If President Joyce Banda loses the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, it will not be because her government has been a total failure. Some people speak and write as if indeed her regime had been a complete disaster. They are prejudiced.
Primarily, the reason is that most people find it easier to dislike someone for the evil they have done today than to thank them for the good that they did yesterday. Does Shakespeare, through the mouth of Mark Anthony, not tell us that the evil that men do lives after them while good is interred with their bones?
When Banda ascended to power, there was a good deal of disarray in Malawi. People were sleeping at fuel stations because of the shortages. Now you can stop at any filling station and fill the tank of your vehicle to the amount of money you have.
When she took over, Malawi was a polecat in the presence of donors. She won back the friendship of all key donors even if now some are expressing doubts on the competence of her bureaucracy.
When one reads certain commentaries in the print or electronic media, one gets the impression that there is a good deal of hostility towards Banda, her government and her party.
The other reason she might lose the elections is that her circle of advisers and public relations officers are more reactive than proactive. They wait for someone to say something critical and then respond. They think that is enough. What else? Better if they were taking the initiative to remind people of the good things the People’s Party (PP) regime has done and is doing. Those who win wars do not wait for the enemy to move his troops towards them. They go forth to challenge the enemy nearer his own camp.
There is a good deal of hostility towards suspects in the Cashgate. Some people want the forensic report to divulge names of the suspects regardless of the consequences. They seem so eager to counterattack and they suspect that the President herself is not innocent. Such people are already calling her to step down. To them, a suspect is a culprit.
If we are a mature nation, at the age of 50, let us not allow mob justice to settle our affairs. Rather, we must abide by the maxim which states that an accused or suspect is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
We are told that the Cashgate looting was facilitated by the porous financial system that was introduced in 2005. The forensic audit so far has covered the period that coincides with the Joyce Banda regime. We cannot be 100 percent certain that in the preceding regimes, there were no looters until the forensic auditors have covered that period as well. Where there is no impartiality, there is no justice. It may well be that what has been uncovered is the tusk of the elephant, not its body.
In the interest of justice towards all and malice towards none, not only should the auditors report on how things were done between the year 2005 and 2012, but reports that will include names should be given on the whole gamut of auditing simultaneously.
Suppose the forensic report is so damaging to the PP regime and it loses the election because of that. Later, the report on the preceding views reveals that worse scandals took place earlier. Shall we have a clear conscience having been selective in probing?
There is suspicion in certain circles that some of the properties of the ruling party have been donated by the Cashgate crashers. Such suspicion is by no means unwarranted. At the same time, let us compare the Kamuzu Banda Malawi Congress Party (MCP) party uniform and the present one.
The zilundu women were those days bought by the women themselves, their husbands or their parents. Those women also had to buy membership cards like anyone else.
I understand most of the party uniform men and women wear these days are given to them for free. Who meets the cost of these attires? What promises have been made to that person for his open-handedness?
We have heard before of contracts being awarded to certain firms without following the normal procedures. I understand in Latin there is a saying which translates as ‘Beware of gifts’. If there is no internal democracy in our political parties, it is because he that pays the piper decides the tune. God protects us poor Malawians in the arms and hand that guides our affairs should be an imitation of Esau’s while the body behind is Jacob’s.
On the jet, the President should have informed all stakeholders what offers she had received and if the jet had been evaluated by an independent expert.
Madam President, you have worked hard for the good of our beloved country. But remember, small holes in the deck can sink a Titanic. Let the truth prevail in this jet affair.