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Price of our folly

I admire the sincerity of the Arab World when it comes to protecting and defending their countries. These guys don’t swallow nonsense as we do here at home. Up there, our Arabic friends are serious in almost everything they do. They know exactly what their countries stand for and which leaders can best take them on a path and to a destination of prosperity and sovereignty.

Down here, the situation is contrary. All of us seem not to care about the happenings of the country, and we appear to be happy about and proud of it. We exude some legendary nonchalance such that those in power even know that we are a sleeping lot such that they can toss us the way they want knowing that we will remain as docile as we have always proved to be.

Recently, Minister of Health, Peter Kumpalume, made a rare confession that in terms of health service provision this country is in complete mess just as one Goodall Gondwe admitted that economically, we are on a dangerous plunge. Much as it did not call for the two ministers’ assertions that somehow things have gone awry—because evidence is all over for us to see—the confessions speak volumes of how worse we have become in recent times.

Kumpalume’s justification on the perennial stock-out of drugs in hospitals is that drug manufacturing companies have been hit economically and the manufacturers have opted to manufacture drugs that, when sold, will bring them more revenue than those that we need here at home. Coming from Kumpalume, a man I hold in high regard, I find his excuse ridiculously petty and staggeringly wanting. Every month, Malawians are taxed and taxed heavily and the reason the justification for being heavily taxed is that those taxes are meant to, among others, buy drugs to save lives. Now if we are only waiting for drug manufacturing companies to produce cheap and most basic drugs the question will be, where does our tax go to? And if stories about empty drug shelves are not depressing enough, we also have been told the spine-chilling story of patients being starved in hospitals and ambulances being parked because there is no money to run things.

But despite all these sad tales, we still have a president who travels in an exaggerated motorcade of fuel guzzling machines replete with his sycophants and ministers who love being seen on the telly rather than overseeing progress of the nation.

Elsewhere, if a government is failing to solve an economic puzzle, failing to provide drugs in hospitals, failing to create employment for its desperate youth, failing to employ its trained medical personnel despite a glaring shortage of medical staff, failing to feed its people and failing to tame its silly officials, then that government boasts of one tag: A failed entity. But this is home, Malawi, where we still have idiotic fanatics who, as long as they are enjoying state house banquets, their mouths are zipped.

Despite all his glaring flaws, former president Bakili Muluzi made two serious and awakening observations about Malawians: We have a goldfish memory and that running a country is serious business.

Having a goldfish memory is not the prettiest of things I must say. A goldfish has a legendarily short-spanned memory: It even forgets its own existence—and that is true about Malawians. If you think this is not true then ask yourself why, of all things around, in just two years after going through a dress rehearsal of hell, we decided to resurrect that monstrous DPP government. Even divinity— which intervened in our misery that April of 2012—now laughs at our folly. We have a torturous government that we all deserve, don’t we?

One of the guards near where I live is a staunch and confessed DPP fan. When the 2014 election results were announced around midnight, the guard could not tame his elation and shouted for all to hear that his days of spending piercing cold nights as a guard are over and that he will get an “Office” job. Today, over a year and a half later, that watchman still asks me for a hundred kwacha to buy food and he still exposes his soiled bottom despite wearing three pairs of trousers together.

See what, the progress of this nation is seriously being dragged by people who, like the guard I have mentioned, are into damned, blind loyalty and believe that someone is a good leader because he or she comes from their village, that their party is infallible, that their existence depends on being closer to the throne and that anyone who speaks bad about their leader is a hater.

Of course you cannot blame this band of parrots bearing in mind that most of them, just like me, have a poor education background as well as a terrible professional back-up and their only survival strategy is being stupid and play ball in front of the throne.

But to cut the story short, I think we must stop blaming Peter for the mess he has dragged us into since we all had a chance to choose better in the tripartite polls. Peter had, in May, his curriculum vitae hanged for all of us to see, and it read: Miserably failed as Minister of Education, pathetically awkward as Minister of Justice, Damned blooper as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Interestingly we opted for him and he now personifies the price of our folly.

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