August 5 2021
One of the great lessons you can draw from the life of Julius, as outlined by the Bard of Avon William Shakespeare and the historian Plutarch, is that he was comfortable to have around him weak minds. He wanted to have around him men who are critical for they ‘have lean and hungry looks and behold a greater part than themselves’.
Simply put, Caesar saw those with critical appearances as a threat to his throne.
One can only feel sorry that President Lazarus Chakwera has become a Julius Caesar all too quick.
The other day, we heard about inflated bills at Crossroads Hotel. To date, nothing tangible has come out of that because those involved are the ‘sleek-headed men’ the President would love to be around him. And, apparently, we Malawians forgive and forget too easily and we let it pass.
Then, there is that issue about the Covid-19 funds plunder. K6.2 billion chewed by some other ‘sleek-headed’ people close to the President. Nothing, yes nothing tangible, has come out of that. Normal people will refuse to buy the explanation that the President would not want to interfere with the work of the Judiciary in speeding up such cases.
While we were thinking about how Chakwera wants ‘sleek-headed people’ running the affairs of state, whack, a bill is smuggled into Parliament. The Loan Authorisation Bill to allow Government to borrow K93 billion mysteriously gets gazetted without the authorization of the then Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe.
By the way, why was Silungwe really fired? That remains for us to speculate as Chakwera told us it is his prerogative, which gives him power to remain silent.
Neither was the Bill discussed by the Cabinet Committee on Legal Affairs nor the full Cabinet.
Wait a minute, before you know it, whack, Chakwera fires his Special Advisor on Special Duties Pastor Martin Thom for having had a hand in the mysterious and dubious dealing.
The matter is in the courts and the hope is they will determine whether Thom is guilty of that gross misconduct.
Some other day, we will wonder, what are these advisors for? What are the special duties pastor Thom was advising the President on? How does that advisor of special duties end up as a suspect in cutting corners in government procedure and business? These may be questions for another day.
But for now, the question is, if anything, did Thom act alone? In whose interest was all this?
In all fairness, the heads will not stop rolling until the Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu and his team at Treasury, the Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara and the Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba and their team at the august House and others explained to the President what really happened. It is evident that there may be more who are complicit in this heist than just our dear pastor and the Ministry of Finance Debt and Aid Management director Nations Msowoya.
The leadership must learn that democracy today does not merely entails multipartism. There is more to democracy today than just having followers from different political parties swallowing hook, line and sinker the sins of their political leaders. We are in an era of monitory democracy.
This is an era where the general public follows to the letter the affairs of the state. That is even better for the people in Mtandire and Mbayani because social media has made this monitory democracy achievable.
Chakwera promised Canaan. The road to Canaan, apparently, was never smooth. Even soon after leaving Egypt, there was the Nile River to cross over dry land; There were the walls of Jericho to bring down; the bitter water at Marah to drink; the ten commandments to abide with. And, when the scouts were sent to the Promised Land, most of them saw the giants that saw the Israelites as grasshoppers.
The Canaan analog befits the Chakwera presidency. That, primarily, is so because he has about him too many ‘sleek-headed’ collared people who may think people would not question their actions as is the case in some churches.