A few days ago, the Sunday times reported that following conclusion of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) led peaceful protests in Lilongwe, the Democratic Progressive (DPP) government decided to ‘handsomely’ reward all Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers and Malawi Police Service (MPS) personnel with K80,000 each as an allowance.
The paper reported that considering the approximate numbers of police officers in MPS and active soldiers in MDF, close to 2.9 billion Kwacha was spent on the demonstration allowances alone. This is an enormous amount of money for a poor country like Malawi and it was obviously not budgeted for the non-stop demonstrations. This money is being diverted from somewhere and could have been used for other purposes.
To put it into perspective, let’s use president Mutharika’s signature project, construction of community colleges across the country. According to reports, the Aida Chilembwe Community Technical College was constructed to the tune of 446 million Kwacha. Knowing the rampant corruption in the construction industry, the actual figure should be much lower with some millions of Kwachas lost in the process.
Simple arithmetic shows that with the 2.9 billion spent on demonstration allowances, about 7 more community colleges could have been built. Yet, the 2.9 billion is just a small known amount of money used to control demonstrations. Billions more have been used to control the demonstrations. Further loss has been in both private and public property. At the rate the demonstrations are going, more money will be misallocated.
Mutharika’s protection of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, has caused loss of billions of Kwachas. Whatever Ansah did for Mutharika and DPP must be so great that the controversial president can’t see that the country is slipping into an abyss that will be difficult to leave.
The loss now includes precious lives. But Mutharika is not concerned at all. If he was concerned, he could have intervened in a way that would bring the demonstrations to a halt. But instead of acting wisely, he is busy on both local and international platforms laying the blame on the opposition and everyone else, except himself.
As seen when he held ministerial positions under his late brother’s presidency and many more times as president in his first term, 80-year-old Professor Peter Mutharika’s wisdom is ‘do nothing in any crisis’. He believes his point of view is always correct and everything else must sort itself out without him changing his position.
When he was a minister, the problems he neglected remained the concern of a few people, but the current crisis is national and affecting all Malawians. The national crisis will not just get away. It needs proper wisdom from the leadership. Unfortunately, with the strange ‘do nothing’ wisdom of the 80-year-old professor, it’s going to get worse. More money, property and lives will be lost.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the Publisher or the Editor of Maravi Post