Open letter to President of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
Dear President Peter Mutharika,
When I look back at the year 2016, I am astounded at how much change can occur within just 12 months. Come to think of it Mr. President, how many people have we lost? How many disasters have we experienced, both natural and man-made? How many babies have we made, legitimately and illegitimately? What about weddings and divorces? Prophecies; fake and true, elections, cabinet reshuffles, political bickering, power outages, hunger and starvation.
As if all that was not enough, you brought Nicholas Dausi back into the limelight. Please Mr. President, educate him that the universal rule of communication is to keep it as simple as possible. Furthermore, Mr. President, what stood out to me in 2016 were heightened rumors of continued corruption committed by your own lieutenants.
I use the word rumors because to date, that is there to it; No one has been held accountable, at least not yet. It felt to me like that is all there was in Malawi; it appears people just casually discussed the corruption rumors; it has been made a part of our social fabric or perhaps deeper; it now feels it is embedded in the nations very soul, as if vices such as hunger, disease and envy are already not enough of a burden on this land. Mr. President, corruption in Malawi is systemic; it is palpable, you literally can feel it, it is not just a quantification of perception.
There is overwhelming evidence that in the public service provision sector, which includes Education, Police, and Healthcare, corruption is rampant.
In government registration systems that are involved in issuing identity documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, voter cards and various forms of permits and utility institutions are reported to be even worse. In simpler terms Mr. President, civil service is full of corrupt officials. To get a service from the aforementioned institutions without bribing someone it is a nightmare.
The corruption culture in these institutions is a major detriment to national progress. It is sickening, repulsive and nauseating. Metaphorically, look at it this way, it is like a human body, the head is composed of the Judiciary, Parliament and the Executive Branch. But this head has a Glioblastoma a cancerous tumor that has slowly been growing since 1994. The trunk, which houses different soft tissues including the heart, lungs and the liver is the civil service with all its different sectors, and soft tissue sarcoma has metastasized or widely spread to all the soft tissues.
Then there are upper and lower extremities otherwise known as the arms and legs, which are the civil society organizations, private business sector and the Media- public and privately owned. These are also struggling with another form of malignancy called bone cancer. The condition this human body is in has been developing insidiously. Look back to 1994, that is when it all started to unfold, when the country was exposed to a new style of political governance called democracy.
You see, just like cancer, symptoms manifest in the human body much later in life, after individual’s initial exposure to carcinogenic chemicals. However, the problem is not in the chemical itself, but people coming in contact with such chemicals without necessary protective gear. Mr. President, in the same context the root of our problem is not that we embraced democracy, but that institutions meant to create checks and balances did not go after pioneers of the malpractice when they were initially discovered. Precedence was set; every official who followed after that replicated the practice and also got away with it.
Then it became pervasive, before we knew it, every sector was saturated with it. Mr. President, I assume now you get the picture. As you may see, this individual is in terrible shape, however all hope is not lost; there is some encouraging news, his diagnosis is not terminal. But if he does not get aggressive medical attention, his condition, undoubtedly, will be fatal. Mr. president, there are treatments for all these conditions. The problem is they require enormous financial sacrifice and the will power of the patient to be carried out and be successful.
I am talking about a series of surgical procedures, and not just one. The success of the treatment is contingent upon both the patient and surgical experts working together. A type of this procedure is not for the faint hearted. Mr. President, it is not going to be easy to treat a condition of this nature. Let’s put this in context, first of all, we need a turbocharged leader willing to fearlessly get dirty for a just cause, who will put personal interest aside, who will leave the comfort of the state house, the warmth of the First Lady and be willing to put himself in harm’s way to implement radical ideas within the confines of the law and democratic values. Also, a willing people to positively respond to the changes.
Do not be cheated that the usual lackadaisical approach would create any impact to a condition of this magnitude in this country. To uproot this deep-seated corruption and impunity out of our society would require a messy process. People in both high and low places are going to lose their jobs and some will go to jail. Mr. President, you will create a lot of enemies. What the citizens expect of you as Commander-in-Chief is to take command and make difficult decisions, follow them through and get results to benefit many and not just few fat cats surrounding you. Who will be the Physician willing to lead the surgical team to carry out this most needed procedure to save an ailing nation? Will it be you Mr. President? Do you have the nerve and guts to rub your henchmen the wrong way for the benefit of 17 million deserving Malawians? With all due respect Sir.
Today, as a concerned son of this beautiful land, I urge you, Mr. President, to allow the year 2017 to go down in history as the year one man decided to do the best exercise of the human heart; reaching down to pick up someone. Mr. President, let that someone be Mother Malawi. I strongly believe that a corrupt free Malawi is possible and will begin with you Mr. President. Good luck Sir, I think you will need it. I wish you a new year full of possibilities. God bless Mother Malawi.
Signed, Peter Mmangisa Chonga
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Maravi Post