Fourth bout of pain
By now, it must be clear that Malawi remains a mystery that people, organisations, development partners, among others, try to unravel through observation.
Even after attaining independence as way back as 1964, Malawians themselves seem not to know what is good for them.
As such, they search, and search, for the truth but, because they have a temerity for searching in the darkness, they get nowhere near the light in the giant hollow of blackness they call home.
And, so, they just smile.
Because of the timeless nature of the laughter of Malawians, most of whom laugh because they are tired of being sick with poverty and just have to smile anyway, they are mistakenly called friendly creatures.
The truth is, the smile they wear on their faces is a cloak with which they hide the pain inside. Really.
They know that, in the 2023-24 fiscal year alone, over K300 billion will be lost through corruption.
They know that public health centres based in rural areas will continue to have painkillers in stock. No antibiotics. No surgery equipment. All village people need is something to ease their pain, the line of thinking of those we entrusted with policymaking seems to go.
Talking about pain; our president must be having one of the terrible pains in the world; let us call the pain diplomatic pain.
I mean, one single lady, heading an institution tasked to uproot corruption from the country, has been causing the President headaches since a leaked audio came to light sometime last year.
The President was, then, forced to address the nation on the issue.
He indicated, then, that he was beyond the pain induced by the leaked audio.
How did he get over that pain? He “forgave” the graft-busting body’s director Martha Chizuma.
In so doing, he thought he was over the pain. He was wrong.
The second bout of pain came when Malawi Police Service agents arrested Chizuma last year. It later transpired that she had been arrested because she had, allegedly, injured the then-Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni in the leaked audio.
Chizuma was hunted and arrested at dawn.
The donor community, including the United States and United Kingdom, called for action.
Those calls were a pain, read second bout of pain, to the President, too. Those calls were a thorn in the President’s flesh.
The President thought he had an idea; he would get rid of this pain by instituting a commission of inquiry into the arrest of Chizuma.
The commission was instituted and the commissioners made recommendations, one of which being that changes had to be instituted at the ACB as well as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
That recommendation was a pain— third bout of pain— to the President.
The President had an idea about how to overcome the pain. He would remove the Director of Public Prosecutions Kayuni and leave the good lady at ACB.
Maybe the President was playing the gender card.
And, in playing that card, he thought he had beat the pain— the third bout of pain.
He was wrong. Again.
And he realised how wrong he was by the reaction his administration has attracted after the Secretary to the President and Cabinet interdicted Chizuma.
Apparently, the Malawi Law Society organised a team that challenged the decision to interdict Chizuma.
Chizuma is back at work.
Now, the government has decided to challenge the High Court’s decision after it ruled that Chizuma should go back to work while it reviews, by way of judicial review, whatever has been happening.
While it is expected that each and every one can seek recourse in the courts when they feel that their rights have been violated, it is clear that some people and countries are of the opinion that the government cannot challenge an order given in favour of some of the people that serve in public institutions in the country.
President Lazarus Chakwera, who has not spoken on the issue, seems to be suffering from a fourth bout of pain.
But, then, Dear Pain, the President always has something up his sleeve. He always has solutions to problems.
Just that, in the Chizuma case, the President’s solutions are akin to a double-edged sword— at once a solution and at the same time a problem.
I am waiting for the President’s answers to this fourth bout of pain.