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‘This country is corrupt, very corrupt’

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Imagine someone absconding bail in a corruption case, using two or three different passports to get out of the country and come back without the authorities ‘knowing’ it. In fact, they only ‘learn’ about it once another case rolls in.

Again, imagine some junior clerk, who has never done any other business apart from that of pushing ledgers in some building at Capital Hill, constructing a six-bedroom mansion – complete with a swimming pool and all extras. Where would this guy point at as his source of income?

Consider again, a Cabinet minister pressing an investor for kick-backs so as to be granted a permit or project. Even more, imagine officials tasked to bust corruption threatening investors that they get something for themselves if the investors do not want to be probed.

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And, what of the body responsible for putting a check on corruption protecting people who are on the list of those very much into corruption.

This is Malawi for you, corrupt and very corrupt. And this is the subject that the Crew has decided to debate today.

“Guys, it is sometimes wrong to blame government for rampant cases of corruption when we are all corrupt. Imagine the corruption that is deeply rooted in churches, where even polygamists are given leadership positions just because they pay lots of money in tithes and bribes to pastors, reverends and priests. So you come here or go to the media and start blaming government, mukapsa kumwamba [you will perish in hell]!” ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M says.

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But Lackson is of a different opinion. He feels people are justified to always check on government and point an accusing finger at the ‘fat thieves’ of Capital Hill, for what they steal is public funds, from peoples’ taxes.

“Churches, though run through tithes from Christians, don’t spend a tambala from public coffers. It is not money from taxes; after all, who said polygamists are the most rotten lot and will perish? They are not the worst sinners after all,” Lackson says.

But the bulk of the Crew backs ‘Atsogoleri’, and claim that the government is ‘the most corrupt entity’ in the country.

“Look at what is happening at Escom. The stories we get about that public corporation are sad. Haven’t we heard that some politicians are being awarded obscene contracts to supply things that are not of any use to the corporation, yet we are having these protracted blackouts that are a menace to production and indeed a recipe for the chaotic economy we currently have? Are people not dying because of blackouts? Are businesses not closing shop because of the same? Yet some people are cashing in on these problems and smiling while the bulk of Malawians are suffering? Where is sanity and patriotism in government?” Happison, who is in an argumentative mood today, chips in.

The debate has reached a boiling point. Everyone is bitter that corruption is robbing the country of the much needed resources. Even Lackson seems to cross the floor on the issue that things are not okay in the government; that Malawi is too immersed in corruption; and that we are about to sink for good.

Unless something is done, now and immediately, we may indeed qualify to be ‘an extremely corrupt nation, one of the worst in the country!”

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