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In the Book of John

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When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me. — John 13: 21—

The Gambia’s Army chief, Ousmane Badjie, has proven to be a bastion of moral rectitude to some of us. When he was asked about The Gambia’s army’s stand in response to the imminent military intervention by Senegal when Yahya Jammeh wanted to illegitimately prolong his stay in office, Badjie said, “I am not going to involve my soldiers in a stupid fight. I love my men”.

To some, especially the monstrous Jammeh, Badjie might appear a betrayer who walked on a different path from that of loyalty, but to people like me, Badjie is one brave fellow who refused to glorify the stupidity of Jammeh, the usurper. Had Badjie acted like a Malawian sycophant and blindly decided to defend the indefensible, we could, by now, have been gathering dead bodies from the gory fields of The Gambia. But his decision has saved lives.

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At home, we are so thin of people like Badjie. Much as some will play down Badjie’s decision arguing that he was fully aware that Jammeh was already cornered and his days were numbered, it remains a rare act for an army chief to think of his men first and the boss last.

I have a million and one examples of people who are so willing to pamper unpopular leaders at the expense of a majority subjects who have become the very symbols of privation. One of them is that of Providence Industrial Mission’s leader Patrick Makondesa.

On Sunday last week, Makondesa cartooned himself and mocked Chilembwe when the cleric decided to turn the pulpit into a political plinth for praise singing. Instead of preaching, Makondesa chose to attack people, apparently the media, on behalf of Peter Mutharika. In his strange and lopsided thinking, this Makondesa guy decided to brand the media as a bunch of faultfinders who have decided to give a blind eye to anything good the Mutharika-led regime is doing.

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Well, everyone, just like you, I and Makondesa is entitled to an opinion. But it beats me that a man of the collar should use the holy book to promote bad leadership for the sake of earning a nod from the powers that be. In Makondesa’s illusory world, Mutharika is a fine president whose mission is only derailed by negative reportage. It is funny how Makondesa cannot see how Mutharika is encouraging the raging corruption, political intolerance, impunity, disregard of the rule of law and nepotism.

By the end of Makondesa’s infamous sermon—which of course was a political speech— he surely received some nods of approval from the people he told what they wanted to hear, but for a normal and sane Malawian, Makondesa betrayed himself and the people he purportedly lead as a cleric of PIM.

And Makondesa is not alone in this. On Tuesday last week, the loquacious and sable rattling John Kapito had his own show of infamy. While people are waiting for the Commission of Inquiry and the joint committee of Agriculture and Public Accounts to probe into the dubious maize deal between Malawi and Zambia, somehow, John Kapito wants to impress upon us that he is the quickest investigator on the land. According to him, he has already done his investigations and has found Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda and Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation boss, Foster Mulumbe, not guilty of any wrongdoing in the questionable purchase of the grain from Zambia.

What I find laughable is that Kapito really thinks he still represents the timid consumer of 1993. Twenty- four years of posing as a consumer rights activist, Kapito should have been smart enough to know that people have now woken up and can easily tell when someone is playing games with them.

It is pretty amazing that Kapito has become the swiftest investigator acting faster than the ACB and even the Commission of Inquiry. Of course the ACB is known for its slowness, and selective pursuit of cases, but Kapito cannot tell the world that he is quicker and smarter. On another day, I would be asking where Kapito, with all due respect, got the money for his expensive probe.

And if Kapito was acting in good faith, he should have taken his purported findings to the Commission of Inquiry which we all know is calling for information. Kapito, on this, has made me start thinking twice about his sincerity as a so-called consumer rights activist.

Talk of activists, I am made to remember the words of the late Bingu wa Mutharika. Once upon a time, Mutharika said this country is replete of crooks that are unemployable and they have chosen activism as a sure means of bringing food on their table. These so-called activists, according to Bingu, make noise on behalf of the people when in truth all they want is to draw attention so that the powers that be should bribe them to keep quiet.

Let me end with my epigram, “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” This is found in the Book of John.

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