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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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

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… Read more »

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.

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… Read more »
Geoff Nyirenda

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!

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… Read more »

“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.


@ 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.

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… Read more »

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!

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