When President Peter Mutharika was on the BBC Hard talk programme, one of the questions he was asked by Zeinab Badawe was to comment on the rampant corruption known as Cashgate. In his response, the President just emphasised on his predecessor’s (former president Joyce Banda) government. Then Badawe reminded him that there was a lot of Cashgate during the government of Bingu wa Mutharika in which the Peter Mutharika served as Cabinet minister in various ministries. Probably in trying not to be outdone, the President said Cashgate was even there before Bingu came to power.
This was an ambiguous response which could mean the present government wants to be excused from Cashgate because it was present in every administration. In the same vein, whenever opposition MPs complain in Parliament about people going hungry in most parts of the country due to food shortages, the usual response from government is that there was lack of food even during the MCP era. This portrays that hunger situation is not unique to the DPP government only. This shows lack of seriousness.
All that is stated above is the wrong mentality. Malawians should not be subjected to perpetual suffering because this has been the situation in the past. Then why change government if problems would remain.
The government should not try to find excuses for its inefficiency. Excuses are not solutions. It makes no sense that people should not point an accusing finger at President Mutharika’s administration because they have seen all manner of corruption previously. For example, just because former president Kamuzu Banda used to take with him some chiefs and women on his trips abroad, then is it in order for President Mutharika to be accompanied by 100 people or so to attend United Nations General Assembly?
Whenever journalists ask the President about excesses in his government, he usually fires back by asking why are they so obsessed about his government, yet they failed to ask former president Joyce Banda about the whereabouts of the proceeds of the sale of the presidential jet. Fair enough, but the President should know that he is now on the driving seat and should not dodge questions by asking back questions. The danger here is that he might be taken as if he does not know what to say or does not care about people’s concerns. Obviously, this has a negative impact on the country’s progress.
Meanwhile, it goes without saying that the past should not be used as a green light for perpetuating bad practices. At the moment, Malawi is literally on fire. If it is a market on fire today, tomorrow it is a bakery and it goes on. Just imagine, as if the burning of the Mzuzu University library was not bad enough, three weeks later Limbe Leaf tobacco has lost a lot of tobacco to fire. Sadly, this tobacco was ready for export which would have brought Malawi the much-needed forex. It is indeed worrisome. One wonders what type of investors would come to a country which is in flames. To make it worse, the government seems to be doing nothing to stop these fires.
If this is deliberate, because they were also fires during the previous administration, the country is then set on self-destruction. It is no use to simply say causes of fire are being investigated. This is no solution because in this country investigations seem to last forever without conclusions. Government needs to find a permanent solution to the fires
For Malawi to progress, government should be able to come up with solutions for various challenges and refrain from using past regimes as a cover up for its inefficiencies. n