Why us, Malawians?
I will not get tired of asking this question, for the mere reason that I do think it is a fundamental one as it goes to the core of our very being: What crime have we, Malawians, committed against Mother Nature to deserve the kind of leadership that we have across the board in this country, a leadership that is responsible for our misery?
Examples of the debilitating failure of leadership that, in turn, fails Malawians every day, are there for all to see.
The energy problems are a classic example. For any economy to even have some faint dreams of developing, reliable energy is the central feature.
You cannot power any machine without energy and, so, it goes without saying that any investor that will come to our country to pour out his or her money into it will pinpoint energy as one of the factors that will determine whether he or she shows up or not.
The present DPP government has been lying, through the teeth, to Malawians that it is developing the economy and that things will be better one day.
This government has gone to the extent of blowing taxpayers’ money for nothing by organising redundant investors’ conferences that have brought virtually nothing, by way of any real investment on the ground, that has made a real difference.
In the end, those foreigners who come to the conferences are after one thing and it is sight-seeing.
Who in their workable senses would invest in a country that has no reliable power and all we get from our leaders is cluelessness and fumbling in the dark on energy?
This government has no energy plan for this country. The idea of splitting Escom into two to give birth to Egenco was just a ruse for tribesmen to share up top posts.
It has done absolutely nothing to solve our energy problems, whether looked at from the generation point of view or distribution.
Then you have the mother of all procurement scandals at Escom.
They planned in April and knew that, come October, we would wake up in darkness as blackouts will have reached fever pitch as are being experienced today.
They strategised that the best way to solve the problem was to procure hired generators to the tune of $74 million to fill the energy gap caused by the low water levels in Shire River where Egenco generates power from.
Then there came the disaster in execution. Escom’s Internal Procurement Committee (IPC) met and decided on one company which was duly told that it won the tender.
The Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODDP) duly approved that one company from South Africa.
Then shenanigans began and Escom started changing goal posts in favour of another company. Then some other company found its way on the list although it was not initially there.
All this summed up into one thing: Fraud. It was misprocurement and was declared so by the ODDP, and OPC has since ordered that Escom’s cousin, Egenco, should restart the whole process
It is clear that somebody in the corridors of power wanted to play a fast one so that they, or other higher forces, could personally benefit from the deal that could have made a difference to blackouts that we, Malawians, are experiencing today.
It is clear from this story that it was not just sheer incompetence at play but inner fights and divisions among warring parties in the corridors of power as they jostled on whose favourite company could get what.
As all this jostling and struggling, as to who will get the largest pie of the cake from procurement deals, is happening, it is we, Malawians, that are suffering constant blackouts.
And tragically, we have no one to turn to.
After locking himself up at the State House since returning from the US two weeks ago, President Peter Mutharika, who we elected to solve our problems, decided to get out and about this week.
It is, after all, by-elections season and the President could not cocoon himself forever.
Unfortunately, the message the President came out with when he spoke on the Escom scandal in Lilongwe the other day was not inspiring at all.
As usual, he did not capture the gist of the story and how it is affecting Malawians.
Simply put, the President was hell-bent on a cover up so that we, Malawians, should move on to another scandal by another agency or arm of his government.
I will end the way I started. What crime have we committed that we should be paying the ultimate price of having a leadership that seems to be clueless and fraudulent in whatever it does?
Just like any other people on earth, we deserve better.
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