“In this present crisis,
is not the solution
to our problem,
government is the problem”
Last Tuesday it pleased President Peter Mutharika to invite the Muckraker and a horde of his type to wine and dine with him at the hilltop edifice of Sanjika Palace Hastings Kamuzu Banda bequeathed to the nation.
Of course the original idea behind the event was for the President to interface with the media on issues of concern or interest for both the Executive and the non-existent branch of government that tantalises itself as the Fourth Estate.
But for some reason Master of Ceremonies Timpuza Mwansambo spoilt the event by disregarding the President’s call for whoever had something to say to engage him. Whether Timpunza deliberately curtailed the interface or he genuinely did not hear his boss properly is neither here nor there.
Suffice to say that the President made some interesting remarks. He confessed he loves the Sunday columns. Mmmh! How sweet! But Peter complained that the media always picks on the wrongs of government. “We’re only human,” he admitted. “We get some things wrong but once in a while we get some things right.”
President Peter Mutharika pleaded that we must commend him when “once in a while” he gets something right. Let me heed His Excellency’s call and praise him for at least getting one thing right: my colleagues on the Sunday circuit commend you, Sir, for your wonderful choice of weekend reading. You will never go wrong with the Sunday columns, at least the Muckraker assures you so!
Having done my civic duty of praising my dear president for his clever choice of literature, let me assure him that those of us who nitpick him do so because we love him so much that we want him to always get things right. Those who always clap hands for him even when he is clearly going nuts do not love him.
Mr. President, these people will be the first to desert you when you crash. You do not have to go far to check for evidence. Some people who tantalised your big brother that he was the next best thing to ever happen to Malawi after David Livingstone deserted him before his body could even get cold during those “three mad days in April”.
They were the first to lay sentry for the new messiah in town, Joyce Banda, while you and the remnants of his true loyalists were desperately trying to literally beat life back into Bingu’s lifeless body.
So you see, Sir, those citizens who love you do not waste time praising you when you once in a while get things right because they already handsomely pay you for that.
Mr. President, we – your loyal citizens – have to constantly hold your executive feet to the fire so that you do not sleep on the job. Look, Sir, as president you are our driver; if we let you sleep on the wheel you will take us off the precipice.
That is why, Sir, while your government is making feeble steps to tackle ‘cashgate’, we demand that you tackle this worst financial scandal to ever happen to this Great Republic in its 50 years of history holistically. By this we mean go for the root of it, rewind back to its genesis in 2005.
Ask Saulos Chilima your Vice President , where he comes from they say, “Kupha nyani sayang’ana nkhope”, meaning if you really want to solve a problem do not stop to check who or what will be the collateral damage. Ask surgeons, if they want to remove a growth in your rectal system, they cut you up to get to it, if you get my drift.
I know an audit dating that far, whose working figure is a whopping K92 billion, may reach closer home. The CEO of Malawi Inc. then was no other than your own brother and some of his senior officials are currently serving you.
So a thorough audit may finger the Big Kahuna personally and some of his lieutenants might not escape the dragnet.
But if you genuinely want to get to the bottom of ‘cashgate’ thereby unlocking the much-needed donor dollars, allow for a holistic audit from 2005 and look the other way even if a familiar face – even the one that resembles your own – pops up on the screen.
Maybe the village of advisors you have surrounded yourself with are being parsimonious with the truth. But because the Muckraker loves you lots, he will tell you. The donors are playing hardball with your government not because they do not like the colour of your spectacles, no. They have put you on the ‘wait and see’ mode because you have surrounded yourself with the same characters that watched, wringing hands helplessly in resignation, as the Big Kahuna took us off the cliff.
Unfortunately, that crowd – if truth be told – include your good self!
So you have a lot of proving to do.
Meanwhile, time is not standing still for you. Look now, you are failing to pay Judiciary staff thereby stalling the very ‘cashgate’ cases whose progress may inform donors you are serious about tackling financial malaise in government.
Your government is even failing to pay the ‘peanuts’ you mock teachers with as salaries. Did Nicholas Dausi not tell you that soon after you left Sanjika Palace the other day little kids, some as young as six, blocked the road to your palace with boulders and rocks to show their anger for this intransigence?
These kids do not care who is in State House; all they care for is someone to teach them 1+1 so that they, too – as one of them told me, “should also be able to be future leaders.”
So you see, Sir, why those of us who want you not to fail will not waste time praising you for doing what we pay you to do. We will always hold you in check when we notice you have missed a step so that you should not tumble down like your brother did.
That is Patriotism 101, if you ask me, Mr. President.