Without any doubt, the mammoth crowd at the launch of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) by Vice-President Saulos Chilima in Lilongwe meant that Malawians are looking for a political saviour. The four years suffering under President Peter Mutharika and his DPP-led government was enough for people to look around for someone to rescue them from the shackles of abject poverty. On his part, Chilima said what people wanted to hear, especially about corruption which has bedeviled this country. The country is now on its knees while there is still no let up on corruption. It was a great relief to hear Chilima assure and promise Malawians that if he is voted into power, he will make sure that he gets rid of corruption. In fact, he also said that he will start corruption cleansing by naming and shaming suspects and that those proved guilty will pay back the money. This was, indeed, welcome news, especially that CSOs are currently battling with the police ‘foodgate’, where it is alleged that K145 million was corruptly deposited into a DPP account for which President Mutharika is the sole signatory.
Some people might be wondering how and why corruption has been allowed to reach such high levels and create a failed government. The answer to this is that the government has a habit of creating a lot of hype to every corruption case as if they will deal with it to the end. What happens is that the suspects from corridors of power are never even interviewed or asked to write a caution statement. Instead, they are left scot-free, to enjoy their loot. Unfortunately, these are the people who abuse the largest amount of public resources. If suspects know that they will not be tried, they can as well continue with corruption. What is also more frustrating in Malawi is that investigating suspects goes on forever, until the case is forgotten.
The statement by the President, in which he said corruption in this country is simply exaggeration by journalists, gives a chance to would-be corrupt people. May be the President wants to cover up corruption so as to prove that his government is successful. This does not make sense because of the suffering he has subjected to the majority of Malawians. His government has stiffled all the opportunities that Malawians would use to have a better life.
Living in denial about corruption has contributed to having a failed government. At the moment, the government seriously believes that the Malawi economy is recovering because of the so-called economic growth seen on paper. This means nothing to Malawians whose life is getting poorer by the day.
Meanwhile, getting rid of corruption is not difficult provided there is a political will. In Malawi, there has not been much political will. It is very disappointing when even the leadership is suspected in a corruption case such as the K145 million of which President Mutharika is alleged to be involved in. Despite that the President has denied involvement in such dirty money, just because he has been mentioned, it leaves a sour taste in people’s mouths. Some people no longer trust the President since they feel he has contributed to creating a failed government. Converting public resources to personal fortunes should not be allowed in Malawi.