There is a particular song by reggae icon Peter Tosh called ‘Maga Dog’ that talks about one’s situation turning from bad to worse, especially those fond of using others to fulfil selfish goals and this is painted vividly when he sings;
Sorry fi maga dog,
Him turn around and bite you,
And if you jump outta flying pan,
I know you jump in a fire yeah!
I was forced to ponder over this song, looking at the various issues unravelling in this country of ours we call home. In one breath, somebody is busy dishing out stadia to privately owned clubs (tab to be picked by taxpayers) and some bootlickers are all over town singing praises of such.
What, perhaps, has not yet dawned on these hand -clappers is the fact that by factoring the allocation in the 2019/2020 financial blueprint, government has not done them any favours but is instead hurting them as it has placed the burden of financing this ‘unnecessary’ project on you and me unfortunately.
Every well-meaning Malawian whose faculties are in functioning order can easily read through the script that nothing but cheap politics, courtesy of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led administration, is at play.
Since the results of the May 21 Tripartite Elections were announced, the governing party has had a torrid time because, if it is not opposition parties giving it sleepless nights, then it has been Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), under the leadership of Timothy Mtambo and colleagues, orchestrating public protests meant to force Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah, who declared DPP candidate Peter Mutharika winner of the presidential poll, to step down.
Not even the ever-willing and readily available Malawi Police Service (MPS) officers could handle the situation as the tide also turned against the service since they were perceived to be under the call and beckon of the powers-that-be. Thus, soldiers had to intervene, but not befall the cops and demonstrators had a showdown in Lilongwe, culminating in the setting alight of an armoured police vehicle and not long after that, a shift at the helm since the then Inspector General who had admitted to have been overwhelmed by the protests, retired. Thus, one could see that Capital Hill was having a rough time.
Now, I expected Capital Hill to at least keep a level head this time around after the courts gave it reprieve by delaying the holding of those incessant public protests, spearheaded by HRDC, but know, politicians never learn as they will always opt for the self-destruction mode.
If government were fishing for a perfect time to turn the tide against HRDC et al then this was it when the wind had been taken off their sails (briefly) by the Supreme Court of Appeal through the 14-day moratorium on demonstrations, but if they thought this was a good reason to vilify Mtambo for chastising it over the planned stadia handouts to Nyasa Big Bullets and Might Be Forward Wanderers then it has goofed big time!
Malawi is struggling under a lot of socioeconomic challenges that needed any serious government’s attention. One just needs to take a look at the performance of the health and education sectors in the last financial year and they would see that it is a mockery to be dishing out funds to football clubs to appease a fraction of the country’s population who follow the two clubs, at the expense of developments that would benefit the entire population through improved health and education services, or better yet, sanitation in rural set-up (Are we not ashamed and tired of seeing those screaming billboards, courtesy of donor partners, announcing that such and such a village has been weaned from the bunch that was relieving itself in the bush?). Young people are busy drinking themselves silly on the streets; culmination of their frustrations over rising unemployment and a lack of support to set-up businesses.
I bet our legislators are already having sleepless nights now that the trap has been lad in their backyard through the stadia budgetary allocation, which they have to deliberate before endorsing or rejecting. But, I say follow your gut feeling and leave politics out of the issue when deliberating; this unnecessary expenditure does not warrant your seal and if you choose to look the other way, then the people will do unto you as they did to a majority of former members of Parliament who had rejected the electoral reform bills not so long ago. If we continue on the path we have taken, we might just wake up one day to realise that we have wasted all the resources that were availed to us as a people and with that, finished what little pride we had in being called Malawi, a sovereign state.
Beware of Maga dog!
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).