Hon. Folks, image matters. That’s why at the dawn of the multiparty system of government, the Malawi Police Force changed its name to Malawi Police Service.
Those charged with police reforms that time realised the Malawi Police Force lost credibility during the Kamuzu era when, instead of being an agent of State responsible for law enforcement, it was used as a political tool of oppression against Kamuzu’s real and perceived enemies.
We were told there was need for reforms to give the police a “human face,” implying hitherto the police wore an image of a monster. Among other things, it was said unless the police was perceived to be a friend, people would not trust it and community policing would fail. Folks, again I say image matters.
Does the APM government know this?
On more than one occasion, APM has denied the prevalence of rampant corruption, saying the media blows the malpractice out of proportion just to spite his government, really? A discerning eye should be able to detect traits of corruption in the lifestyle his cronies!
What, for example, should we make of APM’s allegation that the DPP fat cats who dumped him and openly declared their support to Vice-President Saulos Chilima to APM did so out of frustration after he had rebuffed their requests for favours, including clinching tenders through the back door. Isn’t that corruption?
Again, if APM was serious with his pledge on zero-tolerance for corruption, would he have just said no and allow them the luxury of walking out on him in protest? I bet John Magufuli would’ve shown them the door out of his presidential mansion!
Come to think of it, wasn’t this a case for the Anti-Corruption Bureau? When Chilima said in his parting shot with DPP that corruption is rife in government, APM’s spin-doctors hit back by reminding the Veep that talk is cheap, he should report the corrupt to ACB, if he knows any.
How then could such good advisors fail APM by not capitalising on the umbrage he took at some of the Chilima Movement diehards? They should’ve advised him too to report them to ACB. They could then put a spin on it by issuing a press statement saying the APM government would not shield any corrupt person even if they belong to the party’s national governing council (NGC).
It appears these people, if indeed they approached the Head of State with such a weird demand, saw it as a benefit for their loyalty. Do the others see things differently?
Why is it that when DPP cadets unleash violence even within the precincts of Parliament and in full view of law enforcers, no arrests are made?
Why is it that the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has zeroed in on Ngalande, Richard Makondi and Ben Chidyaonga soon after these people went for the SKC beret, demanding that they pay up millions and millions of kwacha when all along, these folks who combine politics and business, weren’t being hassled even when MRA wasn’t meeting its targets?
Why is it that Macra only targets independent broadcasters, completely ignoring MBC when it too violates the regulatory dos and don’ts?
The Constitution and the laws are premised on the equality of all people. If violence is an offence, the police are supposed to arrest and bring to book any culprit. No sacred cows. Likewise, MRA is supposed mete out equal treatment to defaulters.
Instead, partisan politics has crept into State agents so much that the police, MRA, Macra, MBC and ACB are reduced to weapons, “owned” and used by the governing party to harass the opposition and suppress dissenting views.
It all started like a joke way back in the days of Bakili Muluzi when recycled spin-doctors from Kamuzu’s dictatorial era coined the expression “serving government of the day” which in practice turned out to be serving the governing party of the day.
It may serve folks in the governing party well but they shouldn’t forget the flip side: the impunity they enjoy only lasts as long as they are in government. When they cease to be confused with the so-called government of the day, the same agents of the State that were made to slavishly serve them, pounce on them with rabid vengeance.