As the May 20, 2014 elections draws closer and closer, there is something exercising Malawians’ mind—re-or de-Bandaize post-election government. In as much as this is a pretty tricky case to decide, one cannot play escapist to reality; that is, either ‘re-‘ or ‘de-‘ will most certainly be the case.
And which is better: re-Bandaization or de-Bandaization? Undeniably, there is a lot to consider before answering this question. This be true as it may, one way to doing this would be to consider how President Joyce Banda has fared in the two years of her leadership.
Debatably, president Banda has had a rough ride in the presidency. In fact, unlike her predecessors, she has learnt it the hard way that the glamor and thrill of being president has its own share of attendant discomforts. For instance, Malawians woke to witness a kids revolution, braced the unmitigated kwacha devaluation, and had their patience tested in the infamous cashgate and all that jazz.
Hardly ever has in Malawi been a kids revolution. Thanks to the Banda-led government Malawians have come to see one. It was a sad scene, a disgraceful scene so to speak, to see the streets in Blantyre filled to the brim by Primary School kids protesting the leadership style of president Banda.
Before the kids revolution there was the citizens’ general discomfort with the skyrocketing commodity prices due to the devaluation of the Kwacha without any set out let alone rolled out cushioning measures. To this day, prices of commodities are ever raised every passing day and people’s salaries remain as far stagnant as never before.
As the above is not enough, president Banda has been widely blamed for blowing taxpayers’ money on trips whose costs far exceeds its benefits. In just two years, president Banda has globetrotted like she has been contracted to write a travelogue. Just imagine, in just two years, she has travelled to Nigeria—for spiritual (and state?) purposes—more than five times. All the travel for whose benefits? Friends and family perhaps. But surely, not for the benefit of the common man and woman—to be precise, you and me—as there has been no or little national interests in these visits.
To add insult to injury, president Banda is said to be the only president, and history is witness to this, who seems to have no original idea of her own. It is common to hear from her that so-and-so had advised her to do a b c d and blahh blahh blahh. Malawians have wondered, arguably for the right reasons, as to what will come of Malawi should the wells of her ideas run dry. Will she then tap into her inner self and direct Malawi towards progress and prosperity? “If she has that inner self to tap from, why not tap now”, some may ask.
And now the Capital Hill looting. It is saddening to note that there is too much singing and dancing and little drumming on the cashgate bash. Frankly, there is just too much noise and little progress on the cashgate saga. Is it that there is no evidence? No! Is it that there the state machinery has no resources to timely conclude the investigations? No! Is it that there is no political will? Yes! And a lot of cover-ups? Yes! Or is it that all this is because the mother-cashgator is untouchable? Absolutely!
No one should pretend that President Joyce Banda has done literally nothing to be remembered for in Malawi. It is obvious that president Banda will go in the annals of Malawi history as the only president to have elevated chiefs to senior chieftaincy. It has been discussed elsewhere that at the rate president Banda is elevating chiefs, all chiefs in Malawi would be senior chiefs should she be given another two years.
Of course this author is not blind to the fact that president Banda has worked hard to restore bilateral relations. It is a plus for her on this one. Though, sadly, donors are fast losing confidence in her administration thanks to….
Again, the Mudzi Transformation Trust is still another positive achievement of Her Excellency’s government. The only minus here is that the Trust seems to be on tract on the theoretical level but practically the infrastructures born of the Trust are of substandard quality and hardly worth writing home about.
And now back to the question: given our considered view about President Joyce Banda’s standing in the past two years, is re-Bandaizing the post May, 2014 government a good way to go? Or, sorry to the undecided voters, de-Bandaization is the option? Here, your guess is as good as the author’s.