‘Big Fish’ syndrome kills progress

As it were, Singapore is well known for its advanced development. Probably, this is why President Peter Mutharika made an attractive promise to woo voters by saying that once voted back into power he would turn Malawi into a Singapore.

So far this is just a wishful thought, especially, considering that the situation in Malawi is not conducive enough to any progress.

Information and reports about Singapore indicate that it has reached that level because one of the main policies is that the country all the time strives to achieve zero-corruption. They have done this by punishing the people at the top on corruption cases. This has sent a message that the country is capable of bringing to book even the big fish, and that no one is above the law.

Instead of saying that he will turn Malawi into a Singapore, the President should just emulate how Singapore deals with corruption, which is rampant in Malawi. In fact, there has been so many corruption stories implicating big people and Malawians have great expectation that they will be brought to book; but, unfortunately, nothing happens.

It is naïve for President Mutharika to think that corruption in the country will just disappear without any effort. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have championed taking of some important people to court. However, they are still walking free to enjoy their loot because the charges are minimal such as charging them for abuse of office, which carries a small sentence, and no imprisonment. This simply promotes corruption at the top.

What makes one wonder is why some of the corruption suspects even get promoted before their innocence is proved at the courts.

It goes without saying that the ACB is always expected to fight corruption to the core by quickly bringing suspects to book regardless of their position in government or society.

Probably because the ACB boss is appointed by the President, it might mean that government just wants the ACB director to be seen fighting corruption while in reality he is not. May be because of the syndrome of fearing ‘the big fish’. Cynically, ACB seems not to know that even ‘the big fish’ can be fried.

Recently, there has been media stories that some three high-ranking individuals had an intention to bribe judges with millions of kwachain relation to the ongoing presidential elections case. The ACB was under pressure to take action. To this effect, the ACB director Reyneck Matemba called for a press conference where he said he will not reveal the names, let alone, the amount of money involved in the bribery, until the matter is thoroughly investigated.

One can only hope that this is real and not a hoax to pacify people. In fact, arresting some suspects will send a message that no one is above the law. Even more so arresting top level people shames and reduces their integrity.

It is a well known fact that malpractices such as corruption, bribery and abuse of public resources have denied Malawians foreign investors.

Recently, President Mutharika attended the UK–Africa summit, which was about striking deals with investors. The President has attended so many summits of that nature, but he seems to return home empty-handed or with empty promises. Needless to say that the unreliable situation in the country is the cause of all the unfortunate position on investors. This includes the political instability. Indeed, it does not make sense for the President to go out to woo investors before the problems at home are sorted out. Solutions are right here and not abroad.

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