Naming and shaming in Malawi

You know that a president has lost the plot (and the sub-plot) when he starts naming buildings after himself while still in office - as Malawi's increasingly erratic ruler has just done.

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

March 1st, 2012

You know that a president has lost the plot (and the sub-plot) when he starts naming buildings after himself while still in office - as Malawi's increasingly erratic ruler has just done.

When it is finally finished, the lavish new Chinese-built conference centre in Lilongwe will be known as the Bingu International Conference Centre. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see - when the official plaque is unveiled - that his most grandiose dreams have been realised and that the African Union will find itself holding its mid-year summit at the Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika International Conference Centre.

It is yet another alarming indication of how far Malawi has slid back towards the bad old days of personality cults. I'm sure that his apologists will point to the 'fact' that it was the Cabinet's idea - a suggestion that only serves to highlight how the the Cabinet members (who are meant, remember, to serve all Malawians rather than the one big man) are now little more than praise-singers for His Excellency.

I wonder what bit of infrastructure will next be named in his honour?

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