By Capital Hill Correspondent 14/07/2014
President Professor Peter Mutharika got what he wanted. He’s now the President of the Republic of Malawi and has begun waltzing through the trappings of power. To absolute surprise of some people, Mutharika’s immediate tactic was to snub the very people that tirelessly worked and risked their lives to ensure he is declared President.
The new President is said to have told close aides that he does not want to work with the Mulhako wa Alhomwe grouping because a majority of Lhomwes are not adequately educated and cannot add value to his quest of becoming a performing President. This is testified by his failure to attend the burial ceremony of Mulhako wa Alhomwe’s Patron, Paramount Chief Nkhumba of Phalombe, who died recently at Zomba Central Hospital after a long battle with prostate cancer. He only sent his Vice President, Saulos Chilima to represent him.
Already, some members of the grouping are silently expressing serious discontent over the cold treatment they are getting from President Mutharika. Their general verdict is that the man they thought to be one of their own is, in fact, an enigma from another planet.
However, those who have personally been close to the absent-minded Professor beyond the podium dramas and dark suits are not surprised one bit by the conduct of the latest occupant of State House. In fact they warn that Malawians ain’t seen nothing yet.
One classical case in point is how our new President behaved during the sickness and eventual death of his then driver, George Mpulula, from the populous Chirimba Township in the commercial city of Blantyre.
Mpulula is said to have been contracted by Mutharika in 2013 to drive his (Mutharika’s) vehicle, a truck, from Dar-e-salam, in Tanzanian to Malawi, which the president had imported from Dubai.
Mutharika allegedly offered permanent employment to Mpulula as a driver of the said truck, which was now deployed to his maize haulage business.
According to a close relation of the deceased, Mpulula, who previously was operating a taxi called ‘One Missed Call’, fell ill whilst driving the truck from Mchinji in the central region to Blantyre.
“We saw a dangerously zigzagging truck coming from Lunzu side towards Blantyre, and when it parked near Macsteel, we realized it was Joe who was driving; he suddenly fell asleep and he looked very sick. In fact, he couldn’t manage to get out of the vehicle because his body became very weak.
“We called the owner of the nearby Thandizo Private Clinic who diagnosed him with malaria and gave him medication right inside the truck,” narrated the relative.
She said Mpulula was taken to his mother’s house to get some sleep and was later taken to Mlambe Hospital where he was hospitalized. By this time, his wife had just given birth to a baby boy.
Said the relative: “When I called Peter Mutharika to inform him about his driver’s sickness, the boss responded that Joe owed him MK8,000, which he was supposed to use to refuel the truck. He said I should tell Joe that he wants the money back regardless of his sickness. We sent someone to go home and search in Joe’s trousers, and luckily he found some money from where he took MK8,000 kwacha.
“When I called Peter Mutharika again, he came to the hospital with a burly short man, dark in completion who I supposed was his bodyguard. He brought one loaf of bread, a bunch of banana and a quarter litre bottle of Sobo. I gave him the money in 500 kwacha wards; he counted whilst looking the other side, said thank you and stashed the money in his pockets. He left after a few minutes only saying we must pray that Joe should get better.”
When Mpulula died two days later, on Friday, December 5, 2012, she called Mutharika again to inform him of the demise of his employee.
“He told me bluntly that he was in Lilongwe chatting with his brother (Bingu) and cannot do anything let alone come to Blantyre for the funeral. He said if we want, we must delay the burial and wait for him till the next Wednesday, five days later, on December 10, when he would be expected back in Blantyre.
“We called Felix Njawala (former MP for the area) and he is the one who assisted us with the coffin, transport as well as food during our bereavement. I was always shocked when I heard people talking about Peter Mutharika in the breadth of a Presidential contender to look after the whole country. My realization is always that people don’t know the true character of Peter Mutharika, he is a callous man without an aorta of compassion for humanity,” she said.