The pettiness the ruling DPP is displaying as they go about governing Malawians sees no boundary.
It can manifest itself in the most unlikely of places including funerals and in the end, it tends to mask the real issues which are crying for attention and solutions. In the end, the real losers are Malawians themselves.
Let me elaborate.
This week has been traumatic for the nation after the tragic events at Mlowe in Rumphi where a boat that packed 80 people capsized on Lake Malawi and killed five people. As I was writing this, over 20 people were still missing, probably also dead.
To me this tragedy had to happen and will probably happen again on Lake Malawi. It is just a reminder to prick our conscience on the plight of rural people in this country which no one seems to care about and this includes the DPP government.
This attitude is seen even in the shameless behaviour of the party at this time when the people of Mlowe are mourning and burying their dead.
The issue at hand is transportation and rural development. Because there is no road connecting the little peninsulas along that part of the lake, the locals resort to the use of treacherous boats to connect with each other, hence the tragedy.
This is made worse by the fact that the Marine Department in the Ministry of Transport is a waste of time. While the air and road travel is regulated, the water travel on Lake Malawi is on its own.
Anybody can buy or fashion out something and call it a boat and begin to play with desperate human lives on the lake and there would be nobody to certify it.
There will be nobody to monitor that the boat has life jackets on board in case of an accident.
There will be nobody to check whether the so-called captains of the boats are qualified to pilot them and whether they are conversant with such issues as weather forecasts and what you do in the event that adverse weather conditions have prevailed.
All these issues put together are what have killed the people of Mlowe. This country failed them and they have perished.
Meanwhile, those that are supposed to provide solutions, those that govern us, are busy duping us by concentrating on peripheral issues.
Until today, nobody is talking of an investigation to gather all these issues because they are afraid that it will open a can of worms and bring them to their door step.
Instead, the DPP hierarchy is using the occasion to peddle the same old lies of politicians through Goodall Gondwe.
The first day he said government would construct the much-needed road connecting the peninsulas that have dotted that part of the lake. But he added that it would not be this year, the one next or indeed the one following.
Probably realising that he goofed, Gondwe later said he would discuss the road with his boss, President Peter Mutharika.
Then there was that spat on Tuesday between the party and the Livingstonia Synod over where prayers should be held all because Gondwe could not move to where the mourners were due to his old age infirmity.
All this is downright pettiness and an attempt to create a smokescreen to run away from real issues.
If Gondwe could not go where the siwa was, why did they not send a more energetic minister such as Jappie Mhango or Grace Chiumia if the idea was to have somebody from the North?
But this is the modus operandi of DPP and it is to sidetrack Malawians from real issues. If it is Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and other critics raising issues of development, nepotism, tribalism and selective justice, just go personal with them and ask them to form their own political parties.
Sadly, it is Malawians that are paying the ultimate price. Because the President and his DPP are cowards and cannot face the issues Malawians are complaining about, the problems will not go away on their own.
Instead, the problems will simply come back stronger than before, with the vengeance of the capricious gods.
This is sad for our country.
- The article first appeared on ‘Hitting the Nail’ column in Malawi News