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They are now arresting children

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The debilitating incompetence of the Peter Mutharika administration in handling national affairs is now reaching high levels never imagined before.

But the kids who swarmed our streets this week, demanding that President Mutharika’s government respect their right to education and pay their teachers leave grants so they go back to the classroom, have told us a valuable lesson on how to deal with this utterly incompetent administration.

The issue at hand is very simple. Any administration that knows what to do and why it is in government would solve it while half asleep.

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What is so difficult in paying 63,000 teachers their peanuts that range from K28,000 to K33,000?

Yet listening to Goodall Gondwe explaining this in Parliament on Monday, I reached the inescapable conclusion that we, Malawians, are damned and our fate sealed and delivered under this government.

When MPs demanded that Gondwe account for his words the previous week that teachers would be paid their money— a thing that did not happen, forcing school kids to swarm the streets— the Finance Minister shamelessly talked of the bureaucracy that his officials told him about, making it almost impossible to pay the money.

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Then the Minister of Education Emmanuel Fabiano, who should have been fired by now if we had a decisive president at State House, went into rambling about whose responsibility it is to pay teachers that varied from the Ministry of Finance to Local Government to district councils.

It was a labyrinth and a maze of absolute bureaucracy and deep rooted incompetence by a government that is busy in its own world and has forgotten why they are governing in the first place.

Why should it be difficult to pay a simple allowance to teachers? Does it take all this bureaucracy for Gondwe or Fabiano when they travel to US or Europe or anywhere else to chill but at the pretext of government business?

I bet they get it there and then. It is the teachers’ allowance whose bureaucracy they want to bore us to death with.

I am glad that the MPs, with Jesse Kabwila leading the onslaught, could have none of it and told them in the face what they thought of them.

The two ministers were told in no uncertain terms that Malawians will not accept this debilitating incompetence.

But it is the Facebook kids from primary schools who have taught us a great lesson on how to deal with the Mutharika administration’s incompetence and it is not to accept it but to do something about it.

And the response from the DPP administration was to be expected.

Instead of solving the root cause which is the strike of the teachers, the DPP government is using the police to clamp down on the kids.

The Mutharika administration is arresting and prosecuting kids because they are demanding education. It is simply incredible.

The President would rather address an empty hall in London at Oxford University than solve a teachers’ strike so that these kids should go back to class.

On arrival from London, he would rather talk about Oxford University doing joint research with our local universities.

And this is where he is getting it all wrong. Malawians are not in the mood to be impressed with high sounding verbosity about university research when their children are not even in basic classes.

Who cares about Oxford when our own Chancellor College has been closed for over six months over the lecturers’ pay impasse which the President does not want to talk about?

The parents of the Chanco kids are in distress and The Polytechnic lecturers are threatening to join the strike and all the President can do on arrival from Europe is talk about Oxford where he addressed an empty hall?

This is unacceptable. But the primary school pupils have taught us how to behave when faced with intransigence of this government and it is not to accept it but show anger without being afraid of police teargas and bullets.

I feel for the policeman who nearly lost his life at the hands of the pupils in Lunzu as well as many motorists who were unfortunate to be on the road and met the ire of the pupils.

But in the greater scheme of things we all have the incompetence of the DPP administration to blame.

They are good at nothing and are now arresting even kids to hide their colossal failure at governance.

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