Not easy with soiled hands


It is very frustrating to learn that despite all efforts made by stakeholders to contain corruption in the country, the bucket is very much still leaky, to the point that if we do not do something about it, then we might not win the battle being waged against poverty.

I must say I was not very much surprised to hear that 20 percent of the country’s annual budget is either lost or wasted through corruption, as per the revelation by the chairperson for the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Gladys Ganda the other day at the National Development Conference held in Lilongwe.

Now, in case some do not know, we are talking about money which is generated from ordinary folks like you and me through tax and this is reason enough for everyone to get very angry but, sadly, we, as Malawians do not. We simply talk about it once in a while and eventually turn a blind eye and get on with life.


Going by this year’s budget of K2.85 trillion, it means close to K570 billion goes down the drain and this, dear ladies and gentlemen, is not a negligible sum.

Imagine what a difference this amount could make to the country’s health sector, where day in and day out, people keep complaining about the inadequacies in service provision, especially now when the country is grappling with the cholera outbreak. And yet, somebody somewhere, keeps fleecing the government pulse undetected and goes about unconcerned about what that is doing to the welfare of fellow citizens, particularly the less privileged.

Again, what saddens me is the fact that while corruption continues to thrive on the ground, those we expected to lead from the front in battling the cancer that is corruption appear to be entangled in a cobweb of power play; and at the heart of it all is the very root of corruption that is pitting those who profess to be champions in the anti-corruption battle against those who can best be described as ‘wolves in sheep’s skin’, who are within the system but are hell bent on frustrating the efforts being made in stemming this evil, which has continued to eat the very moral fabric of our society.


With such kind of antics and behaviour, who then do the people turn to, in the hope of redeeming this fight that appears to have gone bonkers somewhere along the way? How do you begin to justify a whopping K570 billion of people’s money disappearing through thin air?

I am told that the biggest conduit, when it comes to corruption in the public service, is procurement. We have heard stories, time and again, where some ‘top dogs’ in public bodies and government ministries have ended up by-passing set systems by tossing into the bin recommendations made by Internal Procurement Committees (IPCs), opting to, instead, go with somebody who has palm-oiled their hand or, worse still, they themselves ended up being the very supplier. I am also mindful of the fact that there have been situations where politicians, including party cadres, have bulldozed their way into procurement deals. In fact, some have allegedly even notoriously imposed a set percentage as their cut per each deal that goes in through their hands and influence. How then do we expect the country to register notable progress when no one really cares about quality, standards and ethics anymore? All they care about is self-aggrandisement and are willing to do whatever they can to illegally amass wealth.

Now, unless those we expect to act exemplary quickly let their subconscious speak reason to them and let the anti-graft fight run its course, we will continue running around in circles. It is never easy to clean any mess when you have soiled hands.

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