We on the streets are devastated with the looting taking place in government. Sadly, those tasked to stop the loot are the ones at the heart of it all. The public purse is free-for-all. If you think we, on the streets are exaggerating, read the 2018 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which once again has ranked Malawi on position 120 out of over 180 economies.
The report highlights global effort to tackle corruption and measures perceived levels of public sector corruption annually. It’s a report Bingu wa Mutharika used to rubbish and Peter Mutharika often does not take seriously. For APM, high levels of corruption are usually the imagination of the media.
But corruption is real and no-one in this country is imaging things. From being on position 112 in 2015, then 120 in 2016, Malawi hit a record low of 122 in 2017. For these three years, it has maintained the score of 31 points.
Yet a country where the song Katangale Aposa Salary came from, Zambia, fares far much better than us on position 105, whereas Tanzania is on position 99 and Mozambique is ranked 158.
These statistics, ladies and gentlemen, are a pointer to the fact that the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is here to finish us off. It is also clear that our dear leader—APM—he has been unsuccessful in the four years they have been in power to root out corruption in this country.
Colleagues on the street, growing levels of corruption in the country is having serious impact on foreign direct investment (FDI). But at Capital Hill some individuals are adamant, arguing that they are doing a lot to curb the vice.
The report, if truth be told, is telling us what we already know. Corruption is spreading fast in this country. To do business you have to bribe everyone from the cleaner to the top bosses. On the roads of Malawi, police and traffic officers demand payments for no offences at all. To import and operate a car is almost like a crime because of the under the table deals that have infested the DRTSS system. Public servants are not ashamed to steal and plunder.
At the top level, high profile cases such as the K145 million police ration and K53 billion Immigration Department scams are but a tip of the rot. Whether these cases were probed to save face or not, we leave it to the courts to give a verdict, but in reality the public is taking it with a pinch of salt because nobody believes any action can be taken against such powerful individuals involved.
Which is the point we want to make. There has been so much noise about fighting corruption, but little action is being taken. It is becoming a question of too much barking without biting.
Being an election year, the dominant discourse during the campaign is high-level corruption, because never before has the country found itself so captured by the corrupt networks and the citizens rendered so helpless and disenchanted than now under DPP team B.
This is why we want APM to change gear; shift from issuing threats and making declarations to taking concrete actions. Unless we see more prosecutions, the public will soon lose faith in his hopeless chants. n