It pains to be leader of a country where the main opposition party is unruly.
Elsewhere, an opposition party that dreams to form government, is always patient, responsible and non-militant.
Any opposition party that looks impatient and always agitating for power even years before the elections, raises much suspicion that it could be up to something other than power itself.
Have you seen the way the Malawi leader of opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, is behaving these days?
You are the one who should tell whether he looks any patient towards power or not. But be afraid, if he doesn’t look patient, for he might be up to something else other than what you expect.
This is the best time to see if the opposition party leaders can form a good government or not.
Remember, patient, should be the first virtue you have to look into them.
It feels like betrayal to be a leader of some unpatriotic humans. I mean the noble party that never leaves politics aside and work with the party in power for the good of the country’s development.
The Malawi opposition leader, expects the government to rain on the people development, while he watches, without even daring to provide constructive criticism.
Above all, a good opposition party should be patriotic.
Patriotism forms the foundation of the spirit to develop a nation.
This is why Malawi’s presidents have always called the leaders and the common people to be patriotic.
The presidential call to patriotism has been manifested differently in Malawi starting from Kamuzu Banda, Malawi’s first president.
Banda embedded his call to patriotism in the four pillars of unity, discipline, obedience and loyalty.
He made his call as earlier as possible before even outlining his vision for Malawi.
In making the call, he wanted Malawians, even those that were not happy seeing him in power to listen to their leader.
In the period after his release from Gwelo prison in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), in 1958, Banda’s asked for calm among Malawians, who were preparing to engage in fight with the British settlers.
This could be one of the first call to patriotism. And he said:
“I want you to be peaceful. Everybody must be peaceful and quiet…There must be peace in this country from Port Herald to Karonga. Do not spoil my work. If you listen to me you will get your own Government. If you do not listen to me you will not get anything…”
In that call to patriotism, Banda expected that the leaders and followers listen to him for the love of the country.
From the beginning, Banda strived to forge out a nation that listen to their leaders.
One wonders, why Chakwera is not willing to learn from the MCP’s former leader, Kamuzu Banda, that the country needs peace and that the opposition leaders and citizens should listen to the leader for the good of the country.
President Bakili Muluzi also called Malawians to be patriotic in avoiding to backslide to a one-party state after attaining a democratic government.
President Bingu wa Mutharika’s call to patriotism was also very loud and marked.
In his inaugural address to the nation on May 24, 2004 at Kamuzu Stadium, he stated that, ‘discipline and hard work be the pillars of his government:
“As we move towards one destiny, a consensus has emerged that Malawi will not be developed by foreigners. We, the Malawians, must take full ownership of the economy. We alone must develop our country. We alone must pull ourselves out of poverty. Our future is in our own hands.”
President Joyce Banda also had her own expressions of making the call to patriotism.
President Peter Mutharika, has made the call to patriotism more pronounced by picking it as one of his three pillars of governance, the remaining being integrity and hard work.
Once again, the President is calling on Malawians to patriotism.
This call to patriotism, extends to both the government and the opposition political parties.
Usually, the leaders’ invitations to patriotism are calls to develop the nation together. Yet most of the times, the opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera blames the leaders for failing Malawians.
Yet, it is not too late for Chakwera to get to be a patriotic leader of opposition.
Chakwera can learn from the satirical poem below by W. H. Auden, titled ‘The Unknown Citizens’. The poem well schools leaders of opposition parties such as Chakwera on what it means to be patriotic. Here it goes:
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of the year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
Auden, the author, uses the poem in exploring the praises engraved on a monument or tombstone which a government erected to honour an unknown perfect citizen.
The poet looks at the praises this government showers on this unknown person. Through the praises, he reveals what a government expects of its citizens.
The poem also explores how societies and governments define their people and asks the question of who a perfect citizen is, in this case who a perfect leader of opposition is.
For example, he always paid his dues in the instalment plan and government tax. He was health insured and followed good health and hygiene guidance.
Interestingly, he was also married and had five children, the required maximum number of children that his government asked for.
He served his government and went to war when his country was in a war and he was for peace when there was peace.
The perfect citizen was liked by the press as he bought a newspaper every day to keep himself better informed of the developments in country.
But he was not a violent protester who always went to the streets or on strike, though he was not a scab. He always held the right opinion at the right time.
The persona in the poem above, tells the ways of a perfect and patriotic citizen and also teaches how leaders of the government and opposition parties ought to behave.
It is impossible be perfect but Chakwera can make a good attempt, as his current political behaviour reveals the beast of a leader we are taming. Chakwera must learn from the patience that President Peter Mutharika exercised when Joyce Banda was the president.
(BY NYONI WA NYONI)