Opinion: Malawians must rebel and abstain in any subsequent election Emancipation from politics once and for all

Relaxed Peter Mutharika


According to the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2013 77 percent of Malawi’s labor force worked in agriculture and only 4 percent in industry, 76 percent worked in agriculture in 2019 according to World Bank data. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Index of African Governance 2020, Malawi’s rural sector ranks #33 among 54 nations in Africa down from #29 in 2018, with weak performance in rural market access #34, rural sector support #35 and rural businesses & organizations #29. According to the Global Food Security Index 2021, Malawi ranks #110 among 113 nations, #113 in food affordability (last), #100 in food availability and #102 in quality and safety. In the Global Hunger Index 2021, Malawi ranks #81 among 116 nations with a level of hunger considered serious. Stunting in children under 5 dropped from 44.8 percent in 2012 to 39 percent in 2020 and 40.9 percent in 2021, but was still exceptionally high. I analyze malnutrition and stunting in Chapter 31 Phildonesia section Timor Leste. Undernourishment increased from 15.9 percent in 2012 to 17.3 percent in 2021.

In 2015 The Guardian reminds that “Malawi study reveals devastating cost of child undernutrition”, observing the social and economic impact of “inadequate nourishment in early life”. In 2019 Lilongwe University of Agriculture lecturer Zione Kalumikiza (zkalumikiza@bunda.luanar.mw) writes about “the nutrition landscape in Malawi”. Dr Zione Kalumikiza reminds in 2019:

Action is needed as the cost of not acting is huge. The “cost of hunger” for Malawi highlighted that child undernutrition caused an overwhelming $597 million in social and economic cost in 2012, which equaled 10.3 percent of the country’s GDP.

According to Webometrics, in 2022 among Malawi’s 23 universities, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) ranks #9387. Luanar’s vision is “to be a World class university”, it will have to be though much better funded. In 2022 Luanar alumna Edith Gondwe (gondweed@msu.edu) was pursuing a doctorate at Michigan State University under the supervision of professor Abigail Bennett (benne592@msu.edu), with research interest “related to value chains and food security especially related to small scale fisheries in Subsaharan region”.

In Yale environmental performance index 2020, Malawi ranks #112 overall, #163 in water and sanitation, unranked in fisheries (in spite of the fact that Malawi can tap fisheries from Lake Malawi), and #87 in agriculture. As explained later in this chapter in 2020 Zambia and Zimbabwe were on the brink of famine because of the worst drought in four decades associated to the impact of climate change that even dried the Victoria falls.

Malawi went through its worst famine ever in 2002, according to BBC in a story reported by Raphael Tenthani. Uladi B. Mussa was Malawi’s minister of agriculture at the time. Ellard Malindi was secretary of agriculture. A report released by the World Development Movement at the time, blamed IMF for the famine, arguing the IMF was responsible for “the ongoing privatisation of the food production and distribution system, removal of agricultural subsidies to small farmers and deregulation of price controls on staple foods such as maize”. I certainly concur.

Three years later in 2005 “five million face death as famine grips Malawi”. In 2016 Malawi faces the worst food crisis in a decade “requiring $61 million in relief aid”, “the biggest crisis in a generation”. In 2016 The Guardian reminds “the worst food crisis since 1985 looms for 50 million” blaming the famine this time on droughts certainly associated to climate change. Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri wrote the foreword to my global plan in 2018, included in Chapter 0 Introduction.

The World Food Program, charities and international donors will never resolve food shortages, only timidly mitigate their effects making famines smoother, more digestable for Western media which only pays attention when destruction and devastation have hit hard. I reviewed the state of affairs of the World’s agriculture in Chapter 6 Agriculture of The Monfort Plan, I will not do it again, my analysis then prevails in 2022. But whereas my 2010 analysis was global, I will conduct a domestic analysis for Malawi in this section.

Of course it is easy to blame the IMF or the Malawian government for the pitfalls of Malawi’s agricultural sector. The fact of the matter is that together we can change the future outlook of Malawi’s agriculture if we work in synergy and symbiosis and combat famine as Malawi’s number one enemy hereafter. No more food shortages are acceptable, no more malnutrition or stunting, of course much easier said than done. But do it we must, or as the celebrated motto of the World’s best known sports apparel manufacturer reads “just do it”.

I am a native of Spain. Spanish refrains and proverbs are abundant. One says “coger al toro por los cuernos” in other words, in a bullfight grab the bull by the horns. Food shortages and famine are Malawi’s bull and as bullfighters we must learn to tame the beast, grabbing the beast by the horns, making sure no further harm is done ever again. I never went to a bullfight (corrida de toros) and never felt at ease with the killing of the bull, but the metaphor still applies and applies well to Malawi, which must kill its beast once and for all, there are no other scenarios or endings to the story, period. Whatever has not worked in the past, dump it, including IMF, World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program, politics and charities. I find involvement of charities from Britain and Ireland laughable, despicable, Britain and Ireland have become the World’s greatest cheaters and burglars, stealing corporate tax (Ireland) and enabling tax havens (Britain) in a dynamics of impunity Raymond Baker denounced in his 2005 masterpiece “Capitalism’s Achilles Heel”. It is ironic that the same nation that creates the World’s most sophisticated financial architecture (for cheaters) also creates Oxfam, or while Greenpeace is Dutch, in 2021 Netherlands is the World’s fourth worst corporate tax haven. Westerners: we create the disease, then we try to create the antidote, obviously failing. I introduce the Financial Integrity Presidential Team in Chapter 9 Caribbea section Bermuda.

But at the end of the day the real issue is that in 2022 nations are still not conducted by expertise, but by ideology, political rhetoric and short-termism, and everyone seems to be acquiescent. Not me, I rebelled against my native Spain’s political establishment in 2013 calling Spain a nation of suckers, that is of professional suckers (politicians) who can only extract like a vaccumm cleaner, extract for themselves and the members of the political party imposing upon everybody else the dictatorship of incompetence so well depicted by Catalan intellectual Xavier Roig in his best selling essay.

In Malawi the clan of established leaders has dominated Malawi since the first democratic elections were conducted in 1994, when former president Bakili Muluzi beat Malawi’s long standing president Hastings Kamuzu Banda who had ruled since independence in 1966. Muluzi was responsible for selling Malawi’s maize reserves before the 2002 famine after being told by the IMF, and arrested in 2009 accused of stealing $11 million from donor money into his private account. After failing to change the constitution that would have allowed him to run for a third term, Muluzi handpicked his successor from within the ranks of his party (founded by him in 1992) Malawi’s United Democratic Front (UDF): Bingu wa Mutharika born in 1934 before his brother Peter born in 1940. When Bingu wa Mutharika passed in 2012, his vice president (originating from the same party UDF) Joyce Banda took over. Joyce Banda never won an election, however. In the 2014 and 2019 elections Bingu wa Mutharika’s brother Peter Mutharika won the presidency, triggering a political chaos and crisis in 2019, in which Peter Mutharika was accused of vote rigging.

In July 2019 Financial Times confirms “Malawi’s ‘Tipp-Ex president’ Mutharika faces high court challenge”. In February 2020 Financial Times announces “Malawi court overturns 2019 presidential election resut”. According to BBC’s Africa editor Mary Harper (mary.harper@bbc.com) in March 2020 a new election date is announced scheduled for 2-July-2020. Peter Mutharika chose to run in July 2020. Opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwere and Saulos Chilima chose to join forces. I warned them none of them is good enough for Malawi. Lazarus Chakwere, a religious leader and former president of Malawi’s Assemblies of God (which runs Malawi Assemblies of God University ranked #11 among Malawi’s 28 universities), became president of the Malawi Congress Party in 2013. Saulos Chilima was minister of civil service between 2014-2019 during the presidency of Peter Mutharika, and assumed Malawi’s vice presidency in February 2020. Peter Mutharika born in 1940 is younger than his late brother who was born in 1934. According to Afrobarometer 79 percent of Malawians say “they have somewhat or a lot of trust in religious leaders”. A religious leader is not fit to lead a nation, both tasks as ambitions are incompatible and should not be mixed. When they are mixed nations are likely to become theocracies, namely Egypt under the Muslim Brothers rule or post revolution Iran.

Although there are ministries in church and government, and ministers serving both, a pastor is rarely a politician. The World’s Assemblies of Good, a group of 144 autonomous national christian pentecostal congregations, was founded in the United States in 1914 and as of 2022 has circa 70,000,000 members, that is what they say as these figures tend to be overblown. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 33 percent of Malawians are protestant including 7.6 percent pentecostal, 17 percent catholic, 27 percent other christian and 14 percent muslim. I warn against elevating a military or religious leader as prime minister or president, because much more often than not the regime easily turns into a military dictatorship or a theocracy, and nobody wins. I wrote in March 2020:

Malawians must abstain in the July 2020 rerun, although they must vote massively and vote white, celebrating democracy and emancipating from politics once and for all.

Malawi celebrated a presidential election in July 2020. Election turnout was 64.8 percent, the lowest since 2004. In 2017 I anticipated Liberia’s subsequent fiasco when I warned “white is Liberia’s best presidential candidate”. I am indifferent to the outcome, whatever it is, because I know that my strategy is superior to any other strategy in the political sphere and the governance realm. Superior is a technicality from game theory meaning that on the long run, that is by 2100, my strategy will be dominating. Politics in Malawi will prove, one more time, inconsequential and I, patiently, will wait for the next instance of opportunity in 2025, while Malawians continue to struggle and to suffer the consequences of servitude, servitude to a ruling elite not deserving who takes for granted posts and salaries. Every year passed is a year lost.

And while I wait I will continue to improve the Malawi Presidential Team, incorporating Malawi’s best gastronomists Aaron Munthali Bokosi (munthaliaaron65@gmail.com), Chimwemwe Soko (cksoko44@gmail.com) a participant in Carleton University’s advanced scholars program who explains how climate change is harming food systems, Chiumia Wellings (chiumiawellings@gmail.com), Khoza Manvester Ackson (manvesterackson79@gmail.com), Zilanie Gondwe Nyundo (zilanie@yahoo.com); and Malawi’s best nutritionists Blessings Muwalo (muwalo2000@gmail.com), muwalo2000@yahoo.com), Janet Guta (janet.guta@gmail.com), Kondwani Mpeniuwawa (mpeniuwawa@gmail.com), Lusungu Mwaugulu (lgmwaungulu@hotmail.com). To defeat Malawi’s stunting, malnutrition and future famines one key strategy is essential: gastronomists and nutritionists must work together, and both gastronomy and nutrition must be brought on board the primary education system, which will be the focus of my master’s thesis work in education at University College London (UCL), if UCL decides to evaluate my application which they have not in 2020, 2021 or 2022 in spite of having two stellar recommendation letters. And while for instance nutritionists Blessings Muwalo and Janet Guta have been working for president Peter Mutharika, they have failed to observe the importance of the association with gastronomy, the two key elements in the reaction – if the elements do not interact there is no possible impact. If there was a Pithagorean eureka moment in this manuscript, this is it: gastronomy and nutrition must be forever united in marriage.

For the record I contacted president Peter Mutharika (mutharip@wulaw.wustl.edu) and the entire law faculty at Washington University in Saint Louis (including the president) where he lectured as professor, numerous times between 2014-2019, of course nobody cares, law schools are doomed in the United States. Prior to the 2019 election I approached Joyce Banda (drjoycebanda@gmail.com) numerous times inviting her to abandon politics and join the Malawi Presidential Team, to no avail. A Spanish proverb reads “viejos habitos nunca mueren”. Mutharika born in 1940 and Banda born in 1950 are baby boomers, the lost generation that took the World beyond abysm, a generation that cannot be convinced nor persuaded, a generation that must therefore be forced into retirement before the already colossal disaster acquires catastrophic proportions.

The June 2020 election was peaceful and opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera won what BBC called “historical poll rerun”, obtaining 58.6 percent of the vote versus Mutharika’s 39.4 percent according to The Washington Post, I do not see anything worthy of being deemed historical as voter turnout was lowest ever. AlJazeera asks “after historic election, what next for Malawi?”. Lazarus Chakwera’ opening statement in his inauguration as president was very standard:

With your help, we will restore the nation’s faith in the possibility of a government that serves. Not a government that rules. A government that inspires, not a government that infuriates. A government that listens, not a government that shouts. A government that fights for you and not against you.

This is pure political rhetoric, I have listened to the same horseshit time and again in my native Spain, in Albania my country of residence between 2015-2022, so on and so forth. Malawi’s GDP growth was -1.8 percent in 2020 and 0 percent in 2021, the pastor is proving he is no miracle worker, the blahblahblah does not cure the economic malaise.

For University of Malawi lecturer Jimmy Kainja (j.kainja@gmail.co.uk, jkainja@cc.ac.mw), the outcome was not surprising “it is what most Malawians were expecting”. The use of “most” is tricky as 2.6 million voted for Chakwere out of a population of 19,647,000 in 2021, that is 13.23 percent of Malawians. In 2020 43 percent of Malawians were aged 0-14 years and 12 percent 15-19. For Dr Boniface Dulani (bdulani@cc.ac.mw) “the new president has to move in quickly and bring together all Malawians, especially those from the regions that did not vote for him; the election created dangerous regional divisions that need to be addressed”. A nation is not initially divided, politics divides nations, deliberately along useless ideological opposites. According to AlJazeera, putting an end to the rampant corruption and fixing the police forces are among Chakwera’s priorities, two undertakings of exceptional difficulty that only the Anti-Corruption Presidential Team and the Police Reform Presidential Team are in a position to accomplish.

Lazarus Chakwera was born in 1955 and earned academic qualifications in philosophy and theology, necessary to thrive as a pastor and preacher, but not as a policymaker. Preaching -Barack Obama is the best example of how charlatanism does not work in policymaking- is not only not enough, it is no more a necessary condition for take off. Deutsche Welle asks “who is Malawi’s new leader Lazarus Chakwera?”, describing the former pastor as follows:

The 65-year-old Chakwera was born to a poor rural family in a tiny village outside of the capital, Lilongwe. He is a philosopher, theologian and clergyman by training and studied in Malawi, South Africa and the United States.

The institutions he attended in South Africa and the United States are not top-notch, and top-notch institutions matter at this level of the game. Deutsche Welle further asks “what is Chakwera’s vision for Malawi?”, explaining Chakwera’s five core pillars as follows “servant leadership, uniting Malawians, prospering together, ending corruption, judicial independence and rule of law”. This is nothing but wishful thinking, I am afraid. I wish him well, but as I warned Liberia’s footballer George Weah in 2017, I am, objectively and prospectively, reluctant to accept a religious leader as a nation’s leading policymaker. Policymaking requires vision, not oratory. I published The Monfort Plan in 2010. Why didn’t Lazarus Chakwera write and subsequently publish a plan before being elected? Instead he improvises. A vision must be built in advance and then presented to society, detailing how it will be accomplished and who will participate, in advance meaning before the election. Nothing else is acceptable, not in 2022 provided what we already know.

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