Chissano’s win, lesson for Muluzi
BY The Daily Times14:09:54 - 23 October 2007
That Mozambique’s former president Joachim Chissano is the first laureate of the inaugural Mo Ibrahim award only serves as a timely lesson to our own former president Bakili Muluzi who refuses to retire from active politics, but instead is armed to the teeth to bounce back to presidency.One could only imagine how Muluzi would convey his congratulatory message to his buddy Chissano.The Mozambique ex-president track record is an illustrious one. He came to power in 1986 upon the death of Mozambique’s first president Samora Machel. Having steered the country to peace, stability and democracy and strong economic progress, he voluntarily stepped down from power in 2004, despite the country’s constitution allowing him to run for a third term in office.Today, Chissano wallows in the aura of a real elder statesman, honouring invitations from organisations like the United Nations to be either an envoy or a peace negotiator. The wads of dollars he will get from the prestigious award only add to an already comfortable retired president.But to Muluzi, this entire tale does not count an inch.Here is a man who unsuccessfully manoeuvred for a third term in office by trying to amend the constitution of the country that barred him from doing so.He did not stop at that, but went further to implement his Plan B by imposing a successor on his party, eventually on all Malawians, whom he wanted to remote-control when out of office. Having failed on his Plan B, he is now decisively geared to execute Plan C, which is to stand for presidency again in 2009 and remove Mutharika from power at all cost. His party seems powerless to stop him in his tracks. Honestly, this is a terribly sad tale for an ex-president.With such a tale, the country should in the meantime forget about producing an elderly statesman like Chissano that we could all be proud of.With the record Muluzi holds after handing over power to his successor, who could assign him as a peace negotiator elsewhere, let alone an envoy?How proud would the United Democratic Front party and the entire country be if Muluzi had won the award? This country cries for an elder statesman who everybody would look up to in times of political impasses like the recently ended budget saga.This country desperately needs a peace ambassador that the UN could send to mediate between warring factions elsewhere. Unfortunately, the sole candidate for the post lives in his own world and believes completely otherwise. He has turned his retirement home into a campaign centre for his comeback and is geared to spend every penny in his kitty to fulfil his ambition.We only wish Chissano’s win could pump sense into Muluzi’s head for him to appreciate that not all is lost after relinquishing power to a successor.