This conversation reminds me of a saying I once heard, “A man (person) has to do what a man has to do” Malawi has always had challenges in generating foreign exchange to feed its ever increasing demands. Of late, this forex challenge has been fuelled by an insatiable appetite by Malawians for non-value adding Chinese imports.
This insatiable appetite, we now know and have come to realise that was fuelled and exacerbated by Cashgate and its predecessor looting spree that has become the cancer of the Malawian society and since 1994. The tragedy of Malawi post Dr Banda era is that we became what someone called a bicycle society with limousine appetites, except that now we are discovering that those limousine taste buds were being whetted by money stolen from the taxpayer, thanks to the Cashgate fiasco.
It is, therefore, very funny, mind boggling and a complete puzzle for the nation to learn that the crime-busting bodies meant to eliminate graft in our midst can go onto a public podium and proclaim that stolen property cannot and will not be confiscated by the authorities.
Such utterances smells pungently foul, fishy and a complete insult to the taxpayers whose money was stolen, to the relatives and kin of those who died needlessly because funds for drugs were looted by cashgaters, to the poor girl-child who dropped out of school because they were denied an opportunity of enlightenment because of the looting of the public treasury. Such a stand, for whatever excuse, is high folly and is the worst thing that can happen to Malawi than cashgate itself.
If stolen property will not be restored to the owner then what is the point of apprehending the proverbial bicycle thief and giving back the owner of the bicycle to the owner. What sense is there to send people to the cooler and let them come out to continue in the bravado and boastful gratification of enjoying what they stole from us while we the people languish in poverty and destitution.
“Who is going to guard the policeman?” if one might ask, that is to say if the people and institutions that are paid and funded by our taxes shy from doing what is right and working to safeguard the interest of the public then what is the point of their existence? In fact, the whole excuse of fearing reprisals from suspects can be perceived to be a mere smokescreen aimed at hoodwinking the common person and can further be construed as a plot by the elite to trample and dispose the common citizen who gets incarcerated for eternity for very petty and minor misdemeanors while the big fat connected cats are left to feast and leech the blood of us commoners’ economic livelihood.
This is grand larceny by any stretch of imagination. It is weird, as it is sickening and a murky connivance of the powerful to suck the life out of the masses. It must not be accepted. It must be opposed at all costs. There can only be one way of looking at how to resolve this. That is, if the pursuit to prosecute looters of public coffers was done professionally, in earnest with an honest heart and motive unembellished by political innuendos, the agencies tasked by the taxpayer to pursue these looters and hoodlums would not have had anything to fear of and would have gone about doing their job according to the book. That would have included taking the pursuit for justice for the common man to its logical conclusion which is restitution of the stolen property to the people.
That is what would be the best restitution for the dispossession suffered by the taxpayer, not merely taking someone to prison and a move from which the common person benefits nothing. It can, therefore, be expected that the people tasked to work on behalf of the taxpayer to ensure restitution for their sweat and blood in what they pay to Caesar do what is right. If they are unable to do so they must honourably step aside to pave way for those with the courage to do the needful.