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Stuck to the glue of greed

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Mdzukulu, one season, kalulu, world champion of greed and trickery, did not plant any crop.

So it thought out a plan.

Night after night, when everyone else had gone to sleep, kalulu scampered to the fields and pulled out some cassava, cooked them and ate them.

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Villagers noticed that their cassava was mysteriously disappearing.

A meeting was summoned to plan on how to catch this cassava-stealer with a trick even the trickiest trickster would not be able to wriggle free from.

There in the moonlight, kalulu saw a skinny, scruffy-looking figure stretching out its arms.

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“Hey, you! So you don’t know who owns this farm? Go away, you rogue, you hear!” shouted kalulu as bravely as he could.

But the figure did nothing.

kalulu gave the figure a mighty slap.

But kalulu’s arm got stuck. His next arm and his legs stuck also.

H e w r i g g l e d . H e squiggled. He jiggled.

Kalulu’s pride and anger now turned to beggarly fear.

“I am sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it … Only put me down. I am aching. Oh, mister man, please, please!”

Little did kalulu know that he was not speaking to a human being at all – it was a scarecrow covered with the stickiest, gummiest gum from the stickiest, gummiest gum-tree the forest could provide.

Mdzukulu, despite its considerable resource endowment, Ma l a w i continues to barely subsist at the periphery of the global economy and cling to the margins of general world affairs.

Mer e s u r v ival has become a daily struggle for the majority of Malawians afflicted by poverty and hunger, succumbing to preventable diseases and vulnerable to premature death and insecurity.

No wonder media practitioners are now stuck to the glue of greed to not actually serve but eke a living.

Generally, Malawi media has for years proudly identified itself as a shining example of upholding sound journalistic values, but slowly, the pride is sliding off the path.

To say journalism is adaptive and not static and stagnant does not entail an open cheque to all suspicious trends even those inimical to democracy flourishing.

If one could hazard a guess, mdzukulu, the existence of a political and/or social system that is clearly morally illegitimate, considered as such by the overwhelming majority and informed by the concept of ‘the unhampered pursuit of self-interest – greed’, leads to the spread and entrenchment of corruption in Malawi.

And that the recent elective Annual General Assembly (AGM) of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter was marred by speculations about aliens – in a form of students in various media training institutions – brought in to vote for new Misa-Malawi Executive Committee is evidence that the country’s media is infested with corrupt humanoids without scintilla of principles.

But anywhere else, the abuse of electoral processes for merely personal gains helps to promote greed and corruption.

The two camps competing in Misa-Malawi elections have suggested hard work and integrity to root out corruption enveloping the country and make the country’s media vibrant.

But one cannot practise entegrity and corruption at the same time.

Neither of the camps has owned up the ferrying of illegible voters to the AGM. But whichever camp did that must be a shameful lot that does not wish this country well.

“Everything about great leadership radiates from character,” says Dave Ulrich, professor of business at the University of Michigan, USA. So, one would not be perceived as a great leader unless they score high on character.

Neither would one lead properly if they do not follow through on commitments; nor make decisions with the good of the subjects in mind, rather than personal agenda; nor open and transparent; nor treat others with respect; nor look at others through a positive lens; nor look to collaborate rather than compete.

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