By MANKHOKWE NAMUSANYA
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities,
to obey, to be ready for every good work.
(The Holy Bible, the epistle of Saint Paul the apostle to Titus, chapter 3:1)
THE small book, I mean the one given for free by the Gedions international and is found in most public places like some hotels, some hospitals, some prisons, some schools (especially boarding ones) etcetera, has an introduction. Nobody claims to have authored that introduction, nobody has claimed and nobody shall make me believe that he/she is the one who authored the introduction, but . . . someone somewhere somehow thought and scribbled the lines that compose the introduction. It is a good - a very good - introduction suitable for such a book that many a soul call Bible. One of the lines says and I quote: 'Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.' End of quote.
It is from that book, the small one that contains the New Testament and Psalms together with Proverbs, that the opening lines (the ones in italics) were taken. The lines, I strongly believe, are clear, loud and self-explanatory--no need to elaborate further or one might find himself saying what was not meant by the author. The lines simply tell us to be subject to our rulers, obey them and be ready for every good work (you can repeat good work if you want); that is to say, as citizens of a country we have to be subject to our law makers, members of parliament, cabinet ministers, presidents etcetera. We have to obey what (not whatever) they say to us, thus according to the pocket-sized Bible that was given to me sometime back when I was in my third class at secondary school.
During the period prior to the 2004 elections, the then president of Malawi who also happens to be the only legal chairman of the UDF (as in United Democratic Front and not Ukafuna Dilu Fatsa), Dr. Elson Bakili Muluzi, shocked some part of the Malawi nation when he announced that he was to stand again for the third time - something that the Malawi constitution is totally against. He tried all his best to change the constitution so that it accommodates his desires but it was all in vain, the common people and the politicians rejected such a rape of democracy. He tried by embroidering the third term bid in all ways he could such as 'third term' or 'open term' but it just hit a blank wall, the bids failed just as the man himself failed secondary education, thus according to one Thyolo man, Bingu Mutharika.
Seeing that his efforts to further rule the country had failed but the desire to cling on to power were there unambiguously, Muluzi then handpicked a person whom he felt was going to be his puppet - one who was to just respond to the title 'president' but leave the duty with him, Elson, so that he could continue selling companies and deposit the money into his personal accounts, and terrorize the innocent Malawians with his roughnecks who responded to the name 'young democrats' apart from indirectly supporting the cutting and selling of body parts by his boys, Bokhobokho and company.
So, Muluzi appointed Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika as his successor at the expense of party heavy weights such as Brown Mpinganjira, Harry Thomson, Sam Mpasu, Moses Dossi etcetera. He even did not consider his own vice president, the father of Qabaniso - Justin Malewezi. He went on a national wide tour selling his candidate and calling the other party members 'madeya' (literally meaning useless things only useful in times of GREAT famine as was the period he was president of the country).
And came the elections, people obeyed the leader then, Muluzi, and voted for his handpicked candidate at the expense of the other four contenders namely John Tembo, Gwandanguluwe Chakuamba, Brown Mpinganjira and Justin Malewezi. Of course, not many listened to Muluzi for Mutharika did not win with many votes but still he became the president of this great nation though he did not really start ruling for Muluzi seemed to have strongly wished to ring the bell while on the carrier and not the drivers' seat. He seemed to be still ruling behind the stage and those of us with eyes as of a cat and nose as of a dog saw and smelled trouble being brewed in the UDF camp.
Just some months down the line, the trouble started emerging and that was when the press became awash with stories of Muluzi disagreeing with Mutharika or the two in conflict. At first they were just mere rumors and you know how the rumors were quickly refuted. Then came the big issue, at a meeting that was to be held at Sanjika palace to reconcile the two, some members of the UDF were found with weapons, deadly weapons. The use of the weapons was not really known but Mutharika eventually cancelled the meeting and those found with weapons were charged with treason. Of course, the meeting was not held again and the only good thing that Mutharika did to Muluzi was dumping the UDF and taking the robes of power from him (Muluzi). Mutharika then formed his own Democratic Progressive party (DPP).
An infuriated Elson then started campaigning to come back to power as if he had not done it before through the third term and open term bids which were clearly rejected. He made noise about his comeback and some poor souls believed that he was really coming back before they were told by the electoral commission on March 20, 2009 AD that the man was not standing again for he had already served his 'maximum' ten years. Not believing this, the poor souls asked him if it was really true that he was a man who was just greedy for power but he denied and responded further by taking the matter to the courts under the guidance of an army of lawyers that could make a judge shiver but again he was told the same message: 'you are not supposed to stand again and destroy the country that has now improved!'
Bitterly, he told his supporters to go and vote for John Tembo as president for his party and MCP are in an alliance. It sounded very strange for Muluzi himself told the same supporters that Tembo is a big crook. In his own words he said,
“Tembo is a murderer; he wanted all the Catholic bishops to be killed when they were challenging Dr Banda's dictatorship. John Tembo is the one responsible for the Mwanza murders. His hands are stained with blood. He does things craftily that when he does something bad, you just cannot recognize him. Amayi ndi Abambo (ladies and gentlemen), I can't recommend Tembo for you.”
And Muluzi said all this when he was the leader, a ruler to be obeyed. I obeyed him then for the Bible commanded me to do so not for the love of it, I did not vote for Tembo. Now, he is directing me to the same Tembo. I doubt his sanity and intelligence. My small book which was given to me by the Gedions international tells me that I should not listen to him for he is a liar and all liars have one father-the devil- and if his father is the devil he also has to be a . . . (withheld, but please don't suggest devil).
I shall only be subject to rulers as the Holy Bible says and I shall obey them thoroughly and not obey some former president who failed to do nothing during his tenure but is still greedy for power and is directing me to his 'relatives' (be they in-laws or what) who are not even better than him as he himself already said.