It is common knowledge that no country, including Malawi, can develop if there is corruption and abuse of power by stealing from government, be it money or property.
It is annoying to the taxpayer when he/she sees that there is no progress in the country since the money they pay is not used for the intended purpose. What is more annoying is to hear that even the leadership is also engaged in corruption and stealing. There is no way such leadership would think of taking to court any culprits because it feels that they will be exposed. Lack of taking suspects to court by the previous administration is what is making current government busy now, bringing suspects to book.
People in Malawi are well aware that there was rampant corruption and abuse of power in the previous administration. Unfortunately, nothing was done to correct the malpractice. The current government wants to make things right. This is why Vice-President Saulos Chilima goes around to check how people are working and correct them if they are doing the wrong things.
In fact, had the previous government been as concerned, the things would not have been as worse as they turned out to be. The other problem was that the president was much more interested in running his party—the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)—other than running the government. May be he thought that by doing so, the party would work hard get him a second-term. This is a warning to future leaders, that it is the success of the whole country that can give a chance to them to have a second-term.
The problem with corrupt people and government thieves is that they have no limit, that even in the middle of a calamity they take advantage and still find something to steal. Malawi is at the moment faced with severe corona virus attacks. A lot of money has come into the country to ease the problem. Even the National Budget has set aside funds to contain the pandemic. No sensible person can steal such funds.
Unfortunately, rumour has it that some officials during the Mutharika era abused the Covid-19 funds through paying themselves hefty allowances whenever they met. This is unacceptable, but nothing was done to the officials. Let the Tonse Alliance administration follow up on such cases and those alleged to have happened under its watch.
To show how annoying stealing Covid-19 funds can be, recently there was a story that went viral on social media. The President of Guinea Bissau had a fight at a car park with one of his ministers, who was suspected of stealing money for corona virus treatment. What this story illustrates is that the President was annoyed with his minister because taxpayers blamed him for including thieves in his government.
What is stated here shows how important it is for a President to really scrutinise his Cabinet ministers as well as other government officials to ensure that he does not include people who feel that ‘this is their time to eat’ instead of showing their best performance.
The seriousness of the Covid-19 attacks cannot be over-emphasised. Never before had Malawian individuals been moved and initiated others to raise funds to help government to fight a cause. Therefore, it goes without saying that whoever is found to steal Covid-19 funds should face heavy penalty. Even those officials who fail to submit required reports to President Lazarus Chakwera must be reprimanded. Their delay might mean that they are covering up something dirty.
Meanwhile, the appeal to Chakwera administration is that it must speed up trials of those who stole Covid-19 as well as other cases. The delay in trials might be wrongly interpreted to mean that the suspects have been forgiven. This would encourage others to go on stealing.
Malawi desperately needs to develop, corruption and stealing public resources do not augur well with development.