On Wednesday, Form 4 students who were writing their Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations had a rude awakening when Minister of Education Agness Nyalonje and Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) executive director Gerald Chiunda announced the cancellation of the examinations due to leakage of some of the papers.
The shocker came as the exam papers were in circulation way before the students made it to the examination centres.
The Form 4 candidates this year have been strained psychologically. When they were about to sit the exam in March this year, schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this recent cancellation, it is self-evident that some students will shut down their brains as they are torn apart psychologically.
This mental torture is clear when some of the students demonstrated against the move.
When Chiunda and NyaLonje announced the cessation, they did indicate that the exams will be back in March next year. It came as a surprise, then, when President Lazarus Chakwera in his address to the nation on Thursday said the exams must be written before January next year. One would wonder, why the difference in the dates? Does it mean the President and the minister did not bang heads before announcing the March date?
That may be a matter of little consequence, as Chakwera spat fire in that address; calling for heads to roll at Maneb.
One can’t agree more with the President’s stand that those who botched the 2019 Tripartite Elections were still scot free. It is a given fact that the men and women who aided and abetted that criminal enterprise should have been facing the music. Not only did these people rape Malawians’ constitutional rights, they also led to a drain on the Malawi economy. So much time was lost with the court case and so much of our financial resources were used during the trial and preparation of fresh elections.
By now, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must be looking deeply into these waters.
Chakwera’s speech was also laden with innuendos that clearing the rubble, among other things, entails the rooting out of elements in the civil service that were employed to serve the interests of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). If you were to deconstruct his word, you can see that the President saw an element of sabotage from some blue-eyed civil servants.
We can’t rule out the question that some blue-eyed boys in the government system may be throwing spanners in the works. It is highly possible.
When Joyce Banda took over after Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, she did not make much of an effort to get rid of blue-eyed public servants working in the opposite direction of her power, authority and rule. We all saw how she ended with the Cashgate!
But then, would this not be seen to be political victimization? Will some not say that they are denied jobs because they belong to other political parties than the one ruling?
It is a question of balancing it up. The best saboteurs work from within a system and if the Tonse Alliance does not work with speed on this matter, they will find themselves on opposition benches sooner than later. n