Cashgate: Joyce Banda directly responsible for the rot

After so much has been said about Cashgate l thought l should never the less add my voice to the ongoing debates about this madness.

Cashgate is symptomatic of a failed leadership. The fish will always rot from the head. Plainly put – whether one likes or not – President Joyce Mtila Banda is responsible for this rot and should take the flak for the deficiencies that culminated in the shameless stealing of the national purse.

No amount of buck passing, lame excuses or blame shifting can absolve her from this scandal no matter how much she tries. She can scream all she likes, even arrest a million civil servants today; freeze their bank accounts; impound and seize their homes and vehicles bought from the proceeds of this madness; go on the podium and squeal at the top of her squeaky voice the buck stops with her. Isolated populist rantings that give false hopes to Malawians will not stick.

As Chief Executive of this country she has failed to give this country leadership, failed Malawians and failed this country big time and in normal democracies this calls for her immediate resignation and arraignment before the courts for gross dereliction of national duty.

Blaming Muluzi and United Democratic Front (UDF), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and late Bingu wa Mutharika will never stick. Never ever!Kwawo kudatha (theirs is finished) she has the reigns of power and only she is therefore answerable for the actions of persons in government.

The President has amply demonstrated how venal she is through the sale of the presidential jet yet we hear that she is still able to fly the same jet at no cost. We hear the use of the plane is being traded off through state contracts which is very scandalous by any standards. It is such behavior by the principal (Joyce Banda) that then permeates  down to her subjects who are now involved in the Cashgate scandal.

Parliament ought to have questioned how, why and at whose expense does she still fly the presidential plane long disposed off.

Frankly speaking, had there been no attempt on the life of the Budget Director Mphwiyo Malawians will never had known anything about the looting of the state coffers. It was only when Mphwiyo was shot and rumors were abound on the reasons for the attempt on his life that Joyce Banda was jolted out of her deep slumber to pretend as though she was indeed fighting graft.

For her to then make these unintelligent claims then that the actions of the donors that withdrew funding support to the country were as a reason for her fight against corruption is not only laughable but insults the intelligence of Malawians. It is pure nonsensical drivel to say the least.

Chances are the President was in the loop of the looting and was just idle and did nothing about it and thus in complicity to the cleaning of the state coffers until Mphwiyo’s shooting. Nothing explains the sudden wealth of Malawi’s office number two or individuals with links to her Peoples Party (PP).  PP functionaries are evidently part of this entrenched corruption. They suddenly are multiple landlords; drive top-of-the-range vehicles full of cash; their children go to private schools the list is endless. Given the pathetic salaries of civil servants the life they are leading now is being funded from proceeds of graft.

Even the wealth suddenly being flaunted by PP which has suddenly acquired assets overnight when it was leading a paupers life demands a little explanation from the powers be. The partys’ wealth cannot be explained.

The central responsibility of any President anywhere in the world is to effectively superintend over the affairs and the administration of the country. Where there is dearth of such oversight that borders on ineptitude and that would normally lead to undesirables like Cashgate.

No wonder our President stays in palaces. No wonder she is commander in chief of the army and the police. No wonder the office of the president receives generous funding from the fiscus to run its affairs. No wonder she has the sole prerogative to appoint competent individuals as Ministers, deputies and secretaries to duty of country.

The rationale is to ensure that the  President uses all these resources objectively to administer government policy and administration effectively within the constitution, the law and national budgets without excuses whatsoever to the best interest of the country and citizenry.

Further, it is so, so that the President summonses the said resources to stem any vice, fight any and all manner of graft be it within or outside his or her party by his subjects or the citizens at large that seek to prejudice the interests of the country at large.

But when in the comfort of such largesse you start having undesirables like Cashgate then hard and serious questions have to be asked about the suitability of the individual to hold office. This can only mean one thing. Those individuals she has deployed to run the ministries where state funds have been looted have failed in their duty and they are all answerable to her, and her alone. In the final analysis this catastrophic administrative failure falls squarely on Joyce Banda. Period.

The President has failed this country and  she should stop passing the buck and take full responsibility of the Cashgate scandal without apportioning blame to anyone else. This business of shifting blame everytime leadership is called to account for their actions has to stop forthwith.

Claiming that she is being punished for fighting graft and thus will not lose sleep over the freezing of donor aid to the country because of Cashgate is not only disingenuous but hopeless naivety or plain sickly bravado.

She should stop suggesting donors are an irascible bunch that will act at the slightest instance of fraud perpetrated in government corridors. There is madness to Cashgate, funds meant for the well being of the general populace have been abused by selfish politicians and civil servants and it is this madness that gets the donors acting in the interests of the generality of Malawians by suspending aid to stem further abuse. Her pronouncements are thus not befitting to holders of the highest office in the land.

To this end, Malawi does not deserve such inept, tepid, clueless and weedy-headed leadership in the moulds of Joyce Banda. Malawi has insurmountable challenges that require dedicated, selfless leadership to sort out her problems and not pretentious leaders who instead of selflessly and honestly honoring national duty they become obsessed with self enrichment through looting state coffers.

We need leadership that will implement and be seen to implement measures to stamp out this rotten scourge not one that sacrifices one or two civil servants that represent a pathetic drop in the ocean of endemic corruption and unaccountability.

This rot demands a paradigm shift from the laissez faire manner of running government business to that underpinned by accountability,  supervision and performance.

Until such a time government deals with these Cashgate pillagers without fear or favor Malawians should loathe with extreme passion leadership superintending over this sleaze.

Come elections time Malawians should vote out these pathetic thieving politicians.

Malawians should not be swayed by the bags of maize or these sickly cows that PP is distributing to defraud them of their votes which otherwise are being bought through monies looted from the fiscus.

We need to judge our leaders not by the number of grain bags they can distribute or the number of sick cows they give out but on their soundness of their policies, their competencies and how they deal with unscrupulous evil servants that loot the national purse.

Malawi needs a visionary accountable leader with new ethos that puts people before self  with the impetus to fight graft at all levels of government without fear or favor.

This PP government is a kleptocracy with a serious dearth of the aforesaid traits which will steal at the slightest opportunity and does not deserve the vote of any self- respecting Malawian. No wonder we are already worried about rigging in the forthcoming elections. Cashgate is only instructive and gives us an insight into how this country is being run and will be run post May elections going forward if at all we put our votes to waste.

They need to be shown the exit door faster than they came in.

  •  Majoti Chimuzanga is a concerned Malawian and writes in his personal capacity. Majoti Chimuzanga is a pseudo name.

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