One should perhaps never be surprised by the nature of political discourse in a country where the Simon and Garfunkel song “Cecilia” was once banned. Yet there is still something rather jarring about a leader who willfully disparages his own populace, as Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika did last week:
Mutharika challenged Malawians to appreciate that at [a] certain point a person’s life goes through hard times and currently several countries in the world were going through economic difficulties and Malawi was not exceptional.
“Problems are all over. Several countries are currently going through economic crisis even if you go to United Kingdom in Europe you will find problems.
“Why do you behave like chickens, it is a chicken that just cries kwe kwe kwe (mimicking chicken cry) whenever it hears something…We are not a nation of chicken[s],” said Mutharika in his usual defiant mood.
Perhaps the core spirit of Mutharika’s message isn’t too different from that of American presidents who’ve occasionally urged us to make sacrifices when times are tough. But his motivational technique is bizarre by our standards. Perhaps someone should hand him a fortune cookie that contains the axiom, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”