Dear judge Mbadwa,
My Lord, after being bombarded with the news of plunder of public money in government institutions, you should not be surprised at all because your friend, that venerated counsel, Calm Don, made an accurate prognosis of the malaise we have been subjected to for decades when he contextually laid it bare in his ‘Malawi: Two decades of absent values’ and ‘A Jaded Decade of State Capture’.
My Lord, if I can be allowed to quote him, his argument is that we are a country that has not bothered to have a discourse on national values since 1993. “As nation, we have not, for two decades developed a national culture that would support the Constitutional order and legal frameworks for the effective delivery of development and services to the people of Malawi.”
My Lord, as I also did argue, it is not that we never knew all along that the public service has thrived on a culture of bribery and corruption, something that was precipitated by the free-for-all tradition of government of the Whistling Chairman.
Those who have understood the line of thinking of that Calm Don of law, will agree with me that the leadership that followed the Whistling Chairman that included Moya Mose, Amayi Aja and Mapuya did not help matters as they just perfected the art of cronyism and nepotism, frustrating further the already demotivated public service.
And this is what I argued then: “Those with connections to the ruling elite were catapulted to instant success and riches while the most deserving civil servants, who were sidelined, resorted to uncanny ways of self-promotion; hence, bribery and corruption became the single route they were subjected to travel in their career path.
Coupled with poor salary structures in the public service and lack of merit-based incentives, the fertile ground for graft was ready for the sowing of seeds whose crop the country is harvesting now.
My Lord, Blessings Car-Bar-Mbe, the guy who was responsible for the monetary policy of Nyasaland, was not entirely wrong in his prognosis of the faltering economic standards when he said the public servants needed to be held accountable on the cancerous corruption.
My lord, we agree with Car-Bar-Mbe that corruption is so pervasive in the public sector so much that stories of public officers fraudulently selling land that belongs to government pales in comparison to what happens in most ministries, departments and agencies.
We also know that there still few hardworking civil servants who have preserved some modicum of integrity and have never dipped their fingers into the pot of graft.
Having said that, my lord, before your court even start prosecuting these bad apples in the civil service, I want to apply for an order to include politicians in the public sector corruption equation.
My lord, I don’t want to engage your esteemed office in the proverbial chicken-egg debate on who could be responsible for graft in the public sector, but I believe that in taking to account corrupt civil servants only will be akin to offering a remedial treatment of this slimming disease.
My lord, we may prosecute all civil servants without necessarily rooting out the vice as long as the public servants remain poorly paid, unmotivated and as long as politicians create a fertile ground for cronyism and nepotism.
My lord, I still remember that most public servants are used as pawns by politicians in the game of stealing from government and it is these politicians who should also be cornered as a preventative measure.
Was it not told that those who are caught in corrupt deals and get away with it largely have connections with powerful politicians?
I could be dreaming, my lord but I want to wake up in a better world.”
But as the legal don I referred to above said “whoever or whatever authority will govern this country. The nation must re-define its values in line with the Constitution and legal frameworks. It must develop and sustain a vibrant culture, arising out of these values, for good governance and rule of law.”
Let us implement what the Calm Don of law proposes to cure this disease.
I rest my case,