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Big tree, small axe

The Write Stuff

There are certain things that happen in this country that will leave your mouth wide open but with nothing to say. You just cannot believe that such things are happening in a country which has systems in place and people in charge. By now, most Malawians understand why we are where we are – we are not serious enough or some people we have entrusted with authority are just not as intelligent. There is a need for serious soul-searching, or we are doomed.

When things that should not happen happen, we are fond of beating about the bush instead of addressing the elephant in the room. In the week that just ended, Malawians were taken for fools when the government released an incomplete report on the investigation that a commission of inquiry undertook regarding the Martha Chizuma arrest.

The whole Secretary to the President and Cabinet made this decision in 2023. This invited mixed reactions, most of which fueled by anger, as is expected of anyone who is in their right mind. As usual, party boys came to the party, singing praise songs in defense of their benefactors.

However, what is interesting is that most people pointed fingers at the commission of inquiry for doing a lousy job. They read the document and insulted the commission. Most did not even question why the authorities gave us an incomplete document in the first place.

That is where we lose it – we do not ask the right people the right questions.

In the few years that it has been in power, the Tonse Alliance administration has gotten away with a lot of garbage because these people are not accountable to anyone. The administration perhaps takes advantage of the ignorance of most Malawians and believes that all of us don’t know better. But they are wrong.

As the years slowly roll, Malawians are counting their losses, and somebody will have to pay the damages in 2025, or sooner. We remember that more than K17 billion in Covid funds was stolen and that nobody has been brought to book. The leadership made some noise and then kept quiet, hoping that we have forgotten. But we did not forget. We also remember that the President tasked a team, led by his vice, to come up with suggestions for public sector reforms, and their report was hidden from Malawians.

They used our money to conduct an exercise, only for them to decide that we do not deserve to know what that exercise produced. That is just how small they think we are.

It is hard to imagine how we can make any meaningful progress when the government thinks that it should not be accountable to the citizenry. We are not living in an archaic monarchy or dictatorship, where things are at the discretion of the leader.

In 1993, Malawians chose a system of multiparty democracy that affords them rights and privileges, among them the right to information. We recently fought for the right to access to information, and this right is being abused in our faces.

Where do people run to when those who are supposed to safeguard their rights are in the forefront abusing them? Malawians deserve better and they should not be taken for a ride by people they entrusted with their futures.

We understand that being in power is sweet but, as they say, when you see a tortoise high up in a tree, somebody must have put him there.

The Tonse Alliance administration should not forget that it is us who gave them this authority but now they are taking us for fools.

They should not be too quick to forget that, just yesterday, we had unrepentant Democratic Progressive Party people at the height of their impunity – singing obscene songs and wielding machetes in our dirty streets. No matter how big you think you are, the small people around you cannot watch you step on their toes forever.

Politicians must learn from history and they must understand that power is fleeting. Today, the Tonse Alliance may be a big tree not shaken by any wind, but Malawians are small axes eating at that tree. The government must check how it treats its citizens or risk the fall.

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