Saturday, August 10, 2013

When Incumbency Gives Edge: The Tale of President Joyce Banda

The story here is not of giving “Edge” as meaning a name as in Professor Edge Kanyongolo—the Chancellor College law lecturer best known for his straightforwardness and cold citation of Constitution clauses—; surely not about him. But it is of “edge” as in giving advantage due to ones position. And in this case it is a story about President Joyce Banda as she gets an edge over opposition political party presidents from her incumbency.

Arguably, no president in Malawi, in as far as history can testify, has ever received heated and strongly worded criticisms from Malawians in the early days of the presidency than has the incumbent Joyce Banda. No specific explanation would be given, but it nonetheless does not hurt to posit that one overarching drive for such has been the incumbent’s gender.

That be true as it may, it would be uninteresting to be bogged down in the gender discourse. For this reason, it would do the wiser readership justice if essentials of presidency are discussed and see if Joyce Banda is ever worth the presidency.

Thanks to globalization, common knowledge and daily experience tells us that the presidency demands more than physical maturity and dictates of one’s political party choice. More importantly, the presidency is about harnessing all of a country’s resources to meaningful development agenda and living that agenda.

The lessons of past experience as guided by realistic expectations and as informed by events of world politics has led Malawians to concluding that president Joyce Banda is way wayward in forging vision and directing the business of government. To this end therefore, those in the know have stated, as the author hereinafter does, that she is nowhere near the modern definition of leadership and management.

Knowing the above, however, does not mean she is a sitting target come 2014 elections. There is a more powerful reason to opposition political parties to fear President Joyce Banda; and reason is her incumbency.

It be stated clearly from the onset that the events of world politics should inform any serious and well-meaning politician that ruling parties hardly ever lose elections. And that being the case with Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) led government; it can only be advised that those that aspire to unseat her should better know the buttons to press to do that.

Rarely does a sitting government get unseated. Those holding the contrary opinion might cite the recent political events in Zambia argue attack the incumbent-hardly-loses assertion and pat their backs for an argument well-articulated. But, the author still maintains that the incumbent is ninety nine percent out of hundred most likely to win and that the Zambia case is simply one haphazard chance in million and thus offering no real insights about election outcomes.

Here, it is then categorically stated that with all the channels of communication open to her, with all the fame that goes with being president, and with all the external links and bilateral relations with neighboring and overseas countries, an incumbent president playing the by the rules of the game of politics, is always guaranteed elections victory.
With her incumbency, Joyce Banda has the state machinery at her disposal. She can maneuver every perceived or imagined obstacle on her and create sour environments for her competitors in the name of following the dictates of the constitution. 

She may be clean in dirty games presently, but who knows, she may choose to knock opposition political party presidents the Machiavellian way. This should be little surprising given the fact that politics knows no morals. Whatever it is that shall guarantee her entry into government come 2014, she shall pursue it with all her energy and resources—whether the resources are personal, party or state.

Just like President Joyce Banda, almost no opposition politician, not even the young Muluzi, has any well-articulated vision for Malawi. This fact adds weight to Joyce Banda incumbency thus making her an even outright victor now—and even more so in 2014.

Mind you, Atupele Muluzi’s talk shops do not qualify for a vision, unless he so clearly explains how a free secondary education is plausible in Malawi given the fact that we are failing to provide quality education in primary schools where the education is free.
In resting the argument, the author is tempted to comment that it is true that President Joyce Banda does not have a conceivable and practicable vision for Malawi just like Peter Mutharika, Atupele Muluzi, and JZU. She nonetheless poised to win the 2014 elections as president because her incumbency gives her an edge.

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