With the one and only, Mapwiya Muulupale
If you are President Peter Mutharika’s bosom buddy and have been wondering what you should do to get fired, now you know.
Should for some reason, any of you honourable Blues’ Orators want to get on the road to perdition, a watertight do-it-yourself kit, thanks to our brave ‘guinea pig’ Dr George Chaponda, is now available.
The first thing you need is to realize that you can’t build anything great on a weak foundation. A solid foundation is imperative.
Therefore, once appointed as a minister or whatever, surround yourself with fraudsters.
They aren’t obvious, but good old fashioned nepotism (yet another form of corruption) i.e. strategically positioning your kith and kin in all potential looting outlets, works like clockwork.
Cronies, in-laws, nephews, nieces etc. are assets when you intend to loot big.
Because blood is thicker than water, cronies and relatives insulate you from prying eyes.
For instance, let’s say maize-gate had unfolded in the USA, under the watch of a relative, Saviour Chishimba wouldn’t have smelled a rat.
So, make hay while the sun is shining, tactically position cronies. Once this is done, the foundation is set.
Now begins your reign of looting from Washington to Addis, dipping your fingers into the kitty when managing Washington Lobbyists’ account, possibly partaking in the Addis Ababa cash-gate, and of course – courtesy of haters – top the rumour mill as the mastermind behind the looting peacekeeping soldiers’ funds from the UN.
The problem is, with President Mutharika, this is far from enough to get you fired.
Much to your disappointment, all you get is a transfer too another porous and highly lootable ministry.
Finders keepers, losers weepers, life goes on. In the new ministry, from the word go, go full throttle on deals. Should water boards have expansion plans, dig in. Top it all with a maize fiasco, pushing in the process, maize prices through the roof.
• Who, after all, gives a heck about the poor?
• Who really cares that your party’s logo promises maize?
• More poignantly, who promised that the maize emblazoned party logo implies that the maize will fall freely like manna?
This is politics and politics, as has been said a zillion times, is a dirty game. So, loot, loot and loot.
Should some misguided CSO fellas cry foul, don’t bother. We have a very understanding president who doesn’t act on “silly stories” and a cabinet that as we speak, is defending maize-gate.
Rest assured, such noise will not interrupt his slumber.
To show the CSOs your mettle and that you mean business, defy court orders should the CSOs dare get an injunction.
And hey, no foreign trip should be missed because of any preposterous injunction. How else are you going to swap our useless Malawi Kwacha for dollars if you don’t travel abroad?
Talking of CSOs, organize one of your own to stage a bogus ‘enquiry’ which declares that, contrary to the ‘silly stories’, you are in fact ‘saint george’.
Having played your own CSO card, throw in a tribal innuendo or two. If there is a risk of ruining your party’s perception in one region, so be it.
Some idiot will make the requisite noises, disowning your stupid and senseless statement, but your party vice presidency will remain safe. After all, aren’t you the bosom buddy of the young Big Kahuna?
Now Blues’ Orators, comes the tricky part.
You know that your buddy, the president, has to be seen to be doing something. So, as a friend indeed, you agree on a Commission of Enquiry, on condition that all commissioners should be malleable individuals.
On the eve of publishing findings, get your bosom buddy – the president – to condemn media reports on your scandal, calling them ‘silly stories’.
Then the Commission will deliver its findings, your president buddy will receive them, and despite the straight forward recommendations, he will bury the report.
This buys you that precious commodity called time. This is an invaluable asset when all dogs of war are out, baying for your blood.
Now this is important: from nowhere, a raging fire should conveniently consume your office, leaving the audit trail in a heap of ashes.
Still to your disappointment, no dismissal, none whatsoever, comes and still free you are, to loot again.
Pride, as you know honourable Blues’ Orators, comes before a fall.
Emboldened, drunk and high on arrogance, dare your buddy boss man to let lose the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on you, safe in the belief that the Czar at the ACB will, like he did with the MK1.7 billion and MK236billion cases, play dumb.
Inexplicably, for the first time since May 2014, the ACB Czar reads from a different script. In he comes and boom, catches you in fragrante delicto with loads of cash including assorted foreign currencies that a forex bureau would be jealous of.
Now, on top of possible corruption charges, money laundering creeps in and the president can take it no more.
“Enough is enough!” yells APM and does what he should have done months ago.
He fires you and an aide announces that effective ‘the 22th’, not ‘the 22nd’, you’ve been relieved of your duties blah blah blah. Never mind the presidential aide’s bad grammar, the sacking sticks.
This, Blues Orators, is the formulae with which you can entice President Prof Peter Mutharika to act. If you loot in moderation, he will not mind; but if you too big and are caught pants down, you will be relieved of your duties.
Any wonder we are sinking deeper?
Anyways, as the WWE often warns: ‘Please do NOT try this at home, the Ninjas at Mutharika’s beck and call are highly sophisticated villains’.
But seriously and sadly, with corruption, it is the poor that pay. In the final analysis, who are the real winners and who are the biggest losers?
Winners? VP Rt Saulos Chilima can now smile, his nemesis, the shadow ‘Vice President’, barring a gaffe by Lucas Kondowe, is now history.
Mr Kondowe, my favourite punch-bag, can for now grin from ear to ear. He has chalked his first catch and it’s a Che Jumo! The question is: is he going to pursue this to its logical conclusion? Next week, I will share what I have gathered.
For now, congratulations are in order for Mr Lucas Kondowe.
Lawyers too are salivating, Chaponda is a stinking rich client ripe for plucking.
If it is true that Chaponda was the only obstacle to implementation of Barrister Z Allan Ntata’s good governance agenda, then Ntata too must be on Cloud Nine.
Losers? Equally plentiful.
Sleepy Malawi Congress Party (MCP) comes first. If Chakwera knows what’s good for him, he should go and learn from Saviour Chishimba about the art of opposition leadership and take the fight to the corrupt.
Mutharika has also lost big. What more evidence do we need to prove that he is clueless and is being held captive by thieves?
John Kapito’s reputation is in tatters. What was the point of his circus?
Standing shoulder to shoulder with him, in disgrace, is Joseph Nkasa. Who idolises villains?
The biggest bum of them all is of course, the hitherto untouchable Dr George Chaponda.
Free advice for Chaponda, he should consider Facebook-friending inmate Counsel Kasambara. They may share an address soon and in jail, one does need friends.
More importantly, you Blues’ Orators and I, Muulupale, should learn that because we just whine and watch corruption thriving, the poor villagers and those living in our slums, have to folk out MK12,500 for a bag of maize, due to the greed of a few.
If we were God-fearing people, we shouldn’t have let this happen.
This however is not about Chaponda. It is about our poor choices during elections. Knowing very well that a fish rots from the head, we elect fish which looks the most likely to rot the fastest.
This goes beyond Chaponda; it is time we reconsidered our steadfast refusal to join mainstream politics.
Our preference to Facebook politics leaves a vacuum for thieves and thugs to commandeer Malawi at the expense of our peoples’ lives and livelihoods.
Were you in active politics, who knows, you could have been our own Chishimba or our own Juju Malema.
The point being, we can’t leave everything to Chakwera, Kamlepo, Lucius and others. Each one of us must roll up sleeves to rid Malawi of educated thieves.
What’s your excuse? What are you waiting for? For another ‘Chaponda’ to rise?
Once beaten twice shy, get up and fight for your land.
- This Column is published weekly in the Sunday Times.