OPINION ( Z Allan Ntata) –There are reports flying around that former Speaker of Parliament, Chimunthu Banda is planning to come out of retirement and re-join the DPP with the objective of becoming that party’s running mate to Peter Mutharika in 2019.
Other reports indicate that Sidik Mia, formerly of UDF, DPP and the PP has now crossed his heart and sworn total and unadulterated allegiance to the Malawi Congress Party, also with the ambition of becoming that party’s running mate to Dr Lazarus Chakwera in 2019.
Without equivocation, let me declare openly that the idea of these people still believing they can still contribute to the Malawian political scene is as disgusting as the Malawian political framework that allows for such political prostitution to happen, and as pathetic as we, the people who allow these political prostitutes to continue ruining our country with their lack of morals.
These people are essentially failures; political harlots that have no other objective now but to glean as much personal financial gain as possible from the Malawi government coffers before they die.
Personally, I stand with Marcus Cicero’s observation that “Greed and corruption in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase one’s provisions for the road, the nearer one approaches the journey’s end?”
What more does Mia or Chimunthu Banda got to offer Malawian politics?
To be totally frank, I don’t even believe that ageing warhorses like Peter Mutharika and Lazarus Chakwera should be the people we bank our national hopes on in 2019.
Let us think carefully about this. Why on earth would we want another five years of Peter Mutharika? And what has Lazarus Chakwera done in his time as opposition leader to demonstrate that he could be the next, Malawian Magufuli? I will tell you the answer. Nothing!
So, what is this suicidal love we have for geriatrics in our politics? Is it not clear that these old guys are ruining the country? Peter Mutharika? Has anyone sat close to Goodall Gondwe in a meeting lately? Are you sure the old man is not senile? Do I even have to say anything at all about George Chaponda? Shouldn’t these grandparents be at home enjoying retirement?
Surely there must come a time in every politician’s life when he must recognise that the old wineskins are no longer good enough for the new political wine. It is important when such moments arrive to accept respectably the inevitable and go out with dignity.
This is the mark of true statesmanship. Is it not curious and even tragic that failed politicians like Mia and Chimunthu are continuing to cling on to the political podium and refusing to accept their call to statesmanship?
Why do they prefer, instead, to paint ugly blemishes on their sometimes-distinguished career walls by clinging to a political career that is clearly past its sell-by date?
It is sad to see obviously clueless politicians Like Goodall Gondwe and Peter Mutharika still believing they can contribute their old and out-dated ideas to the contemporary and rapidly changing political agenda particularly when those politicians have been tried on the Malawian political scales, and found desperately wanting.
Sidik Mia and Chimunthu Banda and all these other old and recycled politicians need to stop trying to be in every political administration that forms government and follow the dignified example set by such luminaries as Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and even our very own Justin Malewezi or the late Aleke Banda.
Malewezi retired from active politics to become an advocate on HIV/AIDS related issues. Veteran politician, the late Aleke Banda, who could just as easily have decided to follow the example of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Bakili Muluzi of Malawi who vehemently refused to quit in the face of growing scepticism about their relevance in contemporary politics, decided to take a road less travelled by most African politicians. He retired and set a commendable example which some of these political prostitutes need desperately to follow.
Besides the obvious financial benefits, it is very hard to see why ageing politicians disdainfully turn their back on statesmanship and the joy and responsibility of grooming younger politicians to take their place.
Why do we as Malawians make it acceptable and so easy for these immoral and amoral geriatrics to trade in long-term honour and legacy for an immediate financial mess of pottage?
Why should tired and spent politicians continue to grace the corridors of power when it has always been an accepted that power and strength are essentially virtues of the youth?
The crucial but often overlooked fact is this: In clinging to politics after they have had their day, these clueless politicians compromise the development of the nation. They have no grasp of current issues in world affairs and national macroeconomics.
Further, intelligent young men who would otherwise have taken their rightful places in the corridors of power are prevented from bringing their fresh and innovative ideas to the political table.
The result is that the country is deprived of novel and original ideas, and ends up recycling old notions that lost their efficacy sometime in the last millennium!
The only justification a veteran politician can have for remaining in politics is if they can point to a track record of performance and achievement in the rapidly changing economic environment.
Mutharika cannot do that. Goodall Gondwe cannot do that, and certainly neither can Sidik Mia nor Chimunthu Banda. So let me ask the question again: What do these people want in politics?
Even an ageing war general must sooner or later come to terms with reality, admit his time for close combat is over, and surrender his rifle. Likewise, the true political patriot must accept when it is time to put down the microphone, step off the podium, and take an advisory rather than a leading role in politics.
The example being set by Mia, Chimunthu and all these geriatrics still clinging to politics in their old age is a dangerous one, and an ominous omen for the future of our country.
Veteran politicians need to realise that even in politics, there is always an expiry date to one’s political usefulness. There are better causes that they should dedicate their time to instead of clinging to politics.
As Malawians, it is our responsibility to send a strong message to geriatric political prostitutes. We do not want clueless old people, most of them proven failures, joining political parties to cadet handclapping and women ululations as if this is some kind of great achievement for any party.
No, Chimunthu joining the DPP is a sign that the DPP is not progressive and is desperate for some credible names to be on its letterhead to provide an illusion of relevance and validity.
The same applies when MCP moves heaven and earth to accommodate a proven disloyal and perfidious Sidik Mia in its ranks.
Is there really such a bankruptcy of fresh-minded, credible people to join politics in this country?
If these political grandpas want to remain in politics, they should be allowed to to stay only on the peripherals of politics, advising and assisting the younger generation, or pursuing altruistic causes, they would ensure respectability and would eventually go down in Malawian history as true patriots.
I believe it is our responsibility as Malawians to demand political temperance. The place to begin is by rejecting political prostitution, especially that being practiced by these old people who have nothing but only self-enrichment in their minds.