Why the Saulos Chilima’s order won’t be complied with
Vice President Saulos Chilima’s order that the Lilongwe City Council should, for once, enforce their own by-laws by demolishing houses that were built in and along the banks of Lingadzi River in Area 49, opposite Bingu National Stadium, and Mtandire, makes complete sense.
The reason is simple and it is encapsulated in the fact such structures are not only illegal but are also responsible for the manmade disasters as they divert the natural running course of water.
The Vice President did not forget his trademark of colouring his speech by quipping that visiting people affected by floods, as he does every year during the rainy season, is not entertainment.
Then Chilima had his planned shocker: “Last year we were here and advised those people to move out of the place but they have decided to be selfish and they built their houses not only along the river banks but in the river, thereby affecting its flow and creating disasters for some innocent people. The houses have been built in illegal places. This is man-made disaster and we will have to demolish those houses by force.”
Well, I got news for the Vice President. Despite his tough talking that makes complete sense, none of the above will happen.
No single house will be demolished in Lilongwe or anywhere else for that matter and the reason is politics.
You see, in this country, politics is practised for its own sake as a tool to acquire power.
Once that power is in the bag, those who have it do not use it for the common good but for their own and for the good of those connected to them.
It could be their friends, their family, their party, their tribe or their region.
The issue at hand is very basic. By laws in our cities do not allow residents to build houses in rivers or on mountains such as Soche Hill in Blantyre. This is against city planning.
In Blantyre, the council tried to do the right thing by putting up a 60-day notice to residents that built houses in wrong places —such as Soche Hill and Ndirande —that they should relocate to South Lunzu where land has been found for them.
But political underhand wheeling and dealing, coupled with threats from the DPP, have ensured, that such plans are nicked in the bud.
The DPP establishment has told the city bosses to go ahead with the demolition if they do not want their jobs.
The fear is that the ruling party will lose votes from those whose houses will be demolished.
The same will be true for Lilongwe. The houses that dot the banks of Lingadzi River will stay put because DPP knows it has messed up so much with our lives in the past four years and is desperate to hold on to power that it will do everything in its power not to risk upsetting Malawians, by shying from doing the right thing.
That is what happens when you have a ruthless band of individuals who have power but choose to use it for its own sake not for the general good. They will do everything to maintain it at all cost.
They will cheat the masses through massive propaganda that something in human development is happening on the ground through patchy projects here and there.
The reality is that they are the real beneficiaries of such projects because they benefit by unfairly getting direct contracts or kickbacks.
For the DPP government, it knows it has messed up big time through nepotism, regionalism, corruption, under development and general incompetence.
The party thinks its salvation next year lies in being overly nice to a few Malawians who have broken the law when, in fact, fact, they should be thinking of the larger general good. If parties were to lose elections through not condoning lawlessness, then the late Bingu wa Mutharika could have lost massively in 2009 for evicting vendors from the cities without mercy.
On the contrary, he won because, between 2004 and 2009, he was not the political monster he became later with an unbridled arrogance that saw him calling everybody stupid, including diplomats, some of whom, such as the then British ambassador Fergus Cochrane- Dyet, he chased.
The late Bingu won massively in 2009 because he had previously governed well and the citizens felt, we were on to something as a country.
Today, there is no such thing as feeling that there is something going on. Instead, the feeling is of despair and hopelessness at the level of blunders, lies and evil propaganda being committed on daily basis by this government.
To imagine that a group of people can just wake up one morning and decide that they will reward each other with taxpayers’ money worth K4 billion is unbelievable. What else are they doing and what else is it that we do not know? This is incredible stuff and politics is at its centre.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues