On the offensive and seeking to make a statement that can make waves in similar manner to Peter Mutharika’s “ton of bricks” and Saulosi Chilima’s “mwambi wa lero”, MCP leader Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, PhD. enunciated an astonishing if controversial statement. Speaking on the issue of the government’s failure to fight corruption, Dr. Chakwera suggested that the job of ACB director should be open to any qualified individuals including non-Malawians.
The statement as headlined in the media suggested that the MCP leader was so frustrated with ACB incapability and so keen on seeing some progress in the corruption fight that he believes having a non-Malawian leading that organization could be the answer. Malawian heads of that organization, surmised Chakwera, have essentially all proved to be too prone to bow to executive interference. A foreigner, a non-Malawian would be more independent, and corruption would be eliminated. That, folks, seems to be the gospel according Dr. Lazarus Chakwera PhD.
Dr. Chakwera’s logic is obviously flawed.
The root cause of ACB ineffectiveness is not the fact that it is led by Malawians, but the fact that the rotten Malawian governance framework makes it possible for our so-called ruling parties and especially the executive to interfere with the independence of institutions and government departments that need to be independent for our democracy to function properly. The dangerous progression of Chakwera’s logic would see us thinking that the Malawi Police Service, MACRA, and even MRA should all be headed by foreigners as a solution to executive interference.
Chakwera’s thinking is strange indeed for a man aspiring for the presidency! The solution to the failures in Malawi’s various institutions is to simply open up the leadership of those institutions to foreigners? What does this say about the greatest failure of all in this country- that of the presidency, the very position Chakwera himself is eagerly aspiring for?
The evidence, gleaned from the issue that president Peter Mutharika prioritized to address on his return from UNGA, is that against all common sense, in a demonstration of a regrettable disconnect from what really matters to the people, Our President is more concerned about Malawians demonstrating about their grievances than addressing the problems that are causing those demonstrations.
To Peter Mutharika, no one should protest or even raise a whimper when his administration seems determined to misgovern and keep misgoverning Malawi until the country is buried six feet deep, as a result of the unchecked corruption, blatant nepotism and poverty of leadership.
As many others have said elsewhere, perhaps it would have been better if the country was running on autopilot because on autopilot, technology takes over while unmanned as Malawi is, gravity brings everything down.
Ours is a case where the pilot has abandoned the cockpit 30,000meters above sea level, to make merry in the business class while seeking more affluent party space – without engaging the plane on autopilot – leaving us all in grave danger.
The result is a president ignorant of happenings in his own country, in his own administration and worse, even in his own cabinet. How can he follow developments having relinquished control of the cockpit, where all the control apps and informatics are?
This is why no amount of window-dressing is succeeding to camouflage Mutharika’s failures, his unfitness for purpose, and his party’s addiction to greed.
Could Dr Chakwera PhD. be the solution to this tragedy then? Should we go back to being ruled by foreigners. Is it perhaps time to forfeit our so-called independence and return to colonial days?
The question I often get after many of my ominous diagnoses such as this one is, ‘Z. Allan, sure you can talk and you’re right, but so what? What’s next?’
For answers, let us look to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), and its preoccupation with regime change.
NIB’s nightmare, knowing as it does the wide-ranging discontent that Mutharika has bred, is regime change. Now, assuming NIB is right, then we all ought to help NIB’s machinations become real by giving this matter some serious thought.
Let’s face it. Without regime change, we are licensing the DPP to continue with its bad governance programme until 2099 (as one misguided DPP podium boot-licker put it). If we allow this to happen, then we are indeed the daftest species plying the earth.
The question is no longer whether those protesting mediocrity really want regime change, no. This is a foregone conclusion.
The question at hand is: once we get rid of Mutharika today, who should come next? To whom can we look for help and hope? Indeed it is when one looks at those aspiring for the presidency, or the parties interested in displacing the DPP, that the headache begins.
I wish I could, here and now, declare: “Ladies and Gentlemen, let us look to the Leader of Opposition, Dr Lazarus Chakwera and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP)”.
But how can I? That statement about opening important institutional jobs to foreigners is a last straw on a pile of many suspicious moves and leadership failures on his part that I would caution all serious Malawians to be very afraid of this man.
I wish I could, right now, declare: “Ladies and Countrymen, our hope lies in ‘Dr’ Joyce Banda (honorary PhD).”
Sadly, this is equally unfeasible.
Let me put it this way. No one can run a political party like a Church, just as a Church cannot be run like a party. Politics and religious issues – where people follow blindly – are different. The Peoples Party (PP) is a virtual non-starter. Even from planet Mars you can surmise that in spite of all Joyce Banda’s noisemaking n the eastern region, that party is virtually dead.
As for Atupele Muluzi, forget him. Ever since he pirated Siku Motors’ motto: ‘Here today, There tomorrow’, only the people directly benefitting from his see-saw politics take him seriously. Now there is even a rumor of him being appointed as second Vice President to Peter Mutharika. Talk about selling one’s birthright for a mess of pottage!
So here we are: devoid of leadership in the incumbent, and those on the touchline can hardly get it up.
What about the Vice President, Dr Saulosi Chilima?
He has finally demonstrated that he loves Malawi enough to denounce the sinking Titanic that is taking us all down and has been bold enough to jump ship. Yet for all the claims of new politics, we are yet to witness his private sector experience, education and comparative youth at play. Does he have what it takes to reign in the ex DPP crowd and truly take over the captaincy of his own ship and steer it in the right direction? In spite of compelling ideas and seemingly powerful manifesto possibilities and governance promises, it will be difficult for him to convince us that he is for new politics when there is a continued perception that his movement is spearheaded by the very people that created the greedy and corrupt DPP.
To hit the nail on the head: does he have the guts to make the tough decisions regarding his own people or like the Leader of Opposition, he is happy as long as he gets a little fame and a little popularity, and feels some illusion of the power that comes with being a leader of a movement or a party?
The bottom line is: without a viable alternative, Malawians can only suffer and wilt with despair knowing that as things stand, there is no super substitute on the bench. If we do have a super sub, he needs to really stand out.
I weep for Malawi. For hope, however, we cannot, like Chakwera, proclaim that we should bring in foreigners. The solutions for Malawi are well known. They must begin at transforming this country’s rotten governance framework and the practice of new politics. The power to do that lies within us all.
Malawians. Not foreigners.
Allan Ntata’s Column can be read every Sunday on the Maravi Post