During Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship, one of the things most people did not like were his instant dismissals of people who wronged government.
He had no time to wait for investigations and full stories. As president, he felt so hurt mostly about deliberate wastage of public resources. He must have believed that giving more time to a person who had done that would mean accepting and legalising the bad habit.
Further to what is stated above, recently, President Lazarus Chakwera announced that the board chairperson for the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) must stand down. This was after the President learnt that Macra board went to have a meeting in Dubai. Media reports said that K41 million, or so, was spent on the meeting.
This story shocked the majority of Malawians. In fact, it does not make any financial sense for any board to spend K41 million when the country is going through financial struggles. Even though the board might say that some authority authorised them. In fact, even the so-called authority is questionable and he, too, together with the whole board must stand down.
If the government does nothing on this case, it would mean giving a bad precedence. Most of the boards would follow suit, and even go beyond Dubai to have their meetings, and claiming to be helping the poor in Malawi. It must be pointed out that the Macra board should be the starting point. All boards must be checked to see if they are loopholes for wastage of money and other resources.
President Chakwera and his government should not adopt the system of ‘let us wait-and-see’, which seems to have been done by the past governments. Corruption and stealing of public resources started way back in 1994. The leadership, then, seemed to have just been watching, with no action. To be fair, only former president Joyce Banda managed to have some corrupt people, and thieves, taken to court. Those found guilty are now serving jail terms. But the rest of the leaderships could only talk about it and no actions while the corrupt crooks went ahead to perfect their acts.
So far, there is hope that President Chakwera, with the support of Vice-President Saulos Chilima, and the whole of Tonse Alliance, will be able to deal with the so-called ‘hard core corrupt people and thieves’. At the moment, the country has seen some of the so-called untouchables being arrested. This is sending shock waves to anybody who had done some illegal deals, which are likely to be exposed.
The other thing is that by keeping silent about the previous corruption, most people might have thought that the leaderships were part of the gang and; therefore, did not want to expose the crooks for fear that it was going to backfire on them. This is what caused the corruption mess in the country that the Tonse Alliance administration is struggling with.
This is a wake-up call that even in the current government should not stay silent whenever some people steal public resources, even though bad habits can come in different forms and styles.
In fact, the government cannot claim lack of information about the crooks, because Malawi has alert media houses. With no fear or favour they can expose all manner of fraud. It is up to government to investigate before they declare the stories fake. More importantly, the government should refrain from having people who are untouchable. All Malawians should be equal before the law.