Globetrotting Galore: President Chakwera Tours the World, One Conference at a Time!

…leaving the nation as health workers strike

… taxpayers struggling economically

Ah, the life of a poor country president travelling around the world. Jet-setting from one conference to another, racking up frequent flyer miles on the public’s taxes, and hobnobbing with world leaders while the country he governs struggles with basic infrastructure and healthcare. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right?

A health workers unanswered question

That is the tough job President Lazarus Chakwera faces- leaving healthcare workers (nurses and clinicians) downing tools and, as a leader, fleeing the country to the Island resort country of the Bahamas. At a meeting, other Presidents have sent Ministers of Finance.

The President- already the most travelled Malawi leader since 1964, is on course to break his own record as he will likely hit 60 trips by the end of his first term in September 2025, making it to the Guinness Book of World Records to have travelled every month of his 60-month term of office.

The President is expected to travel to Geneva, Zimbabwe (August 2024) and the United States of America in September this year, which will bring his record-breaking global tours to 53.

Packing presidential suitcases should be the busiest duty at the State House

Imagine the scene: our intrepid leader preparing for another jaunt across the globe. The poor country president’s suitcase is a treasure trove of luxury and necessity, meticulously packed by the president’s valets, who’ve become experts in the art of presidential prep. At the top of the packing list? Tailored suits because nothing says “serious world leader” like a sharp ensemble. Next, designer sunglasses in every shade – crucial for those sunny tarmac photo ops and avoiding the glare of probing questions.

Our God-given leader enjoys travelling and meeting both the rich and the poor

And let’s not forget the most prized possession: a dog-eared copy of “How to Network Like a Pro.” This book, more travelled and revered than most seasoned diplomats, is the president’s bible, offering sage advice on how to schmooze, booze (maybe wine), and cruise through the high seas of international politics, all while appearing utterly engaged and concerned about domestic issues from thousands of miles away.

Buried beneath the luxury and essentials, there might be a tiny, overlooked space for souvenirs. Not the kind you’d expect, like mementos for the folks back home, but rather lavish gifts for fellow world leaders – because what’s a little diplomatic bribery between friends?

Of course, all these are paid for with the public’s penny; each item is carefully logged and justified as “necessary diplomatic expenses.” So, as our president zips up their suitcase, ready to take on the world one luxury hotel at a time, we’re left marvelling at the priorities on display, wondering if perhaps the funds could’ve been packed off to more pressing causes at home. But who are we to question the essentials of statecraft and the packing list of our globetrotting guardian?

Who will look after the striking nurses and clinicians when the President is required for a group photo in the Bahamas? He will come back and tell us he brought billions- in commitments as the kwacha continues free for all fall, costs of goods continue to skyrocket, and he and his cronies enjoy allowances.

The busiest job at State residences now should be packing presidential suitcases- whether domestic or international. Our God-given leader enjoys travelling and meeting both the rich and the poor.

Fly first class… to another conference

Up, up, and away we go! Our beloved leader is hitting the skies yet again, embracing the high life—quite literally. Ensconced in the cushy, expansive seats of first class, where the champagne flows as freely as taxpayer kwachas, our president sets off to grace another conference with their presence. Because, in the grand scheme of things, who truly need to focus on pesky domestic quandaries like ungrateful opposition-inspired nurses and health workers when the allure of international acclaim beckons?

This year alone, he has been to the United States, Mozambique, DR Congo, Angola, Kenya and now the Bahamas. The cost averages US$ 300,000 a trip for his comfort and many more for air tickets and allowances of his bloated entourage. The foreign exchange rate for businesses is unstable and the dear leader seems unfazed by the lack of direction the economy is heading.

Chakwera arrices in Equatorial Guinea for AU Summit in a profile photo

The IMF has warned of hyperinflation- the flying flying up of the cost of living- but the President and his administration believe it means they need to fly fly up more every month to catch the hyperinflation.

Indeed, while the citizens of our nation juggle the daily grind, our fearless captain of the state is whisked away to realms far beyond, ensconced in the lap of luxury. It’s a tough job, attending gala dinners and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, but hey, somebody’s got to shake those hands and flash those pearly whites. And let’s not overlook the ever-important chauffeur-driven cars awaiting on tarmacs, ready to ferry our leader from one VIP lounge to another. Why mingle with the commoners when you can be ensconced in a motorcade, your passage through foreign lands marked by flashing lights and police escorts?

Arriving in USA with his family

It’s a veritable whirlwind of networking, schmoozing, and indulging in the finest accommodations known to humankind. Yet, as the minibar gets raided and the gourmet dishes served on silver platters, one might ponder, “Is this the best use of our nation’s scant resources?” But fret not, for every clink of crystal glasses and murmur of diplomatic niceties, our president is surely on the verge of… attending another conference.

Selfies with World Leaders: Collecting Memories and No Tangible Benefits

In the age of social media clout, our adventurous president takes centre stage, amassing an enviable collection of selfies with the crème de la crème of global politics. His Facebook- Dr Lazarus Macarthy Chakwera grid is a colourful tapestry of grinning faces, a veritable who’s who of power players, all arm in arm with our nation’s top traveller. Each snapshot is a testament to the president’s unparalleled skill in the fine art of selfie-taking, boasting filters and angles so flattering that one might forget the pressing issues back home.

Our President posing for a photo

Yet, as the likes and comments pile up, one can’t help but scratch their head and ponder, “Are these digital mementos the only takeaway from globetrotting escapades?” As our leader basks in the glow of flashbulbs and smartphone screens, securing their spot in the social media pantheon, the expected windfall for our poor country remains as elusive as a Snapchat story – here one moment, gone the next.

In this whirlwind of hashtags and handshakes, the pressing question looms: Do these moments of online camaraderie translate into anything of substance for those not featured in the frame? As our timelines flood with these high-profile hangouts, the gap between photo op diplomacy and genuine progress widens, leaving us to marvel at the digital footprint of a presidency more invested in filters than fiscal policy. With every tap of the “post” button, we’re left wondering if the only thing being developed are the president’s social media skills.

“But What About the Benefits?” The Sound of Crickets

Ah, the ever-elusive question as our jet-setting leader prances from one international shindig to the next – what, oh what, are the tangible benefits of these globe-trotting escapades for the dear homeland? As the public coffers bleed dry to fund first-class tickets and swanky soirees, the masses are left scratching their heads, squinting into the distance, hoping to glimpse the faintest hint of progress on the horizon.

The answer, wrapped in the silence of an awkward pause, is almost palpable. Crickets chirp merrily in the background, providing the only soundtrack to a query that seems to stump even the most eloquent of our president’s aides. For as the selfie count skyrockets and the air miles accumulate like a high scorer in an arcade game, the benefits to our poor, beleaguered nation appear to be as intangible as the president’s promises of prosperity.

In a twist that surprises absolutely no one, the ledger of gains remains as barren as a deserted island. As our leader dines with dignitaries and rubs shoulders with the elite, the people back home grapple with a reality starkly devoid of the promised trickle-down effect. Instead, the only thing trickling down is a growing sense of disillusionment, garnished with a dash of sarcasm for flavour.

That disillusionment is reflected in insults hurling youth, huge turnouts at opposition rallies and the fact that the president can’t answer questions from independent media. He has nothing to explain. He has literally left the country on autopilot.

Yet, fear not! For every lavish luncheon and opulent overnight stay, our president surely must be on the brink of a biblical breakthrough… right? Meanwhile, the citizens wait, hope dwindling, as they ponder the true cost of their leader’s love affair with luxury and the elusive quest for global acclaim.

A Fondness for Five-Stars: The Presidential Guide to Luxury Living

In the opulent world of our globe-trotting president, “budget accommodation” is a term as foreign as a modest expense report. While the folks back home tighten belts and patch holes in their shoes, our leader’s penchant for the pinnacle of luxury knows no bounds. Five-star hotels don’t just roll out the red carpet; they practically weave golden threads at our president’s feet, ensuring every step taken is cushioned in unadulterated opulence.

Oh, to be a fly on the lavish wall of presidential suites, where every whim is catered to with the precision of a Swiss watch and the urgency of a White House crisis. Egyptian cotton sheets whisper sweet nothings into our leader’s ear, promising dreams of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility that vanish come morning. The minibars, stocked with the kind of spirits that make your wallet weep, offer solace from the strenuous demands of presidential photo ops and handshaking marathons.

Dining, of course, is an affair where calories are counted in dollars, and the cuisine is as rich as the public funds footing the bill. Each meal is a masterclass in extravagance, teaching our president the delicate art of savouring caviar while discussing poverty alleviation strategies without a hint of irony.

And so, as our leader luxuriates in the lap of luxury, the citizens can only dream of such royal treatment, their imaginations fueled by the stark contrast between their leader’s lavish lifestyle and their own stark realities.

The Art of Attending Conferences and Never Learning Anything

In the grand theatre of international conferences, our president plays the starring role of the keen attendee yet seems to miss the plot entirely. Picture this: a whirlwind of keynotes, panels, and roundtables, each offering pearls of wisdom ripe for the plucking. Yet, somehow, amidst the clinking of glasses at cocktail receptions and the exchange of business cards like Pokémon cards at recess, the art of actual learning seems to elude our leader. It’s a curious phenomenon, akin to attending cooking classes and somehow burning water.

The conference halls may echo the sounds of innovation and strategies for national betterment. Still, our president is likelier to leave with a goodie bag full of branded pens than actionable insights. It’s as if the mantra is “I attend, therefore I am” – a noble endeavor drowned out by the din of networking opportunities and photo ops. Could the real art be mastered here be the skilful navigation of buffet lines rather than diplomatic ones? Ah, the mysteries of statecraft, where attendance is 10% of the job and forgetting is the other 90%.

Out of his 50th anniversary of his globe-trotting, blowing over US$25 million in four years- President Chakwera should be toasted officially as a certified globe trotter, someone who came to travel and cost his poor nation without empathy or remorse.

Before he lands in the Bahamas, he is already thinking of his next destination. Happy 50th trip, Your Excellency.

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