Kudos to Member of Parliament for Balaka West, Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, for sourcing 500 000 pound sterling worth of assistive devices which she donated to Sue Ryder Foundation in Malawi (SRFIM) this week to assist many poor Malawians with disabilities.
Shanil said she sourced the material after being touched by the fact that not much is being done by many to help those who were involved in accidents, suffered stroke, or are in need of rehabilitation back to normal life.
Now many legislators are well known for petty charity works in their respective constituents in various ways but what Shanil has done is really worth writing home about. Five hundred thousand pound sterling is K500 million. And this is not small money by any reckoning.
The materials to be procured from this money did not come on a silver platter but is a result of concerted effort on the part of the legislator who must have sweated blood to convince donors who could not do otherwise but provide the assistance she sought from them. When some people solicit funding for a project, they usually also want to directly benefit from the booty, but this was not the case for her. She must have simply presented a compelling case to prospective donors. And here we are with all the difficult-to-buy equipment that will go a long way in helping the less fortunate in the country.
I am sure there are many more legislators and other people in the country in good standing and well connected to prospective donors that can help the needy in many ways. But they look away when faced with a situation like that which touched Shanil. Why many people do not assist the needy in society is because they always think about themselves first. They are usually bothered by the question: What is for me in this? But charity is assisting someone without expecting to be rewarded. The rest is rent-seeking and corruption.
Just imagine, if only half of the 193 legislators really had the welfare of their constituents at heart, and were able to come up with a good proposal once year, they would raise K24 billion or projects worth that much every year. But I reckon that some of our legislators don’t even have the spine to approach prospective donors not even locally either because they are not well exposed or because they have no clue what their job description entails.
Just watch the madness and frothing with which our legislators fight for a raise for the Constituency Development Fund. This is a clear indication that all they look forward to in as far development is concerned is what can be forked out of the national kitty to which very few tax payers contribute. To say nothing about the many who lustfully look at the same kitty that has seen a third of the national budget vanish in thin air year in year out from time immemorial.
The fact that we now have councillors should make the work of the people’s representatives in the august House even easier. They should now reposition themselves in terms of how more relevant they can be to the populace since the councillors have taken over some of their responsibilities.
So, once again congratulations are in order for Shanil for a good job. This is the type of charity work that all legislators ought to be doing.
This actually reminds me of one Malawian who a few weeks ago made a K200 000 donation as a way of persuading more Malawians to do the same for a very bizarre cause. The problem with that donation, I should say, is that it was made to someone who does not deserve it. I am talking about a plea to Malawians to raise money to buy a jet for the president. The president does not need our petty cash. He has said it more than once that he came here already rich. So he really does not need anybody’s money. Let him buy a jet from the billions in his fat bank accounts in and outside the country. Not that some people cannot still see the need to give to him. But many such people would do so either in search of recognition or fame or to be repaid in one way or another. And this is wrong. n