The price of failure

“….A handful of us—the smart and the lucky and hardly ever the best—had scrambled for the one shelter our former rulers left, and had taken it over and barricaded themselves in.” Chinua Achabe, Man of the People.

If anybody had any doubts that we are governed by a careless and insensitive government that cares little about our wellbeing, least of all, our feelings, then the response to the outcry on the incendiary killings of people with albinism is the answer

If anybody wanted to learn the definition of a ‘heartless leadership’, then probably they must be made to study what this government, through its top most official on matters of security, had to say this week on calls for protests against the killings of people with albinism.

To hear what Nicholas Dausi, my good friend whose job as Homeland Security Minister is well renumerated with our hard-earned taxes, was to swallow a bitter pill. Here is a government on whose watch, some 25 people with albinism have been killed, either in broad daylight or under the cover of darkness. All that the government has offered is platitudes—often in reaction to widespread condemnation.

Let this sink, lest its twisted that this government has failed the people with albinism in this country; at no point in our history, have we witnessed such regular killings of a group of people as we have witnessed in the last five years. Whether that is being political or not doesn’t matter. Facts are sacred. This is not an opinion.

And while it’s been hard to stomach our government’s cluelessness on the matter, Dausi’s comments, wildly circulated in the media this week, appearing to belittle the cases as not worth holding a vigil for, are to say the least, condescending and out of order. If only the DPP-led government was in a way showing glimpse of getting to the bottom of what is going on, we could have excused Dausi’s gaffe.

But DPP-led government has only appeared concerned about the killings and abductions when it feels they are weaponised by the opposition and used to demonstrate to all and sundry, that DPP is a clueless administration.

And to some extent, this school of thought—that the DPP is a clueless and rudderless ship, can be dominant when you remember so many a crisis the party has failed to meet as modern leaders should in face of challenges. Think about those endless days without electricity, you will get the idea.

But before we digress a lot, let us interrogate Dausi’s thinking—which by extension is DPP-led government’s—what on earth would constitute a crisis in terms of the sanctity of life to warrant citizens to camp at their President’s home to remind him that they need protection.

And I may have missed this but people with albinism in the country deserve much better and they must indeed, whether this government like it or not, show it that they feel short-changed. As they march to State House to seek security at the President’s home, whoever will come to State House will see two symbols that our government doesn’t lack neither personnel nor money to protect our fellow citizens.

First, they will travel past the presidential villas, a vanity project that will taunt those whose families and friends have been easy prey because they sleep in poorly constructed huts and then, the excessive State House security when the country’s citizens are seeking actual security and not this exaggerated façade of security for our paranoid leaders.

So, maybe their government needs to be reminded as our citizens descend at the opulent house that through its own pet project—the Malata and Cement Subsidy Programme it can construct decent and secure homes for the 10 000 people with albinism in the country. That will go a long way placating those of us injured by the venom of Dausi’s –and by extension, this government’s mistimed and ill-conceived reaction to a genuine outcry for leadership.

When all is said and done, when a leader is sworn to be our President or minister, they take a solemn pledge to defend our country. A country is nothing without a people. DPP has from time and time again forgotten why it solicited the mandate to govern—through bouts of executive arrogance such as Dausi’s speech, we also tend to see how that arrogance becomes an abuse of power.

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