Africa-Press – Malawi. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln, former American President.
Anything that quacks like a duck, they say, is nothing but a duck. And when you are hopeless, anyone who talks about hope become your beacon of hope. But, the question is; is anything that quacks a duck?
Another question is; does hope come from a word of mouth or through actionable deeds? One thing that characterised the 2019/2020 elections was the euphoria for changing for a change, and the excitement that came with it.
From the impressive oratory skills and the eloquence that accompanied the speeches of Dr SKC and Dr Lazarus Chakwera, and the excellent satirical use of humour by their subordinates on the campaign trail.
Those campaign assurances were quick and fast coming with no conditions attached. And some of them like the one million jobs creation came with a guarantee that they would be fulfilled within a certain specific timeline.
There was so much that many Malawians felt directly connected with, and to an extent maybe that zeal and optimism made us all lose the sobriety. And well, our common-sense.
It could be that we all became blind followers, without knowing. We were all disposed to have an exaggerated expectation and became a tad too confident about the prospects of what was being promised without asking how it was going to be realised.
To be brutally honest, at that time it was hard for most of us to think that those promises could be demonstrable lies, and more of a lip service than anything else instead.
Up to now I still find it hard to believe that our leaders could have possibly played on our vulnerability and took advantage of our need to believe. The energy that was invested in those campaigns was unimaginable and totally unsurpassed.
They were able to create a cult like following by fully disguising themselves and creating an “us versus them” dynamic as they ably presented themselves as modern day messiahs.
For certain now we can see that they successfully created an illusion by over promising. Overpromising is a borrowed form of organised religion, a tactic which is used to hypnotize followers according to the 48 laws of power as stipulated in law number 27).
However just like Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Now, the dust has settled, and a full year has passed since Tonse government has been on the steering wheel of governance and our economic planning, yet we are still pinching ourselves to have woken up into a different reality. We are still questioning if Tonse is a reality!
Let’s remember that ending corruption was a flagship campaign promise by both the President and his Vice President. They had pledged to promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels.
Therefore, it comes out as very startling when we see our President lacking that type of decisiveness and the rigorous sternness in calling out those culprits. We have been hearing about corruption at Nocma, Macra, Road traffic and other government institutions.
The self-indulgence and irresponsible conduct by those appointed by the President in those boards is still going unchecked and producing a foul odor that is quite reminiscent of the previous government.
The behaviour and attitude of the people who are supposed to be helping the President carries this odd stench of ego and speaks volumes of their ineptitude.
Why are heads still not rolling and why are those boards not yet dissolved? Isn’t it in his own prerogative to hire and fire? And if there are other limiting factors, why hasn’t he allowed the process and procedures to take place?
This has already created room for all sorts of speculative assumptions and it is smearing a negative impression on the president. It looks as if there is “the powers that be” are willy-nilly controlling his presidential domain.
Ironically, if the aggrandizement of this secret cabal continues, the president’s standing will be damaged. Dr. Chakwera is a man of the cloth and he knows very well that people will not hold him lightly.
He has to demonstrate that he is not only a positional leader, but rather a moralist in chief. So, the quicker he separates himself from this mediocrity, the quicker he will get us into the promise land.
We don’t want him to be stuck and die in the wilderness with the unbelievers. I know our leader might harbour all good intentions to create a Malawi that would allow us to prosper together.
Intent alone is nothing if it’s not accompanied by action and precision. Nonetheless, to be able to do that he has to fix whatever is incentivizing corruption and disfunction in our systems. For example when our President came out strong against the COVID-19 plunder, the whole nation rallied behind him in full solidarity.
But we were all instantly taken back by surprise when he opted for his SPC Zangazanga Chikhosi to be the one interdicting other controlling officers instead of an independent governance institution.
This smacked of hypocrisy as Mr Chikhosi by virtue of his position is also a controlling officer himself, overseeing DoDMA and its operations. And as you can remember this is where a lot of rot took place. The whole Covid-19 scandal fell on DoDMA’s lap.
Whether this was an intentional coverup or just a mere oversight, we may never know. Clearly, there was an unmistakable conflict of interest. It was like making a suspect to be a jury on his own case.
Apparently, adding a twist to the tale of the whole saga, the released report was later discovered to be an edited version. We didn’t see how the MDF and MPS had spent their money.
No one explained how that MK1billion was just sitting idle when our people were gasping for oxygen in our hospitals. Who was keeping it? And for what reason?
And yet up to now we are yet to be told about the MK17.5 billion and how it was spent. Drawing parallels with the previous government, we can see how our President is also rendered absent from leading.
His own presidential edicts and directives have been undermined and in some cases overridden by his own subordinates in plain sight. Some of his own line ministers are on record that they can not give proper directions and to their Board of directors.
If ministers can be undermined by mere board members, and if the president’s own directives can not be taken serious, then we would be justified to conclude that maybe there’s someone with a gun on the president’s head.
If not, then Dr. Chakwera has to consider overhauling the whole leadership team. Let him reconstitute his cabinet, streamline and make it more lean and easy to manage.
We have seen how he has been running his cabinet without filling the three senior cabinet posts. And, quite frankly this cements our argument that we don’t need deputy ministers.
The deputy ministers have managed to run these portfolios single handedly, and to the point that the president doesn’t see a need to fill these vacant positions any more.
This shows then that streamlining would be in our best interest. We could save more money and manage to pay for medicines, pay more teachers and nurses. When bureaucracy is bloated, corruption finds a place to hide.
I know as a preacher (of the Gospel) the president might find this interesting to know that, it was in fact the 12 that Jesus selected as his disciples that determined the future and success of the Church today. Even Judas had a purpose and a role to fulfill.
His vision to transform Malawi will not be a reality if he keeps on siding with those who can not share in his ambitions. He needs experienced players and committed patriotic Malawians who are not hell bent on sabotaging him.
Just like Moses in the wilderness, he will need to identify the mighty men who can stand and help him do all the heavy lifting so that the whole nation is healed. We all know coming out to address people is not in our President’s weakness. And this is what separates him from Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Need for Transparency
It is a universal truth that transparency promotes accountability. While we all do appreciate the operationalization of the Access to information Bill, we are equally also noting some worrying traits.
When the President sanctioned his deputy to carry out a research and give recommendations on public reforms, we were given an impression that this government would live up to the bill of their promise which included transacting and conducting themselves in a fair and open manner.
We were then surprised to hear from the office of the president that the revelations of that investigation were not going to be shared with the public.
Was there anything that the president doesn’t feel comfortable with? The moment he announced it to the public, he made it open for public consumption. Unless there were classified details of which I doubt, then there is no justification for hiding the contents .
It is that level of arrogance that when citizens are asking for information and leaders choose to conceal it that costed a Dadi the elections, and it is on a full display now.
Let us remember that both Dr. Lazarus and Dr. SKC had vowed that their Government’s action was mainly going to focus on economic activities that would foster an expedited growth of employment and productivity.
In case we had forgotten, we were promised that this would be accelerated thorough targeted reforms and intentional investments or expenditures. Do you remember the talk of bullet trains, mega farms and many other enterprises by DR Chilima?
What about the one million jobs we were promised? Was this just another political gimmick? The truth is, so far we are failing to put our priorities in the right places. We choose to spend billions on useless things like swimming pools while our hospitals have no supplies.
Just the other day our government was forced to walk back from their plans to hold independence celebrations in the midst of a looming third wave of covid.
And to my surprise the same government that was claiming that it had no money to pay for vaccines, was able to allocate so much money for non productive celebrations.
How do we celebrate when our bridges are impassable and or roads are damaged? just ask people of Mzimba who have been crying for Chakazi bridge to be fixed.
As I sign out, I ask this government to be serious and intentional enough in setting the priorities that will strengthen our economy and national security so that our people’s quality of life will improve for the better.
Otherwise, we are still wondering if Tonse was just a dream in our deep slumber. Perhaps, it is time we get out of that deep slumber and face reality check. It is time to smell the coffee. Adios.