That power corrupts and corrupts absolutely is a well-known fact throughout human history. Nonetheless, the adage hits blank ears to most people who are immersed in it. You can cite statistics upon statistics of victims of power from the annals of mankind, but still, that will not stop a million from daring the strong effects of power, as they not only seek to drink from its chalice but also believe they will come out unscathed.
In recent history, Arsenal’s former football manager Arsene Wenger who was at the helm of the club for 22 years admitted after leaving the club in 2018 that he may have clung on to his position at the Emirates for a little too long. The admission is quite telling of the man’s pedigree. Despite achieving great successes and being greatly revered by many, his final moments turned sour as some quarters believed the club had stagnated under him. “All good things,” they said, “must come to an end.”
Unfortunately, this great lesson has somehow eluded one Walter Nyamilandu Manda, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president who believes there is an eternal goodness in him that must be kept flowing for the benefit of Malawi’s football. Walter has been at the helm of Malawi’s football governing body for 19 years. Now 19 years is a long time to plan and implement whatever objectives one intends to achieve. But for Walter, the unfinished business is never-ending in his persistent quest to impress. He has since declared his interest in contesting in FAM’s upcoming elections on the 16th of December this year, a confirmation of his unrelenting itch for power.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Be ashamed to die until you have scored some victory for humanity. And that victory for humanity is not a victory for yourself. It’s not statues, it’s not your name, it’s just that humanity is better off.” So, unless Walter is fully convinced he hasn’t achieved anything in his reign, he cannot be ashamed of the victory he has scored for Malawi football. The burdens he has carried over a double decade have been immense, broad and deep, complex and never-ending. Walter’s journey in leadership has been well-matched to the needs of Malawi’s football administration. We owe him far more than we usually admit. We pour out our gratitude to him for the leadership only he could have mustered during his reign. It is therefore fitting to leave the stage with his dignity intact.
Surprisingly, rather than call it quit to preserve his towering legacy, Walter is risking an embarrassing defeat to one Fleetwood Haiya, his sole competitor, who is fast gaining momentum at a time when Walter’s endorsement is nosediving. Again, rather than gracefully pass on the baton to Haiya, who is more than capable of grandness, Walter has chosen a path of moral downfall by poisoning his reputation with unquenchable lust for power. The support he is receiving from his associates makes him believe he is a Messiah of Malawi’s football and must therefore be kept in authority indefinitely. What a fall from grace!
Ultimately, while it is difficult to ring down the curtain for such an illustrious career, all good things must indeed, like Arsene Wenger, come to an end. By being in power for almost 20 years, you have made your mark and etched your legacy, and if it is good, it is because you have served well; but if it’s bad, it’s not because you have unfinished business or lacked sufficient time to implement all your plans but simply because you have been drunk with power and have failed to deliver. So, adios Walter to the dustbin of Malawi’s football history, and good luck in your next endeavors.