During their reign, former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi paid each other a visit (I can’t remember who hosted the other). They spared time during the trip whereby they strolled along a beautiful beach wearing what I would call their most casual attire in public eyes.
Both were carrying beautiful umbrellas as well. It left the media with some of the best pictures one would take of any two powerful heads of state.
The west as well has a way of portraying their leaders to the world audience. Memories are still fresh of Russia’s recycled president, Vladmir Putin walking in the woods, his belly exposed and carrying a shotgun in one hand. Every time each year he spends time bird hunting, one of the many hobbies he has on top of karate and judo.
Talking of the US and UK, it is not strange to see Obama spending moments to play with Bo, his dog or going to grab pizzas and hamburgers for his stuff. George Bush used to jog with cameras following him. Former French President is also obsessed with jogging and during his presidency he was all over the media dressed in a white vest and black running tracks. What a way to spend one’s time in the Presidential Palace.
My writing today has been extracted from this kind of background because I fail to understand why we treat our presidents in a more rigid manner. The only time I saw a Malawian president doing something outside the traditional protocol was when late Bingu wa Mutharika attended a golf tournament organized by his SilverGrey Foundation.
Never mind his putting on the golf course, it was terrible and unprofessional but his involvement changed the way how we have portrayed presidents for a long time.
I have always wondered why there is always a guy or two behind the president carrying umbrellas which sometimes are not necessary. Why two umbrellas at a time when the sunrays are just manageable? Won’t it be possible for the president to hold the umbrella herself?
With due respect to the security detail of our head of state, I strongly think there is no need to add some more personnel behind her just to carry umbrellas. Come on guys.
May the rightful authorities help in redefining the image of the presidency in the eyes of the citizenry. These people are humans. Allow them to live their lives normally to an extent.
Instead of going fishing in Portugal, let them fish right here in view of cameras. It would be interesting to see any Malawian President working out in a gym, or taking a walk in the lawns of the palace.
But for the umbrella, please, let her carry it herself sometimes. It would look incredible I tell you.
I rest my case, if it so wishes!