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The painful arrow of bias

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Death, that constant, comes in many forms. This has always been the case.

In modern times, we hear of people dying after being shot at. Some die immediately while others die after some time.

For the latter, the pain must be unbearable.

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It is always sad to see people in agony. And it has never been difficult to understand pain. I mean, the nature of pain.

The majority of people in the world understand pain. The majority of global citizens feel pain. The pain I am referring to is the physical type.

I am saying “the majority of people” because there is a special minority of people that does not feel physical pain. This is scientifically proven.

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Now, despite the general nature of pain, there are some heartless people in this world who wish others pain. All they think about are other people suffering, squirming in agony.

And, when the tables turn, such people cry the loudest at the slightest feeling of pain.

Such people may not even withstand the pain caused by something as small as a needle.

Anyway, that is human nature.

Why am I saying all this? Your guess is as good as mine. The ‘Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Arrest of the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Ancillary Matters’.

To begin with, Section 7 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act provides that: “It shall be the duty of the commissioners, after taking such oath or making such affirmation, to make a full, faithful, and impartial inquiry into the matter specified in the commission, to conduct such inquiry in accordance with the directions (if any) contained therein; to report in due course to the President, in writing, the result of such inquiry, and also, if required, to furnish to the President a full statement of the proceedings of the commission, and of the reasons leading to the conclusions arrived at or reported.”

And, in line with this provision, it pleased State President Lazarus Chakwera to institute a commission of inquiry to look into the issue of ACB Director General Martha Chizuma.

Chizuma was arrested in December, when police raided her home, apparently over a civil matter.

Now, first things first. The report of findings is titled ‘Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Arrest of the Head of the Anti- Corruption Bureau and Ancillary Matters’. This means it is not just about the arrest of the ACB chief; it also delves into other issues— ‘ancillary matters’, if I have to use the words used in the report.

What this means is that all those that want to read the full report will learn about the arrest itself as well as other circumstances. Fine and well.

I think the ancillary matters feed into the frame of the whole report, shedding light on what sparked what and led to what and how. Something like that.

Which is why I do not understand the ‘pain’ that some people are feeling, especially when the source of the pain is their failure to understand why the commissioners also zeroed in on issues such as the leaked audio that made rounds early last year.

That must be the basis of everything, after all.

So, those who find fault with the fact that the commission of inquiry also delved into the issue of leaked audio can do themselves a favour by taking one or two tablets – depending on body mass index—of a painkiller and rid themselves of the pain.

Pain, as I said at the onset, is such an uncomfortable feeling. That is why I feel for our ancestors, who had to kill each other with arrows and spears during the wars of those days.

Unlike modern warfare, when guns are used extensively, instead of the skin and bone-piercing arrows, the very thought of being arrowed at the battlefront must have been painful in ancient days.

And, then, there were no painkillers then. Another painful aspect.

Now, I do not want to talk about recommendations that the commission of inquiry has come up with.

No. I do not want to be saying that the commission has recommended that leadership be re-organised at the graft-busting body and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

I mean, I do not want to be saying the commission also found both Chizuma and DPP Steven Kayuni at fault in the way they conducted themselves while discharging their duties and recommended that Chakwera should deal with them.

Get me right, I am saying I do not want to be saying the report of the commissioners further faults the Malawi Police Service for recording Kayuni’s statement without following procedures.

Today, I am not in a position to say the commission also says it found that there are mistrust issues among the different offices that are mandated to fight corruption and that, as such, it, therefore, recommends that urgent action be taken to restore the dignity, integrity and trust of the offices that are involved in tackling corruption.

I am not even interested in the recommendation that employees who leak information from the ACB must be dealt with.

No.

What I want to say today is that I am disappointed with people and organisations that had preconceived ideas about what the commissioners would come up with, in terms of findings.

I have a feeling, listening to what some people are saying and reading what some people have written on the issue, that there are people in this country who will do everything in the book to appear wiser than ‘Wise men from the East’ when the people they vouch for are found to be on the wrong side of things.

Dear Pain, leave such people alone, at least for now. Give them the insight to know where painkillers are.

I mean, people who want the arrow-of-pain to touch base only with their foes.

The arrow, by its very nature, will never be influenced by preconceived ideas. The arrow of pain is just. It goes where it pleases, whether one hates someone or not.

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