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Too civil for nothing

The dent of the Arab Spring is that Syria has forgotten how it feels to be at peace. If you look at the pictures of Aleppo before and after the Arab Spring, the prevalent feeling is that of pity. Aleppo was once beautiful with its palm trees. Now, because of the war, all we see is rubble of a city whose shards are a sad reminder of how bad war is.

But if you were to ask me, I will tell you that the Arab Spring and the old French Revolution of 1789, are grand moments when people expressed their disillusionment with bad leadership and governance.

Here at home, we seem too timid and unnecessarily longsuffering. We have always allowed a few people to run down this country with utter disregard. We even are afraid of them. Sometimes we even stand and clap hands for them and glorify them as gods.

Last week, the section that houses critical offices in the Ministry of Agriculture was gutted down by fire. Even someone with a brain the size of a peanut would be suspicious about the cause of that fire. But it was disappointing that in the end, people thought that was a matter to play jokes or politics with. In a few minutes, all one could see were “funny” posts on social media while some were all over the place making some political statements that, I thought, were just a betrayal to national consciousness.

Think of this, the Minister of Agriculture, that is George Chaponda if you care to know his name, is at the centre of the dubious maize deal between Admarc and Zambia. The two serious inquiries into the deal— the joint parliamentary committee and the other led by Anastasia Msosa—point at Chaponda as someone whose dealings are suspicious and spark of corruption which needs investigation. While there are these allegations on this Chaponda guy, his offices somehow catch fire. Even the dumbest person to ever walk this earth will start asking questions about this fire. It is likely that someone might have been trying to burn evidence of some shady dealings. This coincidence is so difficult to explain really. Of all the offices at Capital Hill why Chaponda’s office?

Going a little back in time, when there were allegations of rigging in the 2014 election in Lilongwe, Malawi Electoral Commission warehouse caught fire. In 2013 when Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) was suspected to have been one of the centres of the loot which we have come to call Cashgate, Escom’s Head Office in Blantyre caught fire. Now these fires are suspicious and, to be raw, might as well be tactics to delete evidence that would have revealed some wrong doing.

Talking of the fire at the Ministry of Agriculture, I will tell you that, if someone deliberately burnt the building, then it is either a defiant statement that Malawians are too dumb to read into issues or that some people are too daft as to burn offices that are at the centre of some controversy. The timing is simply uncalculated and every sane person would be suspicious.

The main reason this is happening is that people involved in crime, especially when they are politically connected, have the impression that Malawians care less about their country and that we can just watch even when we know we have been tossed about.

When we were young and in college, we demanded what we believed was ours and we got it. When the geysers in our halls of residences were not functioning, we never hesitated to walk semi nude—wrapped in towels only— to the maintenance department to remind them about our problem. Sometime I thought that was only intemperance and petulance of youth but now I look back and celebrate that we demanded what was ours and we got it.

The spirit we had in college should be the one we should have now, albeit with temperance, so that we do away with impunity that is prevalent in this country. Sadly, most of us are fat, reclined, softer, and nonchalant and all we do is joke about serious things on social media.

I will not be unfair when I say that since democracy, we have allowed thieves and mafias to run this country. If you can flip back the pages of time, you would be shocked by the list of ministers, heads of departments and agencies that have been involved in shady dealings. Former president Bakili Muluzi was on point to say that Malawians have a memory of a goldfish in his AMalawi sitichedwa kuiwala statement.

Sadly we have come to politicise everything regardless of how wrong or right it is. Those who exude blue in their hue will tell you that the maize deal between Malawi and Zambia was just in order while those from the other side of the fence will think this is a chance to gain political ground.

But good people, we are talking about potential mafia dealings aimed at stealing from this country and later burdening the cost on you and I. If we continue looking with fantasy or joking about this nation, we will realise one day that we do not even have enough to steal from.

If I am to tell you from the nook of my heart what I think of this country and its leadership, I will tell you that we are governed by diabolic thieves. I have been in this country long enough and I refuse to be too civil for nothing.

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