What Makes a Regime? The Party, Leader, Architects, Advisors and Operatives

Silent Yet Conspicuous Enemies Of The Nation

My fellow Malawians, I would like to caution us all against attributing all of Malawi’s problems to a single individual lest we fail to break the unending cycles of despair that have afflicted our nation for a long time.

Individuals like Dr. Hastings Banda, Bakili Muluzi or Bingu wa Mutharika, granted their occupancy of the presidency, we should bear in mind that they lead “Regimes”. Thus in assigning blame, we need not fault just the leaders alone but “The entire Regime”as well. The leader of a regime does not operate in a vacuum. We need to look at all the elements of the regime. The more we continue to attribute everything to an individual, the more we continue to live in a cycle of despair; because we ignore the elements that make a regime operate the way it does.

Political regimes consist of many elements and moving parts that determine their direction. It is policies, advisory councils, governing councils, operatives, deployed cadres, systems, political parasites, opportunists and survivalists, and many more.

Dictators are not always born. It is regime elements that make and fuel dictatorships. It is these elements that painted up hospital wards and dressed up all beds and patients before our leaders came to cheer patients. It is elements of a regime that organize thugs to beat up opponents of the regime; and as political operatives in Malawi intimate, “Mungomva zakuthaitha” (The leader will hear about “the did” after the fact).

I know some will say “but the President is in charge, he/she should know better and he/she is the one who chooses the people around him/her”. Yes, you have a point. But it still does not mean the elements of the regime should not be held accountable for the faults of their regime just because they were chosen by their leader.

Moving forward, we no longer want to hear any element of a previous regime poking holes at their own record like some former UDF elements did after changing parties saying “paja zaka khumi za UDF zapitazo za 1994 mpakana 2004 kunali tchuthi cha chitukuko” (we took a break from development during the ten years of UDF rule from 1994 to 2004). We should not cheer anymore when such sentiments are uttered by elements that were actually architects of the same regime where those ills actually happened under their watch or advice to the regime.

We should have no respect for any former operative or official who claims after their regime or president is out of office that “we advised him/her but …..”. If they never resigned on principle and tell the nation of it, then the record of their regime shall stick on them forever. Stop hiding behind survival. This is beyond personalties or personal gains. It is about our nation and its future. Your inactions are part of the reason why we are failing to break cycles of bad governance, poverty and under-development.

From now moving forward, we will not entertain mediocre elements who behave as if the president runs their portfolio and they are just happy to be there, taking orders and not thinking at all. Zilekeke. We are tired of elements that always strive to ensure that in every interview or speech they slot a rehearsed line on the “wise and dynamic leadership of the President”. This is one of the tactics that our cabinet ministers and other officials use to stick everything on the president while they jump ship to the next regime. They did that with Banda; they did it with Muluzi; the same with Mutharika.

I am sure that when speculation of President Bingu wa Mutharika’s death were swirling around, elements of his regime were already jostling to jump ship to the Constitutional President-in-Waiting Joyce Banda saying “Mayitu zonse tinachitila dziko lino ndi kukuzunzani nthawi ya ulamulilo wa Bingu uja, ife inali ntchito chabe. Amachita kutituma ndi Bingu uja” (Madam Vice President “Sir”, please note that all that we did to the nation including victimizing you during Bingu’s reign, we were just following orders from him”.

A Malawi anzanga, boma si munthu mmodzi. Asamatipake phula. (My fellow Malawians, do not be fooled. A regime is made up of more than an individual).

I do not believe that Bingu in his incapacitated (dead) state instructed anyone to hide information about his death. A dead Bingu could not instruct anyone to hold a “treasonous” press conference to insult the intellect of Malawians many hours after his death despite the obvious; and even violate the constitution by attempting to bar the ascension of the State Vice President to President. No! It was Elements of his Regime.

This is about our future and our children’s future.

A Regime is More Than one Individual



About Hastings Fukula Nyekanyeka Betha

Born in Malawian and advocate of community mobilization, citizens' active participation in sustainable community development, and youth empowerment. Primarily focusing on "Organizing Against Poverty" by encouraging a new generation of players to participate in and influence the development of our communities
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9 Responses to What Makes a Regime? The Party, Leader, Architects, Advisors and Operatives

  1. bright says:

    Some one once said to me and I forgot who: Unless we insist that politics is imagination and mind, we shall learn that imagination and mind are politics and of the one we may not like

  2. Could we also extend a regime to citizens. We are all part of the political arena! I like your activism and love for Malawi. However it is rare. Most citizens are not empowered to know what to demand from the governments. We are frustrated and there is growing apathy I would argue. Myself included – so how do we educate Malawians to want more and better for themselves – to speak up against these regimes- I believe that is one thing that needs to happen. As long as we don’t see ourselves as part of the “regime” – to steal your phrase then we are up the creek without a paddle.

    I was reading a book on leadership by John C. Maxwell – he has written a lot on leadership. He stated that when he goes into companies to restructure after – losses etc first thing he suggests is for the board ” to get rid of the current leadership” We see this with in the latest BBC scandal on Jimmy Saville , Royal Bank of Scotland’s Sir Fred Goodwin a couple of years back … leadership must go when there is institutional failure . I have to agree with him. Ultimately the leader should be able to identify the problems that are an impediment – in this case to the political system of Malawi. The leaders should know that MP’s are doing it for survival – if that is what they are doing. Any less then we are using the term “leader” tokenistically. Which then goes back to how are these people hired in the first place? The fact is we need leaders that see past their own existence, leaders that identify that the current standing-behind -a -person -to show – your support selection of MPs- is a mockery to democracy. That is an institutional failure that must be addressed by leadership. The leader has to want to remedy these institutional failures.

  3. I totally agree with your views that you have expressed about this blog post. I say I agree because I am sure you can pick up from some of my sentiments within the post and in the other posts on this blog that I believe that the ills that are prevailing in Malawi cannot just be attributed to the leadership itself but the citizens as well. The actions and inactions of the citizens actually create the environment that breeds mediocre leadership because the general citizen or majority of citizens of our beloved country seems to behave as if they do not deserve better.

    Active citizenship is key indeed.
    We will get there

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  6. Hsrold dube maunda says:

    Fact madala we should not fingerpoint our exleaders

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