It is almost impossible to keep track with the many governance travesties happening in our country. They point to two very important conclusions which we must not be afraid to make. These are conclusions that should be inevitable to any thinking Malawian.
The first is that our governance system is rotten to the core. The second is that the country is being allowed to sail towards the doldrums while on autopilot because the man that is supposed to pilot the ship, President Peter Mutharika, is either clueless or indifferent.Z Allan Ntata
I will now present several examples to back up my observations.
Not long ago, a letter was leaked written by the Secretary to Treasury (ST) to the board Chairperson of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). The letter informed the MRA board that the government had appointed one Eric Ning’ang’a to the post of Deputy Director for Tax Audit and Investigations on a 3-year contract.
The appointment is illegal in as much as the rules and regulations of the running of this institution are concerned. The astonishing and alarming thing about it is that it is not even an isolated instance of the current government deliberately ignoring governance rules and running the country like a personal farm. The Peter Mutharika administration has repeatedly gone against principles of good governance in appointments. Consider the illegal appointments of the Chairperson and Executive Director respectively of the Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Commission for instance, which were done in total disregard of the statutes and laws that are in place to govern that particular institution. The same behavior has been observed in the appointment of board members and other senior staff at Malawi Housing Corporation and at the country’s water boards. How does the government and indeed the president, on whose desk the full responsibility must rest, justify these actions that blatantly break the Law?Z Allan Ntata
Eric Ning’anga is not even a qualified tax investigator and a similar appointment to the same position in 2004, done in the same manner as the government has purported to do now, was strongly condemned then. 16 years later, the man returns in similar circumstances simply because he is a staunch Democratic Progressive Party supporter? This, my fellow Malawians, is in stark contrast to the claims of one Seodi White who claimed that governance reforms in Malawi are working, and are very much on track. I will not waste time talking about Ms White and her claims. Most Malawians already question her credibility after her shenanigans when she shed fake tears in defense of beleaguered Electoral commission chair, Dr. Jane Ansah.
You would think this alone is a bad enough an example of the serious rot running unchecked in our governance framework. You would be wrong. Last week, the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), a publicly funded institution, called the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a terrorist organization. It must be mentioned that MBC did not just wake up and decide that the best way to describe a leading human rights organization was to call it ‘a terrorist organization. The characterization came from the mouth of President Peter Mutharika himself.
A few weeks ago, Mutharika was the first to call HRDC a terrorist organization. The unfortunate naming came months after HRDC started leading demonstrations against electoral injustice and other issues. In a later development, MBC banned an expert whom it had invited to be a panelist on one of its programs for condemning the rapes that the Malawi police committed at Msundwe and for making statements that were not flattering to president Mutharika and to his government. We are living in a time when impunity in government is now overflowing to all institutions whose top bosses believe that they must pay homage to the president or to his party to protect their jobs.
As if that were not enough, we have now all been witnesses to the stranger-than-fiction drama that has played out right in front of our eyes after the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Thom Mpinganjira, a powerful businessman with strong links to the democratic progressive party. Mpinganjira was arrested in connection with the allegations that certain members of the DPP tried to bribe the constitutional court judges that are in charge of the Malawi Elections case. Following his arrest, his lawyers somehow found a magistrate 70km away from Blantyre, in Zomba, and in the middle of the night somehow convinced him to cancel Mpinganjira’s warrant of arrest. Now, all criminal lawyers in Malawi know that a warrant of arrest can only be cancelled by the judge that issued it. How this magistrate in Zomba could somehow see any legality in what he did is beyond the pale.
Perhaps what is happening at MBC underlines the extent of DPP’s governance impunity and its arrogance, nepotism and disregard for equal opportunities for all Malawians. At MBC, public officers have to say and do things that pleases DPP politicians in order to get promoted or be offered any favours. As a result, greedy clowns are doing the most ridiculous things to get recognition. They don’t care what the rest of the population will say because there are no consequences for unethical or illegal behavior for anybody that pleases the so-called ruling party.
Another example of such people is a DPP cadet called ‘ana achepa’ who cried for help when he was involved in a serious accident. He got admitted at a public hospital, which as usual, did not have necessary life-saving medical equipment and basic medicines. He had to cry for help to his masters in the DPP to help him. He was immediately transferred to a private hospital and the Vice President made an impromptu visit to the private hospital to cheer him up. The message from this is clear; if you are not DPP, you are going to die in a dilapidated and unequipped hospital!
I suggested that the governance travesties happening in the country are difficult to keep track with and that they betray an administration that is either clueless or uninterested in delivering on the demands of the constitution as what leaders should deliver for Malawians. If the rottenness of our governance framework is so deep and proliferating that even commentators are failing to keep track, what more with the poor Malawian masses who have no access to information on what is going on?
And what can we suggest as a solution to this deep rot that is destroying our nation at its core? To be honest, I do not have a hard and fast ready answer. I can only hope that the political crisis in which Malawi finds itself in, the elections case and its results, will help to usher in a new era of change that will begin to take pay attention and make efforts to cure the cancer.