onourable Folks, a week is truly a long time in politics and if you have any doubts go ask Ken Kandodo and Symon Vuwa Kaunda; they will prove to you that even 24 hours is such a lifetime for politicians.
Before jumping to this week’s talking point i will confess right away that it was rather tricky to pick what to converse this week because too numerous events have shaped up in Malawi in the past seven days—all of them damn interesting.
At the rate events are unfolding in Malawi these days you really gotta be spirited enough to keep abreast of trending issues else you catch the stress of feeling behind all the drama, arrests and the numerous goings-on around the K6.2 billion audit report.
Back to the two ‘honourables’, Just seven days ago Kandodo and Kaunda were basking in the glory of executive opulence and legislative comfort but they crash-landed to fate with their hard-won political fortunes vanishing in a blink of an eye.
On Sunday night, President Lazarus Chakwera fired Kandodo as Labour minister for pocketing K613 000 of the Covid-19 funds in allowances after accompanying him (Chakwera) on a State visit to South Africa in November last year.
But the Kasungu Central MP, who previously served as Finance Minister for two years in the first DPP rule under the late Bingu wa Mutharika, denied assertions that he abused any money and refunded it to government from his pockets when it got hot in the kitchen. According to Kandodo, all allowances and refunds were done by controlling officers in the Labour ministry.
Nevertheless, his rebuttal reflects high levels of negligence among many elected officials and professional heads of various government ministries, departments and agencies.
It is such laissez-faire attitudes that in the past nurtured the sort of rubble that Chakwera’s administration is still struggling to clear exactly 305 day after assuming office on June 23 2020.
For Kaunda he was declared a common man three days ago by the Supreme Court of Appeal which nullified his 2019 election ‘victory’ for Nkhata Bay Central Constituency over ‘systemic’ irregularities.
Today, Ada bwana Vuwa walks flat and definately agonises over his political invalidation by the country’s top court while his rival and former MP for the area, Ralph Mhone, should be laughing out the loudest.
Broadly speaking Kaunda’s loss is another huge blow for DPP which recently also lost a seat in Phalombe and two in Nsanje districts, following similar court rulings and subsequent by-elections.
The Party also lost a seat to UTM in Karonga recently following the death of a DPP lawmaker there, which trimmed the party’s strength in Parliament by five.
But even so, it remains a fact that the May 2019 elections were hallmarked by massive irregularities and tippex likely supplied by those that depended on DPP’s continued stay in power for their own survival in politics, business and other forms of hustling.
This takes us back to the link between politics and public fraud. Politics should not always be about personal survival, power struggle and those empty hullabaloos in political podiums etcetera.
Politicians worth the name must look for trouble, find it everywhere, diagnose it correctly and apply the right remedies for the benefit of all citizens, including rural masses who provide the necessary vote for the leaders while languishing in poverty.
This is clearly what Chakwera is trying to do right now although many critics have expressed frustration that ‘things’are not happening fast enough to promptly clear the rubble and change the country’s direction for the better—not what it still is now.
Already the Malawi Police Service had responded to his firm stand on the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds audit by arresting nearly 50 suspects, including very senior government officials, who are implicated in the report. According to the national police public relations officer James Kadadzera, these and many other suspects will be charged with fraudulent false accounting, among other charges.
I, therefore, salute the president for vowing that his administration will fight all traitors of his government’s anti-corruption stance until they are defeated “no matter how long it takes”.
Really a healthy democracy like ours requires a decent society and a leader who can stir up a large hornet’s nest and provoke powerful enemies of the rule of law until they are all eliminated. Whether Chakwera will maintain the current momentum is a story for another day.