The President must not tame snakes, least they grow some venom, teeth and bite him, it has been loudly said.
Why, again, is the President hiring back retired folks when he pledged jobs for the youth, was a popular refrain this past week when a few retired technocrats were re-appointed into the civil service.
All this is good criticism, or at least good debate to have, but as all matters of national discourse, must be placed under intense scrutiny so that we don’t lose the big picture.
Granted, the youth are owed the jobs and indeed, one million jobs that were promised during the campaign must be delivered, but we also need to understand that the cautionary tales over the hiring and firing, especially the pace, are not all motivated by good intentions.
It must be particularly frustrating time for people desperate for jobs in the new government to watch the ‘snail’s pace’ the new administration is taking in filling what ought to be vacant posts.
So, the cautionary tales to Chakwera are being masked at times, as call for urgency when in fact are reminders to the new czars that a few folks out there are still expecting to be rewarded for stellar work in supporting the campaign that toppled the DPP.
The sole reason we all wanted a change of power is because we want a change in the way government is governed. We didn’t want to trade a cadre of DPP sycophants with Tonse Alliance equivalents. Why then, wouldn’t it be in the country’s interest for Chakwera and his team, to take as much time as possible to scrutinise and vet the folks who are to take over various leadership now?
And why is it when people are calling for the snakes to be killed, are not specifying which snakes? Which office holders are they targeting? And what is their view of the legal implications of firing willy-nilly civil servants simply for being perceived as cadets?
While this column would never condone the proliferation of incompetent folks in government, let the current cleansing process be driven by merit and let those who aided or plundered the state face the music, but those who are innocent, even though they were appointed by the disgraced regime, let them continue serving their country.
Chakwera and folks have a responsibility, ultimately to achieve national unity and the moment people start suspecting that any bloodletting that is happening is for partisan reasons, the goodwill that is out there for the new administration is going to vanish in the thin air.
And the same principle applies, to me, in the context of the re-hired folks. So long as they deliver, so long as they don’t have a chequared past, the new government should be free to tap on both old and new hands. Age, tribe, party affiliation, shouldn’t matter. The new Malawi is for all, so long as all the appointments respect the law.
The thing is, ultimately, Chakwera will be judged by what he will deliver at the end of his tenure and must be mindful about his legacy as much about politics. His campaign promised so much; he has made a good start to the presidency.
But as the old saying goes, the proof of pudding is in the eating. Until the country is genuinely transformed, all the promise will count to nothing. So let’s give the president a free rein and hope, in his choices going forward, the snail’s pace means diligence and not indecisiveness.
That said, it doesn’t mean that Chakwera should ignore the voices of youth and women empowerment who are yet to find his presidency very accommodating.
That said, it doesn’t mean that Chakwera shouldn’t learn lessons from the Cabinet debacle. But even that hushed up job of forming a Cabinet shouldn’t mask the fact in other areas, the President has been inspiring enough to warrant a little reap of faith in the rest of us that he has the best interests of the country at heart and ultimately, unlike his out of touch and out of sync predecessor, he gets it.
And that he will appoint the right people in right jobs. If you railed against a Cabinet that boarded on appeasement, though, be informed some of the voices calling for Chakwera to behead a few snakes in government, are themselves seeking for appeasement and their voices are getting louder and louder by the day.