Most people know that democracy is defined as ‘a government of the people, by the people and for the people’. It is not a secret that in democratic Malawi, the definition of democracy is rarely followed, mostly because of greed of the people with power.
Malawians might claim that the government belongs to them, but in reality, the government shows that it has nothing much to do with people, except to collect taxes of which people have no idea on how it is spent. This is the same with the borrowed money, say from IMF or the World Bank. This money is for development and in the process to uplift the lives of poor Malawians.
If this would have been the case Malawians would by now have a much better life considering the huge sums of money which have been coming into the country. In short, ordinary people know very little about what is happening in their own government. This might be by design so that the leadership might freely abuse the public resources and mislead everyone to unknown destination.
Lack of information by ordinary Malawians has depleted this country of its resources. For example, Chikangawa Forest, which was once a pride of Malawi as the biggest man made forest in Africa, has been depleted without knowing how much government and communities around got from it.
What is so annoying is that even ministers’ statements presented in Parliament are so elementary and basic that one cannot get anything from them. This might be deliberate because the truth can expose so many important people. The government might argue that at some point it stopped all timber business in Chikangawa. Unfortunately, this was only done after the forest had already been depleted.
What happened to Chikangawa is what is happening to Malawi’s minerals. The Chinese are being found mining germstones and other precious stones illegally—without licences or authority from government. It is true that Malawi has a relationship with China at ambassadorial level. It is equally true that Malawi needs foreign investors. But what is happening is that some of the investors, especially in the mining sector, seem to be simply stealing the precious stones.
It is doubtful that they have any official government papers; otherwise, they would not be running away once caught. One cannot be wrong to suggest that they have just bribed their way into the areas.
Recently, there have been media reports of truck-loads of germstones trying to cross the border in Chitipa on their way, probably, to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania with a final destination to China. People impounded the trucks and burned down some mining compounds.
The same happened to Mzimba West miners, where the legislator was reported to have literally chased away the miners.
The above is a total embarrassment to government. To start with, what type of laws are there to guide the would-be foreign miners? If the mining in the country will continue to be so haphazard, Malawians will one day wake up and find all the minerals taken out without benefit to the country and its people. Surprisingly, the country has a ministry to look after mining. What are these people doing when precious stones are being stolen?
It is time government learnt to consult and inform people about foreign investors, failing which, the chasing out of the would-be investors will continue and government will shoulder all the blame.