Keeping them honest, and in check

“There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept.” – Scottish Proverb.

The more we trust people, especially politicians, the more their broken promise hurts.

Oftentimes, when that happens, there is an incessant anger towards the promise breaker, and at the same time a mountain of shame because we trusted them.

We lash out, crawl away or pretend we didn’t really care or that don’t give a hoot about it, but still beneath the wings of our heart of hearts, it hurts.

So, if someone makes a promise and never fulfill it, hold that person responsible because making false or fake promises in order to benefit is for lack of a simpler better word, fraud.

During the 2019 and 2020 elections the incumbent sheriffs running our town made beautiful promises, such as eating three times a day, one million jobs in the first calendar year and cheap fertiliser among other sweetnothings, but to this date nothing has materialised.

So, I ask, what’s holding them?

Nthawi m’kachitsirudi, ndithu.

It’s barely close to two years now since Tonse government took over the reigns. Meaning that this government is technically running out of time to fulfill their many promises.

To be precise, very soon we will be saying that Dr Chakwera and his team have three years to go.

As surreal as it can be, every season comes with a fixed timeline upon which certain objectives must be fulfilled.

The two most critical things to watch on a timeline are grace and opportunity – and while grace can be lifted, on the other hand, opportunities can be missed.

Do I believe that opportunities have been lost? Absolutely Yes.

Do I believe that the grace has been lifted yet? A resounding No.

Looking at our leaders, then, and hearing to their sweet and attractive campaign themes through and through was like catching a whiff of a fresh aroma that was broken to impart a pleasant smell of hope and expectation.

And, just like on a wedding night of a virgin who was affianced and betrothed to a fine fella, we were all eagerly waiting for a magic wand, something tangible and heart-fullfilling that was to happen.

We said to ourselves; aha! our time has come, or so we might have thought.

We stood with keen expectancy and interest to see how our beloved President and Vice President would finally unveil that magic that we had all been waiting to see, for so long.

And, Boy oh Boy, those promises they made worked as deviously as cunning stratagems to win us over to them.

The charm of their political wiles had indeed captured us, and we were crazily intoxicated with love and we were all drowning in their charms.

To just say that excitement was real is more than an understatement.

‘Virtuous attributes’

To be honest, Malawians were thirsty for honest and truthful leadership, that which would stand on a facet of moral character and in particular the one that could connote some positive and virtuous attributes of integrity and straight-forwardness.

A type of leadership that was ready from day one and poised to usher Malawians into that sweet overlapping dispensation that would mark the end of a dysfunctional era under the DPP.

They further went on to guarantee Malawians that theirs would be a new serviceable and effective governance.

By this, it was implied that there would be no more corruption, abuse of power, executive lying and plunder of public resources.

As we are all aware, the core ills that many Malawians suffered under DPP were the inhumanity and indignities of pillage and plunder.

So, the first magic that we anticipated from the president and his team was an expedited collective action on how they were going to end corruption and all the pieces that incentivizes the rot.

If my memory serves me well, it was on several campaign occasions that Dr Chilima actually produced fuel cards with serial numbers and all the information about the culprits behind the whole fuel plunder at Escom.

Now, to the surprise of the many of us, that intel seem to have grown legs and wings and have magically disappeared.

What happened to those files that were publicly displayed during campaign? The ones that were supposedly having names of all thieves and looters who ransacked our public resources.

There was also this idea of a 100 days amnesty to retroactively exempt those who would voluntarily choose to give back any stolen resources from government.

Of course it was believed that just like with a typical white collar crime case, Government was to pardon such offenders in a such way that more money would not be lost in the process.

We were all meant to believe that our prisons will be free of nonviolent offenders.

Those who stole goats and other small small things would be pardoned in exchange with hardcore financial criminal offenders.

To our surprise, two years later we are still waiting to see the real culprits being nabbed.

We still have real crime bosses who actually attained notoriety during the DPP era, those that you would call Public Enemy No1 are still out there, as they were, running their cartels scot free.

One wonders why there are no new names anymore getting subpoenaed? Kapena ndiri mkuchikamwa?

And what really happened to the few who got indicted like former Police Chief Peter Mukhito and former MRA Deputy Commissioner general Roza Mbiliza? Milandu inawola?

Your answer is as good as mine.

‘Intact rubble’

In fact, it was such an embarrassment to have our former President, Peter Mutharika, the other day actually calling out this government and challenging them that the reason why this government hasn’t been able to arrest his DPP henchmen was because there was nothing against them and claiming that his DPP was clean as a slate, which we all know is not the truth.

But like I wrote the other day, the careless dilly-dallying and failure to deliver on critical promises will actually resurrect aDadi and his DPP cadavers from their abyss.

Suffice to say that, this was a bunch that was devoid of life and unbelievably, now they have managed to gain a new lease of life and a moral standing ground.

The failure by government to expedite the formulation of a special financial crimes court to authoritatively adjudicate and prosecute all criminals or settle cases by arbitration has also contributed to giving DPP another dose of life.

In the absence of such an independent institution with a razor-focus on developing better mechanisms of governance in the public sphere, the rubble will still be intact in most of these Government institutions.

The fact that there’s nothing to hold people to account for their dishonest actions, and that there seem to be a continuation of the same with no effort to setting precedent on ending corruption, we can foresee a repetition of massive corruption.

Leadership is about setting up a culture, understanding the value and essence of time and making sure that everything that falls on that timeline is executed with clear objectives and goals.

Therefore, I urge this government to start moving quicker than they have been. Otherwise, if they keep their motion at this snail’s pace, time won’t be so kind to them.

I strongly believe President Chakwera and Vice President Chilima have what it takes to build that culture of truthfulness and honesty.

The idea of Tonse is a huge backdrop of hope and renewed expectations for all of us. It is a yardstick that Malawians chose to benchmark all standards moving forward towards our desired destiny.

It’s up to the president and his team. But it will be until we fix corruption and punish all those that have contributed to our disfunction that we can indeed finally sing the redemption song!!

As of now, we can only keep the wonderful memories, and hold on to those SKC patriotic words when he cried that “Mbendera iyi ndi imene tidzaifera”

As a parting short let me leave you with some words of wisdom from Richard Paul Evance in his book Promise me, on page 161 who said: “Broken vows are like broken mirrors. They leave those who held to them bleeding and staring at fractured images of themselves.

Just remember, therefore, that these same people you promised but never gave them what you promised them are hurting and bleeding, come 2025, they will be like rampaging buffaloes.

Do as you promised or face the dirty dancing music. Soon.


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