Thoughts of a Peasant: Cashgate is bad, donorgate is even worse!

Last month I had a chance of being trained by a certain international Nongovernmental Organization. During the introductions the trainer who was an expatriate introduced her position at the NGO as technical specialist, and she added “I don’t even know what that means or what my job description is.” Two weeks later the immigration department busted her and some fellow expatriates at the NGO for illegal stay in the country. They were given two days to leave the country and are now “safely” home.

This is but an example of what is happening in the NGO world. Where money that was meant to develop our country finds itself back to where it came from through subtle means like creating positions that don’t mean anything and employing expatriates.

How much of the billions that are sent to our country really benefit the locals? We may find that close to half of that money does not reach us. If it’s not spent on paying for services like technical support, it is used to pay expatriate staff most of whom don’t know what they are here for or are doing a job which a local can do better.

One painful thing is that most of the expat staff doesn’t pay tax because their positions are disguised as voluntary. And yet they are paid hefty allowances which make the salary of a local employee look like peanuts, an allowance that enables them to spend every weekend at the lake when their local salaried workmates can’t even afford to spend a weekend at Malingunde dam.

With Cashgate the culprits were Malawians, and they invested the money in Malawi, the outlook of our city changed with their mansions. But when the donors give billions and half of the money goes back to their own countries it leaves the country as poor as ever.

The large amounts that are siphoned back home or that don’t even make it into the country make Cashgate sound like a petty crime. It’s like dangling a piece of meat to a starving child and then throwing it back into the pot. It’s a crime against humanity.

As if that is not enough, the NGO world is rife with issues of micro management. They employ a local country director and use him or her as a puppet. with all the decisions coming from overseas. No wonder some of the projects being implemented aren’t even compatible with Malawian life and once the project has phased out the locals abandon them

The whole thing reminds me of what happens during funerals where you hear announcements like, “Mr. so and so has condoled the family with ten thousand kwacha, nine thousand of which has already been used” it makes me ask myself why not just announce that they have condoled the family with one thousand kwacha.

So while you point a finger at us for swindling your money through Cashgate, remember the other fingers are pointing at you. But beggars are not choosers, let your will prevail.

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15 thoughts on “Thoughts of a Peasant: Cashgate is bad, donorgate is even worse!”

  1. king says:

    I can’t believe that such a shallow article can be allowed to be written for the public .are you serious? And your research is based on one observation you encountered? To even say that atleast cashgate is being invested in malawi is just plain stupidity.stop feeding us this bullshit please

  2. makwinjaishmael says:

    Malawi has porous laws in every angle and inadtion to this, malawi had had two presidents ever since.Why saying this… All democratic presidents exept late prof.Bingu wamuthalika could not and are not able to make their own decision. Thy rely on whites.We had mwaona awa ati mbuu maso ukuwa-ndiwapempha amenewa, recentry we had azungu andituma and now we have one who has just bowed down to the whites/half cast by removing Visa fee to Americans,shame.
    Berging and cowardice and porous laws gives these people a chance to do whatever they think mdziko lathu.
    Makampaninso akumapanga BERL inakatenga akut katswiri odzala mitengo yatsatsi kuzimbabwe!, kodi kuno kunalibe amene akanakwanitsa ntchito imeneyi?.Try to follow up with that company, You wont find any meaningful development inregards to what it was herefore. It loosed focus and it doesnt have trees.The expatriate went away with his good suck of cash but there is no good job on the ground done by him.Please, law makers check on this.

  3. Patriot says:

    Point of correction mister Isaac Mafuel, the white pipo are not expatriates but immigrants.
    Kwathu akhale expatriate? Kwawo tikhale immigrant?
    Nao kwathu kuno ndi ma immigrant.

  4. johnM says:

    Firstly Mr. Mafuel should have used his real name if he had legitimate grievance otherwise why hide behind a pseudonym.

    Secondly, cashgate was Malawi Government money. It was not money belonging to someone else thus we cannot equate plundering of our resources to that of expatriates plundering their own resources. The people that plundered Malawi Government resources in the infamous cashgate were civil servants who are answerable to us. Expatriates working for international organisations that are funded by international donors are answerable to their backers thus I do not see the reason for you and I and anyone else in Malawi to complain. It is not our money in the first place.

    We should never feel any sense of entitlement to donor money. We are not entitled to any of it and frankly speaking Government should ban AID. Malawians are not invalids, we should encourage self reliance. We should work hard to build our own country and not rely on others to build it for us.

  5. Geoff Nyirenda says:

    You are right, the “thoughts of a peasant”! How anyone can try and justify Cashgate!!!! Mr Peasant, two wrongs don’t make a right here. Donor funds tend to be used by expatriates in consultation with the donor concerned, so best to leave your biases at the door or at least try and find out the truth before passing judgement on something you know nothing at all about!

  6. Mandede says:

    It is not correct to say that all the cashgate money was spent in Malawi. I heard stories of how millions were spent for weekend parties in South Africa at luxurious hotels. I think much of the cashgate money was actually spent outside the country. I dont think we should be finding ways of making cashgate sound nice. As for for the donorgate, I cant say much other than its their money and let them do whatever they want with it. I just wish as Malawians we could all take responsibility and work hard, come up up with solutions and innovations to move us forward so we dont have to care about the donors.

  7. SUKATI JERE says:

    “A prophet is not honored in his land” so it is written in the bible.There are also many Malawian expats in each and every country in this world.You can think of any place at least there is one or more Malawian expats.If you liken this to cash gate scams then I might be compelled to think that you benefited from the infamous cash gate.

  8. Macc says:

    @ Dannie Phiri & Decent try to understand the argument. The author is in no way condoning catgut but merely pointing out the double standards employed by western organisations & countries. They come as good samaritans but more than half the money returns to their home countries & they act all holy. Most of the money that they send back to the continent is stolen from our continent by their companies. Open your eyes, read, understand & learn. Do not comment merely for the sake of commenting or out of emotions.

  9. Alufeyo says:

    Actually Nevin wont taise hell about money stolen by British Asians and kept in UK because it benefits them. Cashgate was evil yes and must not be repeated. However should donors be reminding us about this scourge just to keep us down. Let the courts deal with the suspects and let us move on find ways and means to develop our country. There shall always be theft but let us develop systems that will reduce incidences of looting. The British government loses billions of pounds to scams by civil servants but they dont let that hold them back. They prosecute and develop better systems to eliminate theft. We can kill all thieves i dont care but as long as we dont inmovate and fail to stop externalisation of funds by people allied to Uk etc we are doomed.

  10. Observer says:

    Spot on Dannie!
    What are u really telling us Mr Mafuel? With a twisted title you coax us to read your half baked article only to realize it is wanting in many ways. You do not justify cash gate or any plundering of public resources just because donors or international NGOs are siphoning half or more of their money back to their homes through expatriate salaries and buy our home product policies! We can do better than this Mr Mafuta!

  11. Kakha Erutu says:

    Mr. Isaac Mafuel, you are damn right!. Having worked in INGO myself as CD locally as well as Expat elsewhere, I cannot agree with you more about irrelevant projects, unqualified azungu, micromanagement, living in exaggerated affluence, and some obscene allowances. All this is done when the main subjects in the proposals angowazolesa mafuta pakamwa kuti azikhala ngati adya nyama.
    Our government through its appropriate machinery should screen all INGOs and permit only those that add value to our development agenda. And do not just accept any project before analysing the details in the proposals. Mind you “the devil is hidden in the detail”. Lack of or deliberately neglecting to screen is the reason we have allowed our land to be infested with purposeless INGOs. I would rather have very few useful INGOs. And screen the qualifications and job descriptions of the so called expatriates.
    Time is here for Malawians to take charge of their development.

  12. Phundey says:

    Concur with a book titled ‘ LORDS of POVERTY’ read it it xplains all these things and exposes these thieves

  13. CHEJALI says:

    Ayiiiiiiii no coment

  14. decent citizen says:

    Cashgate was really used in Malawi but is not everybody who benefitted from this cashgate.It was very few greedy people who benefitted while the rest were languishing in poverty.The health sector suffered,the education sector suffered and other numerous sectors that would have benefitted Malawi.So our plea to the govt is prosecute everybody involved in this malpractice,and let their mansions be sold to recover the money that can help every Malawian.

  15. Dannie Grant Phiri says:

    This is a clarion call to all civil servants. Go forth and plunder government coffers and fleece Malawi of any ability to offer services to its poor citizens. If they die because hospitals don’t have antimalarial drugs, so be it. They would’ve died for a worthy cause: making our cityscapes look world-class despite their potholed streets.

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