Counterjab: Nigerians in Diaspora take fight against corruption to new level; what say you, Malawians abroad?

First off, apologies for my incomplete, half-baked entry earlier this week on Malawians resisting the continued stay in office of election chief Jane Ansah despite her poor handling of the presidential election “won” by the incumbent, President Peter Mutharika.

People protests in Malawi

And a quick note on the Supreme Court decision this week to suspend what were supposed to be massive demonstrations for Ansah’s resignation after President Mutharika threatened to unleash the country’s security forces on protestors: The court ruling represents a dangerous threat to Malawi’s democracy than the imagined threat posed by the demonstrations.

Now to the main issue of today about Nigerians living outside Africa’s biggest economy demanding their government put an endt o corruption and fix the country. This, apparently, is how they have decided to go about it: In a video clip that has been going around, people believed to be Nigerians are seen beating up a public official who’d arrived in Germany for medical treatment. They tell him to go back home and get treatment there like the rest of ordinary people. It’s common practice among politicians from developing countries, including Malawi,to seek medical treatment outside their countries while their people die from ailments that could be treated if funds budgeted for the health sector weren’t stolen by them and their cronies.

Nigerians in Diaspora are up in arms over Nigerian public officials taking money out to invest in other countries. They are also against public officials sending their children to schools abroad and are demanding an end to going on shopping sprees outside Nigeria while the vast majority continue to wallow in poverty. The action they are currently undertaking, they believe, is what will force elected officials and government bureaucrats to rebuild the country for the benefit of the over 200 million Nigerians and not just a few.

For this move by Nigerians in Diaspora to work, Western governments have a big role to play. While criticism by Western powers over corruption in developing nations is appreciated, they too need to stop turning a blind turn eye to the actions of the people they criticize when they visit their capitals to spend their loot.

I asked some Malawians what they think of what Nigerians in Diaspora –they warn that public officials, their spouses and children will meet the same fateor even worse as the guy in Germany — have decided to do. I am deliberately excluding the views of skeptics because I refuse to believe that hopeless Malawi can’t be salvaged in my lifetime. The following are the responses I care for:

“Nigeria yanyamuka [has taken off]. Way to go!” says former journalist Charles Simango.

“That’s what’s up,” says Ibrahim Kaleso. “Great new phenomenon. We need to keep these corrupt fools scared of coming here and spending their stolen money.”

“We are tired of these corrupt politicians,” says Grace Ziba who just returned from Malawi and supports current efforts by the opposition challenging the results of this year’s elections in court.

Tony Simwaka, an avid follower of Malawi politics, is ticked off by practices in the health sector that benefit just a few. He thinks health insurer Medical Aid Society of Malawi spends large sums of money — there’s incessant forex shortage in the country– paying for medical services sought by their members in places like India when “the government could just invite the Indians to [provide] the service in Malawi”and benefit many people in dire need of specialist services.

Frazier (not his real name) is another Malawian fed up with the status quo. He says,“we need to expose our politicians every chance we get until they change.” He feels an opportunity was missed recently when Malawi’s first and second ladies visited Great Britain, Malawi’s former colonial ruler. The president’s wife went to attend her son’s graduation ceremony in the United Kingdom (UK) with the second lady in tow. Frazier points out that “there was no outrage over this.”

Was there?

Well, hindsight is 20/20. The trip to the UK by the wives of Mutharika and his deputy happened before the latest moves by Nigerians. Sometimes being late is still better than never. So, looking forward, there should be opportunities worth exploiting. Frazier says it would be nice to try and shame government officials, for instance, when they travel to the United States for the UN General Assembly in New York.

Malawian leaders are notorious for travelling with huge entourages to such events and Frazier claims that some government officials don’t even show up for meetings they are supposed to attend. Instead, says Frazier, they spend time socializing and shopping at the expense of hardworking Malawians back home who pick up the tab through their taxes.

Without a doubt, Malawians itching to take a leaf out of the Nigerians’ book and knock some sense into corrupt public officials have work to be done.

  • The author is a journalist-turned clinician who lives in the Diaspora. He writes ‘Counterjab’ column on Nyasa Times
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Ajofia
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Ajofia

In our setting, this can not work because we have a docile citizens who does not pay much interest to national issues. To us what is important is voting and what comes next is secondary.

Dr. Mvuma
Guest
Dr. Mvuma

Thumbs up. Well said. But how shall we know that they have traveled? This is not the only issue, one of the critical issue is deployment of relatives in Diplomatic positions. These relatives have no clue on what they are supposed to do to serve the people of Malawi in these Missions. They still think the Embassies are their Father’s or Uncle’s Company where they came on holiday to relax and do nothing. It is high time we Malawians rise to challenge such. It is poor Malawian Tax Payers money. Wake up Malawi.

Justice Usiwa
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Justice Usiwa

The coming of more Chinese construction companies has give more chance to This Government to steal monies in the name of Road construction. Corruption is the highest in China and Malawi Government is using Chinese construction as conduits of corruption money.

Njolo mpilu
Guest
Njolo mpilu

IAM SAYING SORT OUT THE BLOODY MESS AT MASM..WE ARE NOT TO CALL SOMEBODY AT MIDNITE AT HOME ,WHEN WE NEED MASM ACCOUNT TO CHECK US IN. IDIOTS. WHAT KIND OF SERVICES IS THAT? WHAT IF FONE YAFA MAGETSI ANAZIMA DZANA ?
IS THIS THE SAME COMPANY THAT EAS ADVERTISING BIG DZANA LIJA WHEN YOU GPT NO IDEA WHO IS DOING WHAT,HOW IN THE OFFICES!!!! HEY PLEASE THIS A SAVAGE WAY OF DOING THINGS.
SORT THE BLOODY MESS OUT PLEEEEASE

Nabetha
Guest
Nabetha

If Diasporians can work with groups like MAENGA and help the present and past anticorruption activists who are based in malawi to form non-governmental organisations with the core mission of civic education to help the masses in changing of core values of love, respect e.t.c. Meaning for example if one says they love their neighbour but in their actions they grab all the money or food living their neighbour to starve it means their words are empty, which agrees with the slogan ‘action speaks louder than words’. Another example would be for things to get better we must be willing… Read more »

DRAKE
Guest
DRAKE

All Political Parties that have ever ruled Malawi all are and were and will be corrupt. MCP was very corrupt and during their tenure Corruption was for a few selected people. its was done by the so called royal dedza and Kasungu families and any body deemed to try to infiltrate their rank and file were thrown in Jail. You could not question the Royal Families activities, many riches were obtained corruptly. Eg one Inspector General of Police was filthy rich, he was getting budgeted Police vote funds to construct Lodges along the Lake, instead of constructing Police structures the… Read more »

DRAKE
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DRAKE

95% of Malawians are corrupt, not only Politicians. The media, Civil service, Police, statutory corporations and even private sector. Even the writer of this article is very corrupt himself, the problem is we tend to amplify other peoples issues and deem ourselves as Angels

Njolo mpilu
Guest
Njolo mpilu

FACT. zozamba ngayti za ku nigeria zomw zi. as pf now malawi wangoti phuuu moto wancikatikati mikwiyo. ma cadet akuopseza a Mw cifikwa ca dyela. imajine muluzi how he spent our money going to the Uk / south africa for the mare backache with yhe fact that he has weak medical asvosers. once operated on that back, you dont expect expect 100% no pain,idiot. Now this is a notice again to MASM. its getting to a month or 2 mungoti system siikuyenda bwino and your system ikuzuza anthu kuona kuti ena maina ao mwawacotsapo and once gone to hospitals, there… Read more »

Kaka
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Kaka

All that is pretence by a few Nigerian elite who want the lime-light. I have not yet known any Nigerian who is not corrupt. They always want quick money through crooked means. Most Nigerians living in the UK (who I know) connive with politicians back home to siphon money out of Nigeria through phony projects and fake conferences. They benefit from this money which they use in the UK. If at all this is genuine, then it’s really a handful of Nigerians. Problem with Malawian commentators, you believe anything you see on the internet. SHAME!

Mangochi Kabwafu
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Mangochi Kabwafu

Can not agree with you more.

Alfred Minjo
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Alfred Minjo

You know what? The writer of this article ndi ntumbuka and therefore its not a surprise to some of us!!

Lucky Mlauzi
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Lucky Mlauzi

Mbava zachulukadi anthu kumangolira. Bwanji kuziotcha mbavazi like mmemne timachitira?