A legacy in tatters
President Lazarus Chakwera will go down in the history of this country as a leader who oversaw the worst attack on those fighting corruption, a vice he had once pretended he was ready to take head on.
Within days, his legacy has been severely battered by his handlers who are hounding Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director- General (DG) Chizuma as though she were some criminal plotting to commit treason.
In fact, in the larger scheme of things, the resolute and shameless pursuit of Chizuma has all the necessary blessings of the President for we all know such a sensitive issue cannot elude him.
It is a great disappointment to Malawians to have a leader who no longer cares about fighting corruption because he wants to protect the corrupt—his henchmen, obviously.
With Chakwera in charge, we have terribly lost the fight against corruption.
He is overseeing one of the country’s most corrupt spells but chooses to side with those inhumanly plundering public coffers probably because he is a beneficiary of such evil schemes.
Otherwise, how does he justify the harrying of Chizuma when he has stated before that she was one of the most professional anti-corruption champions the country has ever had?
It has now become very clear that this administration cannot be trusted when it comes to fighting corruption, a cancer that has significantly contributed to our current wretched state as a country.
Instead of directing energy and resources to the larger battle, government is going to every length to fight Chizuma based on a phone recording.
In whose interest they are doing all this is difficult to understand.
Any objective mind— those not blinded by fanatical political and familial inclinations—will see that fighting Chizuma is not about the rule of law, but a desperate attempt to take her out of ACB with the aim of weakening the bureau so that the corrupt can steal as much as they want knowing they will not be pursued.
By permitting, perhaps even sanctioning, the ridiculous harassment of the ACB DG, Chakwera is giving leeway to thieves to plunder this country at their every whim.
Now, even when some of the resources that are at the mercy of corruption cartels are provided by donors, government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu issued a statement in which he vainly preached sovereignty.
Sovereignty, my foot!
United States citizens’ taxes are among those being stolen by thieves who are being protected by this government and you should not expect their representatives not to talk about it.
No matter how much handlers of this government can justify that pursuing Chizuma is a legitimate cause, the writing is clear on the wall that the main aim is to frustrate the fight against corruption.
And the collateral damage must be so big that Chakwera will risk his legacy by permitting a very unpopular act that is a perfect antithesis of what he onetime indicated he would champion.
He knows that Malawians do not support the despairing chasing of Chizuma but is ignoring such disapprovals because he is afraid an all-out crackdown on corruption will take down the majority of those who surround him.
Now, even the support that our donors pump into this country is at stake.
It is even more worrying that Chakwera’s government is so bent at wiping out all the gains some people have registered towards regaining budget support.
The message that this administration has turned against those determinedly fighting corruption has gone far and wide.
And in large part, it is the President’s legacy that is at stake.
Malawians and all those who believed the country had finally gotten on a path to prosperity with the election of Chakwera at that June 23 court-sanctioned election have once again been sold a dummy.
His is even making his predecessor Peter Mutharika’s administration, which used to reek of callous levels of corruption, look like a better government.
After all, when in power, the Democratic Progressive Party, for all its chaotic ways of doing things, never attempted to plainly show the world it was against those fighting corruption.
But at the end of the day, it is Malawians—the main shareholders of this country—who are being short-changed by this government’s desperate attempts to frustrate the fight against corruption.
Corruption eats into a country’s resources.
It wastes our taxes which could be used for important public projects. No wonder, we still have poor-quality services and infrastructure, a situation which, however, does not seem to bother Chakwera.
With this endemic corruption, which is being abetted by those we elect to help develop the country, we can as well forget about going anywhere economically.
Efforts by hardworking Malawians are being undermined by their own government which is doing all it can to protect corruption cartels by hounding those going after them.
Malawi has lost the push the eradicate poverty and improve public service delivery.
Alick Ponje is a features writer at The Times Group. He graduated from the University of Malawi with a bachelor’s degree in education, majoring in literature in English. Follow him on Twitter @aponje