Former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi used to make fun of Malawians for what he called ‘their ability to quickly and easily forget things’. He would often have a good laugh that Malawians, sometimes can be so unnecessarily forgiving of things that he, Muluzi, thought are unforgivable.
One of such unforgivable things, according to Muluzi, was the thought that Malawi Congress Party (MCP) should ever be at the seat of power. He would say all manner of stuff just to remind Malawians that MCP was not to be brought back to rule the country. He would often emphasise his point that Malawian’s problem is that they easily forget (Vuto la a Malawi simuchedwa kuiwala).
True to Muluzi’s assertions, there are times one wonders why and how Malawi ends up with consistently corrupt, incompetent, unprofessional and self-serving people leadership positions? Some of these corrupt people have not only served in one regime, but almost all regimes. Maybe Muluzi was right that Malawians easily forgive and forget when they shouldn’t.
Despite allowing ourselves to persistently be led by leaders whose fidelity is not to the Malawian public, but to themselves and their cronies, Malawians, are now keeping records and presenting receipts of every good and bad deed that those who aspire and those in leadership positions have.
Malawians of today, are not easily forgiving. They are demanding transparency and accountability. Malawians are no longer passive observers. I like that Malawians are actively demanding better from their leaders and making sure that the leaders do not sit pretty and do as they please. Malawians are constantly reminding leaders that they, Malawians, are the bosses, not the leaders. They are also not standing by and watching, they are actively taking a keen interest in government business.
It is, therefore, no surprise that Malawians are now keeping leaders on their toes to account for the K6.2 billion for the Covid-19 national response plan. I want to specifically implore President Lazarus Chakwera not to take Malawians for fools. They are not expecting anything less than jail terms for each and every individual involved in the mismanagement and abuse of the K6.2 billion.
Lives have been lost. People are suffering and gasping for air in most of the country’s hospitals because there are no adequate resources. All the while, someone decided to misuse the money meant to save people’s lives.
I want to think that I speak for most of Malawians when I say that Malawians are waiting to hear how and where each and every tambala was spent. We, do not want to hear excuses.
Remember, Mr. President, you are dealing with a whole different kind of Malawians. Unlike Muluzi’s time, this time, Malawians no longer easily forget and forgive, ask your predecessor how he was booted out. Malawians want less of flowery language and empty promises, they expect you have few words and more action. Let heads roll. We can no longer continue on this path where people steal public resources with wanton abandon.