Malawi’s Minister of Information and a senior member in Her Excellency Dr Joyce Banda’s People’s Party seemed to be at a loss to understand the Donors decision to with-hold aid to our beloved country – Malawi. He actually is quoted to have called them or their decision, “Silly”.
When a government starts to describe donors with such adjectives, it means only one thing; denial. BJ is the government’s spokesperson and when he speaks, it is Her Excellency’s administration speaking!
Let us all appreciate that, despite the financial problems the West is faced with, they continue to support economies like ours. One other point we need to be mindful of this; it is a very difficult job for Minister’s charged with the responsibility of “Overseas Aid” to get approvals in their respective parliaments, for countries like ours, particularly when dispatches from their embassies based in these countries continue to report about “Looting” and Plundering” of funds from account Number One by (and through), among others, government officials.
As a Malawian aware of what the withdrawal of aid to our country means; I feel very sad that the “Silly” (according to Minister BJ) Donors have taken this decision but, I really do not see any other practical options they could have gone for under the circumstances. Let us understand that in management it is the head of the administration who takes responsibility for both failures and successes of his /her department and; no matter how much one loves the current administration, you cannot say that the Cash-gate scandal is one of their successes and; BJ should be the first one to acknowledge this problem and take it on the chin and admit that, they have got it wrong and proper and workable solutions are required for Malawi to cleanse herself of this very humiliating situation for a once proud Nation.
The Minister of Information (BJ “New Chitsulo Cha Njanji” Mpinganjila) should also be reminded that no “Spin” is going to save his government from blame for the Cash-gate scandal; only the truth will. The President JB (not BJ) is on record to having said that she was aware of financial illegalities at Capital Hill for some time and yet, once she became President, she did not do anything about it. I remember when the PP was celebrating the first 100 days in power there was no statement that among areas of activities her administration was investigating corruption on Capital Hill. It is only after the shooting of the Budget Direct Mphwiyo that everything else started to come out. It is probable that, had it not been for this sad incident, Malawians would have been kept in the dark about this scandal up to now. To some extent, the leakages of funds would have gone on up to this day! What a prospect for the Malawi economy and the poverty most Malawians live under.
When we hear stories from different parts of the Country that their child or relative has returned from hospital without medicine because the hospital dispensary did not have any and that the patient died because of it, one’s heart sinks. We hear stories of young girls being raped on their way from to school because they have to start off from home around 4.30am since at times the schools are very far from home and; they arrive back home late after sunset making themselves vulnerable to being molested on the way. Stories of people unable to access clean water; cars being damaged and accidents happening because of potholes due to despair of our roads – all this because there are a few greedy individuals who have decided they deserve more of the national cake than the rest of the people in this country! This Nation finds all this most disturbing!
We do need funds from our Donors, traditional and new ones and to get the funding back in place the government of Malawi has got to prove to them (the Donors) that it has put plugs in all those holes which were being used to syphon out funds which belong to all of us, together. One way of doing this is to see to it that all those involved in the looting are brought to book. Our eyes as a nation are both on the Government and the Judiciary, the nation wants to see real justice dispensed and, also expects prosecution and not persecution; anything less will not be acceptable.
In other democracies I have seen governments resigning for lesser issues than the catastrophe currently afflicting our Nation. As Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP), we encourage the Donors to resume funding our budget as soon as the government has repaired the problems in the system – We need you.
To the Information Minister (BJ) let conclude by saying the following; as a government accept responsibility of failure to safeguard our funds on Capital Hill and choose statesmanlike words when addressing this issue (Cash-gate and Donor aid withdrawal) within earshot of the “Silly” Donors!
And, BJ must always draw on his calling as “A Man of The Cloth” – born again; if my memory serves me right?!
The Author of this article is Right Honourable Davies Chester Katsonga, Interim President of Chipani Cha Pfuko, Former Speaker of Parliament & Government Minister.