Whether or not it is by design lack of discipline in Malawi government and the country as a whole came with multiparty democracy.
As most Malawians are aware Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s era was characterised by discipline— which he emphasised upon all the time regardless type of his audience.
Meanwhile, in the multiparty democracy there is no discipline worth writing home about. During the one-party system of government people had to show special discipline at work as well as looking after public resources such as money. Everyone was aware that even stealing as little as K500 from government would earn one a seven-year jail sentence with hard labour. As it were, the “we don’t care” attitude started in Bakili Muluzi’s era and climaxed in Peter Mutharika’s administration.
It is sad for some people, especially those with power, who seem to think that indiscipline is part of democratic freedom. This is wrong because even in a dictatorship discipline is paramount. If one can remember during Kamuzu’s leadership there was a lot of confidentiality in government. Whatever, public information would always come through the right channel. Anyone found disseminating information before government approved it could face the wrath of government, which could mean imprisonment without trial.
Recently, the media carried a story about Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe, who complained about leakage to the public of what he writes to the President. This is unfortunate considering that the AG is the adviser to the President and government and; therefore, whatever he writes to the President and the replies he gets should be treated as confidential and classified information.
Silungwe is right to complain, and leakage being a serious problem, the President and the Vice-President must find immediate solution and if the culprits are found, they must be treated accordingly.
The problem in this country is that some people have grown up with a habit of seeking self-importance and in the process they want to be treated as centre of information. As a result, they spend a lot of time scouting for information wherever it can be found. This is what has created rumour-mongering and fake stories. There is so much of this in the country now. It becomes difficult for one to believe in a story right away.
People must know that State House is a very important place and must not be turned into a den of rumour-mongers. It is the same with Parliament. If this has been the case with the previous administration, it does not mean it has to continue in Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance regime. Chakwera has been emphasising on discipline.
During one of his recent addresses to the nation, Chakwera expressed dismay and disappointment in the way public money has been treated as a “free for all’ resource. Worse still, the figures run in millions. One cannot believe that the main culprits are government officials. Needless to say that the culture of allowances has hit Covid-19 patients hard.
With no remorse, some government officials have been drawing large sums for allowances while fellow Malawians are fighting for their lives in hospitals with terrible lack of resources. It is now surprising that some city and town councils have joined the band wagon of wasting money on allowances. They do not even care that their councils cannot even collect garbage, let alone, providing satisfying services to the citizens.
The appeal to Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima is to start cracking the weep. Poor Malawians are busy fundraising for Covid-19 and it does not make sense that someone should think that it is their time to feast on Covid-19 funds.