Thursday, July 19, 2012


Bakili Elson Muluzi is no simple politician. He comes with many faces and he masks himself in them so well.

The first time I saw Muluzi in person was during my secondary school days at William Murray Secondary School. Two days before he visited the Nkhoma Mission, some delinquent chaps sat down at a tea-forum and debated on whether the President had more powers than any other human being.

To curtail the winding debate a way was devised to prove if Muluzi was just human as all of us. (This comes from a background that Muluzi’s predecessor, Kamuzu Banda, was treated as a semi-god and let’s face it, our presidents struggle to accept that they can fall sick. No wonder we hide their physical frailty)

We agreed that when the President visits our school, we should all line up to greet him. Not only that; we had to spit in our hands and rub gently. If Muluzi was going to shake all our hands without being suspicious then he was just human.

The day came. He came to our school and we lined up. We had not forgotten the rule so we spit as agreed. In his dark glasses, the President walked while smiling; greeting us and making jokes as well. “Kumalimbikira school eti” (Work hard in class okay?), he said when I squeezed my hand into his. It was threatening to look him straight in the eye but my salivated hand and his met diplomatically, and then he proceeded to the next saliva-greased hand.

Done deal, Muluzi is human.

That night we celebrated our assignment triumph with a dish of hard nsima and boiled meat (I am not sure if it had some drops of paraffin to control our libido)

It therefore did not come as a surprise when seven years ago I learnt that Bakili was struggling with his back. The first days he used to tell us that the back problem had come about because of his tight and long schedule in campaigning for Bingu to become President.

Ironically, it was the same Bingu who made Muluzi a hopeless patient as his discs kept falling apart due to repeated threats and arrests from the DPP government.

The court proceedings commenced for Muluzi to prove his innocence in the K1.7 billion case. The first court sessions drew huge crowds to the High Court but as time went by, people abandoned Muluzi such that his trips to court were ignorable even in a busy trading town of Limbe.  

Muluzi, the statesman, was really human. During court sessions his lawyers would always ask for 30-minute breaks for him to refresh and relax.     

Then during the Easter weekend this year, things changed suddenly. Muluzi’s discs came back in place and the pain was gone. He ably attended Bingu’s burial at Ndata and weeks later he went to Lesotho as an Election Observer.

Some days before his Lesotho trip he even had time to go on national TV to beg Blantyre residents to stop throwing sugarcane molasses on the streets (Of all things Mr. Muluzi? Seriously?)

Muluzi, the human, is really healed. Last week he also attended two functions in quick succession; The Independence prayers at COMESA Hall and the 100-Day Celebrations of the new government at Sports Complex.

Within the same period of time, the new Director of Public Prosecutions indicated that the configuration of Muluzi’s 7-year long case has changed so the prosecution team should go back to the drawing board.

Who really has healed Bakili Muluzi? Did I miss him visiting the famous young and charismatic prophet Shepherd Bushiri or Nigeria’s TB Joshua?

Did Bingu’s death heal Muluzi’s back? And if that’s the case, have funerals become medication of back problems?

Let it be said loudly and clearly that Muluzi has been using taxpayers’ money to visit his doctors in United Kingdom and South Africa all these years. And during the same period of time some poor Malawians have died due to lack of medical care that is only available outside the country.

Had Muluzi told the truth about his problem, some common person from Madetsa or Saimoni or Wajingo or Mzanya or Kamteketa villages would have been airlifted to South Africa or India for proper and genuine treatment.

If Muluzi is innocent, he must let the law take its due course. There is no need to aggravate bodily pain or always ask for an extension to the process of justice.

Now that he has asked for 6 months to recuperate and stand trial, nobody knows what will happen afterwards. Months will turn into years again.

One thing I know is that people who are innocent do not exploit the law. Take John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo for example; many Malawians used to say that he has blood in his hands but when he faced prosecution and got acquitted his image was cleared (somehow)

Muluzi is human. He can get sick and has all right to seek medical treatment using our taxes by virtue of being a Malawian and former head of state. But all this should not be done as a way of hindering the cases that are hanging over his head.

Your Excellency Dr. Bakili Muluzi, take heed.

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