It was Irish Parliamentarian Edward Burke who is credited with the quote “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” and unfortunately for Malawi, there are more good people not taking action, as a result evil is flourishing and in unstoppable mode.
In a democracy, one would expect the public to demand transparency and accountability, but that is rarely the case in this 22-year-old democracy despite massive awareness about the Bill of Rights and constitutional freedoms as well as several charters.
Since good people are doing nothing, there is laxity and massive plunder of public resources. Several presidents have promised to get Malawians out of poverty, but at the end of the term of each, they manage to build themselves a huge house, plus a road leading to the house to boot, amassed unexplainable wealth and left the people who voted them into power no better than they found them. That is the story of Malawi and its people’s attitude of every man for himself.
Over 12 years after the people of Zomba, Jali, Phalombe and Chitakale were promised a bitumen road and countless millions of dollars in loans procured, the pledge is yet to be fulfilled. The people have become so disempowered that they do not hesitate to bring back to power the same administration which has failed to deliver on its promise.
The people of Phalombe, whose constituents have elected ruling party members of Parliament, sit idle as the government borrows millions on their behalf for the construction of a district hospital which remains a mirage eight years later.
The people are informed in black and white that some fat cat has misused the money meant for social programmes at Karonga or Mchinji district council, but the people do nothing.
By not demanding transparency and accountability, we have left district councils and embassies at the mercy of politicians who tap money from these institutions willy-nilly. Your money, by the way.
No demands of accountability and no demands of transparency. It is business as usual.
One good man, Billy Mayaya, fed up with power disruptions to his life personally as well as to that of businesses, schools and hospitals decides to express his dissatisfaction and no single individual affected by the blackouts joins him on the streets: not the women queuing at maize mills at odd hours of the day, not that salon which has scaled down staff due to lack of customers and certainly not that supermarket owner whose monthly diesel bill has surpassed that of electricity.
That is a society that we have become, a scared spineless people who become contented even when a six-inch hill is drilling into our bare foot. The spirit of the likes of Chakufwa Chihana who selflessly gave up their freedom for the good of the whole of the country is no longer among us.
A few good men, who when they do something are labeled unsavoury names. They are deemed as having nothing better to do, they are called attention-seekers and are simply seeking to be famous.
As we watch while our money is being stolen, as businesses are failing left right and centre and jobs are being lost, evil continues to triumph because the good people, who must act, are doing nothing. n