He therefore doesn’t only “eat the critics’ mothers’ money” but also living on their sweat.
"As long as we are serving, we will never stop visiting you Malawians, anywhere where chiefs want us to go, we will be there.
They say 'you are travelling excessively', do we travel to your mothers' homes?" said Kachali attracting applause from misguided party members drunk with the exhilaration of unexpected change of fortunes.
Kachali went on to justify the extensive travel as the only way the President and him can know and have first-hand versions of the concerns of Malawians.
Very shallow reasoning, I say; gibberish in its worst form.
If this pedestrian level of thinking is a reflection of the seriousness with which President Joyce Banda’s government is going to “develop the country and bring the economy back on track”; then we are in deep trouble.
I can think of four immediate repercussions:
1. A fall out with the donors propping this fragile government is in the offing;
2. More erosion of supporters who are by the day demanding better governance;
3. More acidic censure from critical but nevertheless patriotic Malawians who distaste mediocrity and impunity – in any form; and
4. Wide-ranging empathy to no-nonsense John Kapito’s recent call to arms.
All these point to trouble ahead!
The point is: the masses, the striking workers and the unemployed youths will not eat presidential visits; there will therefore be a backlash.
Shame on the VP:
Coming to the applauding orange team, one has to be high on something to clap hands for a VP wallowing in mud.
If indeed the travels were meant to enable the president and her VP to get “first-hand versions of the concerns of Malawians”; there are many cheaper alternatives.
The supreme irony is that the VP was oblivious to the fact that he was commissioning an ICT initiative - which he and the President should be the first to use to:
· share their vision and
· listen to Malawians
without needlessly burning fuel nor wasting thousands on allowances for their entourages and security detail.
Is all well with this vice president?
On top of this (ICT) we have the media: television, a chorale of radio stations, and several newspapers that can disseminate messages from the president and her hangers-on and relay public concerns to government.
Government has always had structures at all levels. What are the District Commissioners; Chiefs, and other local government officials paid for?
All along the ruling People’s Party has claimed to have grass-root structures. Why not use those structures to collect public sentiment.
Does the VP’s justification make sense to anyone? My take is: shame should be on him, not on his critics.
A vice-presidency thrown to the dogs:
"As long as we are serving, we will never stop visiting you Malawians, anywhere where chiefs want us to go, we will be there. They say 'you are travelling excessively', do we travel to your mothers' homes?" VP Khumbo Kachali.
Writing off this particular VP wouldn’t be a bad idea. Much like the 2004 to 2009 term; and the first part of this term, we might as will not have one.
With such a mentality, the highest this gentleman should have been elevated to is the rank of a regional governor. One word from Taylor Caldwell sums all this up: unless the arrogance of officialdom is tempered and controlled, Rome will undoubtedly fall!
©2012 The Maravi Post.