Chickens coming home to roost

A few months ago, Bingu wa Mutharika, called his fellow Malawians 'chickens' for having the audacity to criticise him and complain about the way he was 'governing' them. Well the chickens are certainly coming home to roost now for the craven bunch of apologists and praises-singers (sorry Cabinet members and other senior officials) who backed Bingu's personalisation of the State.

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

April 11th, 2012

A few months ago, Bingu wa Mutharika, called his fellow Malawians 'chickens' for having the audacity to criticise him and complain about the way he was 'governing' them. Well the chickens are certainly coming home to roost now for the craven bunch of apologists and praises-singers (sorry Cabinet members and other senior officials) who backed Bingu's personalisation of the State.

They must have been supremely confident that their abuse of state power and their brazen attacks on the rule of law and the fabric of the constitution would see Bingu's brother Peter take over at State House in 2014 - allowing them to enjoy their control of the state (and its coffers and its broadcaster) for years to come. Instead, they find themselves faced with a President in Joyce Banda, who many of them delighted in publicly attacking and ridiculing over the past three years - and who seems intent on making them pay for their crimes and misdemeanours.

Already she has sacked the former police chief, Peter Mukhito, who I'm guessing knew what was coming and had already packed up his possessions and shredded any potentially damaging documents long before the call came through. He had, after all, presided over a police force that had become a defender of the regime rather than the people. Indeed, a force that had been repsonsible for the killing of 18 innocent protestors in July last year. I'm also guessing that he is already in touch with lawyers because there will surely be an investigations into those deaths - just as there is going to be an independent inquiry into the murder of Robert Chisorwa, a student who paid with his life for criticising the president.

And the Minister of (dis)Information has also gone - but then it's hard to keep your job if you publicly say the president is alive more than a day after doctors have pronounced him dead. And unsurisingly, the head of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) was also fired. Under his control, the MBC had become a mockery of a state broadcaster. It was to all intents and purposes the Mutharika Broadcasting Corporation - and was used on numerous occassions to savagely attack Joyce Banda (as well as any other dissenting voices).

And there will clearly be more. Indeed, will any of the Cabinet or other senior officials promoted by Bingu survive the cull?

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