President Joyce Banda once said and I quote: "Sindiziwa enanu koma enafe tili ndi ma lawyer mnyumba", literary translated as "I don't know about others, but some of us have lawyers right in the house".
That, to me, meant that – apart from the government legal machinery, the president also gets some counsel from her husband Richard Banda, a respectable lawyer and former chief justice for Malawi and Swaziland.
Listening to international leaders such as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Melinda Gates of the Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation as well as most members of the diplomatic corps from the west stationed in Malawi, one clearly appreciates the amount of goodwill the president commands internationally.
Lagarde who was in the country over the weekend, told me personally that she will do everything within her means to make sure that President Joyce Banda succeeds.
She also told a meeting of the civil society and private sector leaders on Saturday that she decided to visit Malawi to offer her personal support to the president following a meeting the two had in Washington DC back in June.
"I know some of you are asking: why have I come here? Why would the managing director of the IMF come to Malawi of all the countries? I will tell you, this is where I should be, especially where there is a leader who is ready to do the difficult task of restoring the economy with determination.
"I told her when she visited me in Washington DC that I will come to see her and offer my support personally. I think the effort [of President Joyce Banda] needs to be supported and I will lend her my support as much as I can," said Lagarde at the Lilongwe meeting.
The point I am trying to illustrate here is that while there is so much support and goodwill toward the government of Joyce Banda internationally, the same does not seem to be the case here in Malawi, at least at the moment.
Not that Malawians hate Joyce Banda as a person. But there are things she has done over the past eight months that have generated discontent about her among a good section of voters.
Many people would agree with me that there was widespread approval about the ascendancy to power of Joyce Banda in April following the tragic death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. There was even general acceptance on the need for the Malawi kwacha to be devalued and a readiness among the people to go through suffering for the sake of economic recovery.
The questions now are: Is the president aware that there is growing dissatisfaction about her government among a significant section of the population? Are her advisers telling her the truth about the current general perception or feelings among the people? Why the sudden disgruntlement of the president among the people when just 8 months ago, she was a darling and the saviour they had been looking for?
For me, several things have led to the president's fall from grace and, unless she addresses that, she will continue living in a fantasy that all is well when the next thing most voters would want to see is her back.
First of all, her failure to demonstrate that she is suffering with the people at a time of economic hardships caused by the devaluation of the kwacha and other economic reforms. Malawians know very well that every presidential travel means a huge spending by treasury to pay fat allowances to the president and her aides, ministers, security, intelligence and protocol staff, fuel, state media and you name it. Some have estimated one local presidential trip to cost K20 million but I believe it is much more than that.
The large entourage comprising ruling party activists, chiefs and friends the president carried to the United Nations general assembly at a cost of K300 million to the tax payer demonstrated the president's appetite for extravagance and complete disregard for the lip-serviced austerity the public expects her to personally demonstrate.
What has made things worse is her arrogance and complete refusal to change despite widespread disapproval of the extent to which she is using tax-payers money to reward her sympathisers and win cheap votes.
And people's fears about the cost of her expedition have just been confirmed with recent reports that State House has already spent well beyond its budgetary allocation just half-way into the financial year.
Her decision to increase the cabinet from 32 to 36 was completely wrong in as much as it was sanctimonious.
And the goofs have not spared the legal and political side of governance. Whoever advised the president to give an oversight role of the Malawi Electoral Commission to the vice president did not do the president any good. And the one who is telling the president not to declare her assets because she already did so as vice president has no idea that not everything that is legal is morally and politically correct.
It's high time the president's advisers did her good and help her regain positive perception of her leadership among the voters. Unless, of course, someone or some circle among the president's aides is hell bent on sabotaging her future at state house.
On my part and in summary, I would ask the president to urgently start demonstrating that she is suffering with the people by curtailing her daily travels. The expenditure figures at state house must reflect this.
The president must demonstrate that she is a listening leader by conceding mistakes and resisting big-headed reactions whenever she is criticised.
She must show that she is a different leader from all her predecessors. She must widen her contacts for legal and political advice instead of just relying on her existing team which, I must say, has clearly let her down.
Thumbs down to the president's advisors.