That truckloads of life-saving drugs disappear from our Motherland’s government stores, storehouses, stockrooms, depots, warehouses and cross borders 24/7 (life-saving drugs worth K13 million are stolen every day) and that billions of our taxpayer money is converted into personal money every other week under the noses and eyes of government Ifmis managers, the Reserve Bank officials, commercial bank officials, armies of internal auditors and regiments of controlling officers ‘undetected’ must be a seriously cause for concern for every patriotic son and daughter of our Motherland!
That billions can disappear in the vast government machinery without a government soul leaking the s e n e f a r i o u s activities to the appropriate authorities, begs a bigger and more troubling question. The methods and schemes employed by ‘cashgaters’ to effect their treasonous larceny are no rocket-science. Neither are avowed ‘cashgaters’ smart except for totally relying on our unmotherlandic willingness to look the other way as the raping of our Motherland is consummated with our eager assistance.
We are all enablers (in some ways) for some of the rot and shameful white-collar thieving going on in our beloved Motherland (our passive—if not docile—citizenship and lack of motherland-DNA has allowed this rot and white-collar thievery to flourish vertically and horizontally for so long and therefore making us complicit in the state thievery).
But the enabler-in-chief of all the rot and white-collar-thieving going on in our beloved Motherland is President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party government— when was the last time you heard the President speak up on jaw-dropping queries raised by audit reports or make any noise (however, muffled) about the alarming levels of corruption in the country at every level of government or, indeed, when has the President ever refrained from appointing to critical positions people with undoubted histories of white-collar thieving?
How much motherland-DNA still runs in the President’s veins? Professor PLO Lumumba did not mince words when he told the President “corruption in this country can be ended in one day by one man”. I have always uneasily wondered if the President understood what Lumumba meant or the import of the statement! Seriously, what serious leader looks on, indifferently and disinterestedly, as his/her country gets raped left right and centre and by whomsoever has the opportunity and the means to?
White-collar thievery has been the driving force behind most of our charades for solving critical challenges facing our Motherland: opting for leased generators for our energy challenges instead of pursuing more long-term and much cheaper alternatives; opting to draw water from Lake Malawi for a whooping half a billion dollars (imagine what any country in the world would do with that kind of money) instead of rehabilitating existing dam structures in the catchment area; the maize import solution for the ‘cooked– up’ national maize shortage by ‘purchasing’ the staple food from far-away places (Brazil, Ukraine and Zambia) instead of the locally available cheap .
There have also been some truly rotten decisions that put personal enrichment above the interests of our Motherland or were made in the grip of the pervasive rot that has taken over whatever is left of our functioning DNA?
News of the Chinese ‘donation’ of scores of vehicles was, not surprisingly, greeted with joyous ululations across our Motherland but a sober scrutiny of the ‘gesture’ will surely reveal the Chinese will reap a million-fold benefits from the ‘gesture’ (a stark reminder—in this day and age, there are NO free lunches): the Chinese are already acquiring prime lands in our cities for a song; most of them operate businesses under unconscionable extended tax holidays (as prized ‘investors’); they almost never sell Malawi products in their shops (if there are any Malawi products in their shops, they are inferior worthless kabwele mawa products manufactured in Chinese factories in the country); a friend confided in me that Chinese nationals are now allowed to own and operate filling stations at will in the Motherland; Chinese nationals use unscrupulous Malawians to buy ‘hot’ residential property in our cities; circumvent payment of all manner of import duties; etc. How much money is that?
The handouts programmes (food-for-work and other cash transfers, Farm Input Subsidy Programme, cement and malata subsidies, building houses for chiefs and other preferred individuals, etc), notorious for their laxity in fiscal accountability and transparency, constitute one of the biggest rots for the country as they are the ‘hottest’ conduits for white-collar thievery. Taxpayers’ money should never be used for handouts except in truly exceptional circumstances (declared ‘states of disasters’).
What may seem so self-evident for other nationals but doggedly and ungodly amnesiac for our country folk is that leaders that have no motherland-DNA (no love for their countries) can do their countries no good, much less think and plan for the country in generational terms: our four multiparty presidents have failed to do this country any good because they have never loved this country and its people (the many things they have committed to doing and the many things they have omitted to do have all been meant to harm the country and the country’s interests) and, in the same vein, the late Kamuzu Banda was able to lay a good infrastructural foundation for the country and its people because he had motherland-DNA (genuinely and dearly loved this country and its people—despite the many glaring missteps) and could think and plan for the country in generational terms!
Our local media has earned itself the respect of many of us in doggedly pursuing issues that in the eyes of many would not have been considered newsworthy initially and even more so in an era of panga-armed government and party functionaries too willing to do serious harm to anyone holding contrary views on any issue.
But in the words of British Lord Northcliffe: “News is what someone, somewhere does not want printed. The rest is advertising!”
If our leaders had one-millionth of this motherland-DNA for our Motherland and its people that the patriotic media fraternity continue to exhibit, our Motherland would surely have developed a million-fold and surely have developed beyond recognition.
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