It is clear this country is a bundle of contradictions. It is a nation that seems to be so much at odds with itself.
How else do you explain this: An elderly woman is woken up by her grandson to go and vote in the fresh elections. Primarily, the grandson tells her there is something for her in the bag of promises from the Tonse Alliance in the form of social security only to learn that was just bait for votes.
And the son had all the hopes passport fees would go down, electricity and water connections would be free, no renewal for driver’s licence and so on. Well, today he just has to live up with the rhetoric that Rome was not built in a day. You got it right, rhetoric means talk, talk and more talk.
While we are at it, this woman from Mtiya voted chiefly because she was lured by the fact that she would be buying a bag of fertiliser at less than K5 000. Today, she has to sleep at a selling point for nights on end to get a bag.
It is clear that the poor are at the receiving end of this bundle of contradictions.
While the poor may have voted for a regime that would change things, but no, it was a blatant lie. We still hear stories of shody deals. We hear that Minister of Energy Newton Kambala, President Lazarus Chakwera’s adviser on strategy Chris Chaima Banda and Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president Enoch Chihana are alleged to have tried to exert pressure on National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) for some contracts to supply be awarded to contain companies to supply oil. Nocma deputy chief executive officer Hellen Buluma has written the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) on the matter.
It is just too early for us to be having these reports. It comes too early as we are still learning what draining the swamp, clearing the rubble and mindset change means.
As if all this is not enough, we hear Members of Parliament (MPs) have increased their salaries and allowances, giving a rise in their wage bill from K15.4 billion to K20.7 billion. The allowances have shifted from K1.1 million to K2.2 million while their basic pay has risen from K862 400 to K948 640.
To say the least, the increases come at a time the poor are struggling to put food on the table, find medication in hospitals and send their children to schools, not dilapidated mud and thatch structures. There is no justification for such increases in allowances for the MPs as fuel and accommodation, some of the items included in the allowances, have gone down in price.
The power to sign for the obscene emoluments remains with President Chakwera, who has the powers to consent to the changes.