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Lessons from Maizegate

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Now that suspects have started emerging from the murky waters of the stinking Maizegate, we need to draw a few lessons from the scandal. There has been a lot of lying, forgery and uttering of false documents just to cover up the scandal.

The first lesson is that President Peter Mutharika has been held hostage atop the hill by his own handlers. They have isolated and insulated him from the rest of the wananchis. The President has been told that everything is rosy in the country and that people are excited with the way the country is rolling.

This became clear when Mutharika dismissed media reports about the Maizegate and corruption in his Cabinet. Just a day before his own commission of inquiry presented its findings, Mutharika publicly declared that the media reports about the Maizegate were false and had to be dismissed with the contempt that they deserved.

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When the commissioners went to present their report, protocol officials attempted to chase the media from the auditorium. But Mutharika, probably believing that the commission would clear his charges, directed that the media should be allowed to stay on. After the presentation, Mutharika asked the commission to re-read its report and he asked some questions for clarification. Probably, he was so shocked to learn that his own commission hanged his right hand man and senior government officials.

The other lesson is that corruption is so rampart within the government and the ruling party. There seems to be a feeling that it is time to make the best of the day for fear of the uncertainties of tomorrow. Everyone is plundering and there is no one to play the brother’s keeper.

There is a lot of blackmailing of, especially, the foreign business community by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) agents on the pretence that the business people would get favours in government contracts.

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And because the rot is so endemic, officials are ready to cover each other up. This is the reason why a lot of false documents were released to mislead the public to believe that there was nothing wrong in the process of importing the maize from Zambia.

Fly-by night researchers came up with their findings, some opportunistic noise-makers composed lyrics, opinionists masquerading as analysts were paraded on the state controlled media houses while injunctions, lawsuits and restraint orders were hurled at patriotic whistle blowers. All this aimed to bury the truth.

No wonder those people who organised chiefs to cartoon themselves on government controlled media houses are now being mentioned as axles in the whole stinking Maizegate. They knew that the head hunting would smoke them out of their hideout.

You see, just as Nelson Mandela said of Mongusuthu Buthelezi, on his own, Mutharika knows and believes that the media is an integral part of any functional democracy. But when he is hypnotised by his corrupt handlers, he starts behaving as any other crooked Malawian politician.

But the most important outcome of this “treasonous” scandal is what the booted Agriculture minister, George Chaponda, has said. Chaponda has expressed surprise as to why he is the only target in the Cabinet. He has straight away mentioned Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, as a possible accomplice. Then there is the whole Admarc management that kept on lying and stealing from the public even after the scandal was uncovered. Why is Mutharika not firing or suspending all these corrupt fat cats to pave way for proper and unhindered investigations?

If the President is serious in his pledge to fight corruption, he must also train his searchlight into these fundraising dinners that his DPP or Mulhako wa Alhomwe organises. Chief executives and DPP senior officials have been reaping off the tax-payer through “donations” to these fundraisers.

So the President has been lied to. He has been shown imaginary enemies of his government. But Pick and Choose has always said that these recycled politicians and chief executives, will never take Mutharika anywhere. They have no integrity, patriotism or a hard working spirit.

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