There is a war going in the country. It’s war for the very soul of mother Malawi. It is not a war like last year’s—about removing an under-performing arrogant government.
This is about making, for once and for good, our government functional. It is about guaranteeing the well-being of our children and viability of our nation.
If the last war was about removing an increasingly kleptocratic State, the current one is about ensuring that the current administration doesn’t fall into the same trap. We have had just way too many failed governments. The sum of their combined colossal failure is pushing us to the verge of a failed State.
Another one can’t be allowed to fail again.
But, that is not to say the current one is perfect. Already, there are tell-tale signs that some elements within it came into power for wrong reasons.
Yet, the leadership at times has done enough to inspire confidence. It might lack experience. It might not always get all the decisions right, but it has been transparent and reacted, so far, in honest and transparent manner to the concerns about possible abuses under its watch.
But what is really pleasing is to watch the vigilance of Malawians themselves holding public office to account for every penny and a few of the governance institutions rise to the party and finally make the thieves smell the coffee—that time is up to play chicken with our taxes.
When President Lazarus Chakwera publicly decried lack of vigorous action from the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, he followed up his take-down of the office holder, Mary Kachale and appointed the youthful Steven Kayuni as replacement.
We can say, today, without mincing words, that Kayuni has so far, neither let the President nor his fellow youths down. He is delivering; going after those with long fingers with vigour of the Young Turks. His pursuit of Norman Chisale’s alleged ill-gotten wealth, for example, shows just how many instruments are available for law enforcement to fight graft, but are seldom used.
It also shows why Chakwera made the right call to change guard at the directorate.
Then there’s the Ombudsman Martha Chizuma, who this week reminded us why she’s the most popular public official today. Her continued determination to pursue those that abuse office and protect the public makes her obvious choice for the vacant post of ACB director. If anyone wanted her to audition for the job publicly, then Thursday’s elaborate and erudite report on how Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and the former Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale allegedly abused public office to push for some singlehandedly picked but expensive, foreign lawyers offered the answer.
Report after report, even when the leadership of the country was as disinterested in the fight against corruption as Peter Mutharika’s, Chizuma proved to be steadfast and determined to do the right thing.
Such resume must frighten many folks at the prospect of her heading ACB. Those folks, by the way, cannot be just those from the DPP’s cabal, but the bad apples inside the Tonse Alliance administration, too, who hope to abuse government resources.
But if Chakwera is to remain a good President and deliver a tenure that will be truly transformative, he must continue using his influence and executive power to ensure that right folks such as Kayuni and Chizuma are given a free rein to do what is necessary to change this country. When the bad apples try to intervene otherwise, he, the leader, must always pull rank.