The country’s development partners this week warned the Peter Mutharika-led government against looting the little left in the public purse ahead of the upcoming Tripartite Elections in 2019. The donors said public funds should be safeguarded between now and the elections.
Heads of mission of the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Japan, the European Union, and the United Nations have made the call in a Joint Statement on the International Anti-Corruption Day, observed annually on December 9.
The donors urged Malawians to be alert as Cashgate happened in the run-up to the 2014 elections.
“We call on all stakeholders, led by the authorities, to safeguard scarce public resources between now and the next elections,” appealed the donors in the statement, adding that corruption in the country is worsening despite improvements in public finance management and introduction of laws on access to information, financial crimes, and political parties.
What a timely message. We on the streets can’t agree more with the sentiments expressed by the donors. Malawians indeed should sleep with one eye open as theft in government and corruption in all spheres of life have reached levels never seen before.
What is even worse is the fact that there is lack of leadership on that front. How many times should APM be told that he is running a ‘Mafia-like government’?
Sadly, the views from the ambassadors will be seen by some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadets as an affront to their leadership. Some in the party already think donors were criticising their ‘wise and dynamic leader’.
So should foreigners meddle with our affairs or should we be left alone to handle our issues? That is the question. But what if the foreign envoys aren’t involved who else apart from the free media would act as the voice for the people and question the government?
Clearly, we all can see that donors are not meddling in our affairs. The issue here is that APM and his government have over the past three years showed no efforts in fighting impunity, and corruption is getting knee deep under his watch.
We on the street strongly believe that poor governance is as a result of leaders not implementing reform agendas, not ensuring the citizens have access to basic needs, non accountability, and not fighting impunity providing an environment where citizens don’t enjoy their rights.
We believe that strong leadership is needed to bring the much-needed changes to accountability, rule of law, respect to governance and State resources.
Billions of kwachas have been lost over the years in various corruption scandals such as Cashgate, maize scandal, fake allowance claims, paying of ghost workers, Fuel Stabilisation Fund abuse, awarding of tenders to ghost contractors and nepotism during tenders. These are some of the few practices that expose poor leadership and governance.
Malawians are tired of mediocre leadership. As demonstrated on Wednesday, Malawians will not stand aside and look as State property is used to reward sycophants. Word on the street is that, peace-loving Malawians and the free media, will continue to fight for good governance and not only rely on the envoys and western countries.
Chakwera on chiefs
Last Sunday, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, took a swipe at the Democratic Progressive Party-led government for using chiefs to champion its political agenda.
Speaking during a political rally in Chitipa District, Chakwera accused the Peter Mutharika administration of dragging chiefs into politics which, he said, is dividing the nation.
Sadly, it is the MCP regime which bred this culture which has become so entrenched in the country. Chiefs such as my uncle Felix Mphunda Banda (Chief Lukwa of Kasungu) are now a laughing stock because of their involvement in front-line politics or what he loosely calls ‘serving the government of the day’.
Before pointing fingers at the DPP, the MCP leader must look in the mirror. If he doesn’t like the image he must check himself.
But it is indeed high time laws governing chiefs and Local Government were revised so that chiefs carry out the duties of chiefs and operate in a free and independent environment.
By the way, do we still need chiefs?