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Talking Blues: Arrogant, incompetent and above the law

Peter Mutharikka and George Chaponda
Malawi President Peter Mutharika with Accused Minister George Chaponda

Arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence are poor personality traits. You Blues’ Orators, wouldn’t want an arrogant child or sibling because sooner or later they will fall into trouble.And when they do, their stinking conduct will become everybody’s business.

Ignorance, not to be confused with lack of education, but understood as the incapability to demonstrate in real life that one learnt at Oxford, University of Malawi, Harvard or Yale, is always a disaster waiting to happen.

Now, when you spice arrogance and ignorance with incompetence, all the reasons why the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in its Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Report for 2016 says Malawi is stuck in the category of poorest countries on earth until 2025, become clear.

Verbatim, the December 13, 2016 report reads:

“Projections conducted for the Report suggest that only 16 of the 48 current LDCs are likely to fulfil the graduation criteria by 2021, well short of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) target -international community’s vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs.

“Unless effective national and international action is taken, the ensuing graduations are also likely to widen the development gap between the remaining LDCs and other developing countries still further.”

“LDCs projected to graduate in the period 2017–2024: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Yemen.”

Malawi, as expected, is absent.

Going deeper, you find Malawi grouped alongside Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Liberia,  Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, and others suffering or recovering from strife of some sort, with the blue diagnosis that light may come our way in 2025!

Apologists will naturally recite catalogues of excuses why you, Blues’ Orators,‘deserve’ to be the global laughing stock.

They will say it is not about leadership blah blah blah… They will throw in, for good measure, John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” as the bulwark of their defence for the cocktail of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence leading us to a chasm.

If anyone dares do this Blues’ Orators, tell them off.

Fact is: it is all about leadership. Visionary leadership or lack thereof, is why some countries are graduating to middle income countries and others, like Malawi, are permanent LDCs.

Having leaders who practically care about the poorest is why you see wise leaders investing in fighting corruption and poverty so that when the poor graduate, national econometrics benefit and their countries begin migrating to prosperity.

But what have we here in Malawi?

We have a president on record saying he will govern until 2024. But yet the chap carts a basket full of flimsy excuses on why things are falling apart under his watch.

Let’s talk about the corruption thriving under his watch.

He recently dissed accusations of selectively investigating and prosecuting fraud and corruption cases.

Prosecution, he said, is the work of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which work “independently”.

“These institutions conduct prosecutions according to their own investigations and evidence gathered. I have always said that if you know people who are involved or are doing corruption, for example the seven ministers, give me the names, I will deal with them and also bring evidence to ACB and the DPP to allow them conduct their works,” said Mutharika.

Even kindergarteners know that what the president was saying is rubbish. I could go further and argue that he is, in fact, the culprit responsible for the ACB’s demise.

His game plan is simple: a) appoint someone all muscle but no backbone or guts to head the ACB.b) When people complain about increasing corruption, blame him. c) Frustrate all efforts to make him independent. d) Then yappy, yappy and yappy with no action.

From Transparency International’s recent CPI, Mutharika is winning this game while his stooge is happily drawing a salary for sitting phwiii.

For argument’s sake, let us say Mutharika was right and indeed, Lucas Kondowe – belated happy birthday by the way – is losing us the fight due to his own incompetence.

The bedrock of any democracy, it has been said, is the rule of law.This means having an independent judiciary, judges who make decisions without fear or favour and citizens – from top to bottom – who respect court decisions.

What then do you say when a cabinet minister sneaks out and in of the country in his official capacity, in blatant disregard of a Court Order stopping him from doing just that, and the president is helpless to sanction him?

Would the masses be wrong to believe Z Allan Ntata; that indeed, Peter Mutharika is a puppet president?

Against such a background, we have every right to believe everything ranging from presidential arrogance, ignorance and incompetence to the fact that the concerned minister, Dr George Chaponda is the de facto president, hence his breaking the law at will; hence his presiding over a mess of a maize procurement at the Ministry of Agriculture; hence his unscrupulousness in dealing with Washington lobbyists and what have you, without a care.

The point is: IF Mutharika were indeed in control and not a puppet, he wouldn’t tolerate sneakyold George’s selective ignorance of the law he purportedly read at Yale, his arrogance in the face of court rulings, his incompetence in presiding over strategic maize procurement and his negligence in managing our foreign affairs in Ethiopia and beyond, and botching up contracts for Mutharika’s lobbying effort in DC.

But again, it’s perfectly possible that arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence aren’t the real issues; they are just being devilishly used to divert our attention while something more sinister is cooking.

IF this is the case; we haven’t seen nothing yet! Hot on the heels of the K10billion Maizegate, comes the K2.4billion mess at Teveta.

What’s next?

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