Someone has described Malawi Government as a criminal enterprise. We are a system that is rotten to the core. Take the issue of the Chinese national Lu Ke, commonly known as Shu Shu, for instance.
The guy was exposed for exploiting children in Njewa area in Lilongwe through videos which he was selling in his home country. He did so not for one or two years, but four.
Lu’s stay in Malawi and operations at Njewa in Lilongwe is an epitome of the height of corruption in many of the country’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
For starters, Lu is a foreigner. Not from Zambia or Zimbabwe, or Tanzania, or Mozambique or any of the neighbouring countries, but China, hundreds of thousands of kilometres away. As such, he was supposed to have appropriate residence documents and work permits to allow him to stay and work in Malawi.
What did he have to allow him not only to stay but, also, to work in Malawi for four years?
It looks like he had both. He proved this to village head Njewa in 2018. When the Chinese national stepped into the village flaunting his papers, to start some social work there, helping the underprivileged, the village head did not just smile at him. He did some commendable due diligence. He went to the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare headquarters where he met senior officials. The officials assured him Lu had the blessings of the ministry to do what he purposed to do. And at the end of his discussions with the ministry officials, a chauffeur was assigned to drop him at his abode, more than 25 kilometres from Gemini House in City Centre.
Thereafter officials from the District Commissioner’s office also visited village head Njewa at his home. So did officials from the Ministry of Education as well as police officers from the nearby Njewa Police Unit. And they did this from time to time.
So, after all these government officials had Okayed Lu, who was village head Njerwa to say no to Lu?
And four years is a long time. If Lu had residency and work permits, it means he must have been renewing them after every six months or so. Under normal circumstances, it means all the above government entities—Ministry of Gender, Education, Immigration, Lilongwe DC, Malawi Police Service, National Intelligence Service—should have all the records for this man and where to find him, or contacts of those who can help them get him.
But the big mistake that all these MDAs made about this Chinese is that they did not think about who would be monitoring his activities. None of them assigned an officer to follow his activities with the toddlers. Monitoring his activities was made all the more difficult because no one understood Chinese—Lu’s main language in the videos he shot. His choice of children to abuse was strategic—very young, aged between seven and 12 and unassuming. As long as he gave them food packs and K300 after every session, they were all game. They longed to come again the following day.
How could all these MDAs leave the young children in the hands of a foreigner whose language all officials as well as parents did not understand? And for four years! This can only happen if Lu bribed his way through all the government machinery. Never mind the bread and other small freebies Lu gave Njewa. The real money went to government officials.
They should now be shame-faced that they are fuming and pointing an accusing finger at village head Njewa, when all of them did not do the minimum homework they were required to do on Lu and all others who come like him.
Now, the parents of these children also feel betrayed and exploited. They are demanding a share of the proceeds of the millions Lu made from the sale of the videos. They are justified. They can even sue government for facilitating the exploitation of their children by the Chinese national.