During July 6 2021 independence commemoration celebrations, President Dr Lazarus Chakwera posed an important and challenging question. The question to every Malawian was to do a self-assessment and find out if he or she is being productive to the economy in whatever he or she is doing. This question is the starting point for Malawi to improve its economy and consequently develop.
To start with, the willingness Malawians showed in changing government from Mutharika to Chakwera due to failure to develop the country must be the same willingness to show the difference. It is not enough just to say every Malawian pays tax, but where does that tax go? Honestly, corruption and stealing of public resources makes payment of taxes meaningless. Meanwhile, there is a tendency of thinking that government must bring progress forgetting that to make this possible people must be honest and trustworthy at all levels.
After a self-assessment can everyone say that he/she is productive? Government has been given power to lead and create a conducive environment for development. This is what the Tonse Alliance Government is trying to do all the time. Unfortunately, the previous government failed the economy as a result, the country fell back several steps. The current government is struggling to correct this situation.
It must be mentioned that what aggravates stealing and corruption in this country is that those with power feel it’s their turn to eat. When they look around, they see thieves and corrupt people in government who have been left to secure personal fortunes with impunity. What they do now is to perfect their corruption on the assumption that it is business as usual. Unfortunately for them, the current Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has grown teeth. Recently, ACB arrested some people on suspicion that they were involved in fuel corruption contracts deals. These are people of high standing in government, including a Cabinet minister. This is worrisome. If these people think whatever they are doing is productive to the country and that it can grow the economy, they should think twice. It is unfortunate that after the arrests of corrupt people in the previous government people would have learnt a lesson and stopped corruption. But that is not the case. Instead they have decided to destroy this country.
It is very strange that these are some of the people with power who want to show their importance by specialising and perfecting ways and means of having a share of whatever money is available for government use. A small country such as Malawi has countless fraud cases to sort out. The wheels of justice even fail to move fast enough to catch up.
Imagine a lot of support in cash and kind has been flowing into the country just to be met by cash hungry leaders and within a short time the aid fizzles out. One still remembers the ‘Tractor Gate Scandal’ whereby the so-called powerful people shared government tractors. All this boils down to the culture of not respecting government and following laws.
All this shows that most people do not really care about growing the economy by being productive. Fortunately, it now seems the wheels of justice are moving fast on suspected corrupt people and thieves. The performance of ACB director general Martha Chizuma should be encouraged and commended. The reports show that she is open, fearless and hardworking. If many more officials in government can be like her, definitely the economy of this country can improve and, by extension, poverty can be reduced.