Not for our Muluzi to learn from
BY Steven Nhlane10:04:46 - 24 October 2007
This column has never been mean when it comes to giving praise where it is due. Among those who can bear testimony to this include Kalonga Gawa Undi on the recent Kulamba ceremony in Zambia and the elevations of Chikulamayembe and Kyungu chieftaincies to the status of Paramount Chief as well as Kaluluma to Senior Chief. But former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano's achievement for winning the Africa Leadership Prize does not draw any comparisons. The prize goes with a whopping U$5million (K700million) to be given out over a period of 10 years. There are other prizes. These include U$200,000 (K28million) annually for life, thereafter, and U$200,000 (K28million) a year for 10 years towards public interest activities and good causes.Chissano has beaten the likes of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, Botswana's Ketumile Masire, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Tanzania's Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa, Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, and of course, our own Bakili Muluzi. Chissano, we are told, won the prize for his achievements in bringing peace, reconciliation, stable democracy and economic progress to his country as well as for not seeking a third term which the constitution allowed.It is very tempting for many Malawians to remind our own former president, Bakili Muluzi, that what Chissano has achieved, he too could have achieved, in fact with much ease, considering that Malawi was much better off in many ways than Mozambique in 1994 when our Muluzi became president of this country. The main difference is that when Chissano took over the reins of power, he focused his fight on poverty brought about by the ravages of a 16-year-war, and the need to bring about democracy in his country. On the other hand, when our Muluzi wrested power from Kamuzu, he expended most of his energies on fighting political enemies rather than poverty. The other difference between the two former presidents is that when Chissano saw that he had done enough for his country, he voluntarily stepped down so that others waiting in the wings, could continue to build on the strong foundation he had laid down; a virtue that continues to elude our Muluzi to this day. And so we can say without fear of contradiction that as things are now, our Muluzi is far past the learning process, because he will not want to contradict himself now by bowing out of the presidential race after already declaring himself a candidate.By his own declaration---if what a BBC website report is anything to go by, he does not want to be an ex-president, meaning that should he be allowed to contest and then win the presidency, he will want to rule this country for life. It does not occur to him that there are over 14 million Malawians, many of whom are better qualified to rule this country than him. True, Chissano is a role-model not just for Africa but for the rest of the world, but his achievements are not for our Muluzi to learn from.