There is little reason to doubt President Lazarus Chakwera’s commitment and sincerity when it comes to “clearing the rubble” and ensuring that the country turns a page on the sad story of failure and heartbreak that has vibrated across the country for decades.
After all, the man deliciously named Lazarus for a biblical figure that rose from the dead has done enough and said enough to assure us that we are only right track and got a right man at the helm.
The thing is, the rubble is just too plenty and has entrenched itself deeply in its privileged position that it won’t go away without a fight. And if Chakwera thought the rubble wears party clothes, and by simply ejecting DPP—as clueless, inept and corrupt as it was—then the rubble will simply vanish into the thin air, then the good man from Malembo is terribly mistaken. And, perhaps, is not the right man for the job.
For all we know, the DPP is gone, but the enablers of its cronyism remain in place. The political party was vanquished, but the civil servants who were as deeply involved in its corrupt ways are still inside, and actively plotting fresh schemes to fleece the taxpayer and, worryingly, since they are old dogs who can’t be taught new tricks, they are the ones teaching the new breed lessons in fraud, embezzlement, abuse and other financial commonalities.
Be warned Mr. President, Be warned!
Why, one may wonder on a lazy Sunday, are we stressing over this? Has Chakwera already not spoken about clearing the rubble, one way or another?
He has. See, the thing is, we have seen something under the sun that is perplexing us.
Just like during the DPP’s regime, people, both new and old, in government are already playing chicken with taxpayer money in a manner that defies logic, or the expectation that things will be different in this so-called third republic.
Let’s cut the chase, folks. We are not impressed, at all, by the payout agreement our good Attorney General is said to have authoried to compensate former Principal Secretary for Lands Christopher Makileni.
As laymen, we are cautious to be seen as passing judgements but we must speak out of our astonishment over the figures mentioned, a whopping K750 million, and rationale behind a compensation for allegedly, “constructive dismissal” of Mr Makileni.
Hear us, folks. We are not saying that this is theft, but, we have our suspicions when the payout of such a figure is to a public official who is still very much on government payroll, who is still using a government vehicle and accessing government fuel.
Folks, we are perplexed that whoever made the decision to make the settlement, saw no other option but to agree that in a country where millions are living in excruciating poverty, the best solution out of whatever predicament the state has found itself, was to pay out such an ungodly sum to a PS whom, allegedly, the powers that be didn’t want around anymore.
Folks, as one of my colleagues across the street would have it, let’s sit down and reason together.
Did you read Makileni’s consent? Where, on God’s earth, does a retired civil servant get to be paid a whopping K53 million just for fuel? Which civil servant gets retired and as a payout is paid 200 million kwacha of taxpayer money to buy a new car on top of salary figures that don’t add up and gratuity?
To put the vehicle part in context, not even the President’s own top of range official vehicle cost K100 million so how does a mere PS, get a golden parachute that even include a K200 million fuel guzzler?
The point really is, not everything that appears legal is right. It might even be clothed in all legal language such as consent orders or out of court settlements but these have proven to be the more effective ways of fleecing us. Veterans in studying cashgate—the biggest public finance scandal this country has ever faced—will tell you majority of the contracts and payments were somehow ‘legal’.
But, when it looks like a duck, quakes like a duck then it’s a duck.
Just revisit the myriad dubious settlements the previous administration government entered, then you will see how effective and lethal the legal theft of our money is.
On Monday, President Lazarus Chakwera held his press briefing to commemorate 100 days at Kamuzu Palace. We had these questions for his benefit, but, alas, we never got the chance to ask them. But I guess, you have heard us now, Mr. President. Let’s clear the rubble, whether new or old.