Let me begin by narrating a story of two college friends: Ernest Banda and Joab Chalima. They both graduated from Chancellor College, University of Malawi, in 2013 as economics majors.
Just after graduating, both guys joined government: Ernest with the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development while Joab joined Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
From the start, their salaries differed with Joab getting K50 000 more than Ernest. But why? Isn’t it not time we revisited this and ensure all graduates start with the same salary?
Well, that was just a digression; let me proceed with the story.
In the next three years, Ernest was still without a car, single and still on the rent. Joab’s story changed so fast. In the next three years, he was driving VW Golf, married with a kid but, of course, still living on rent.
Things turned completely different for the two in the next five years. Joab’s uncle got favored by the incumbent president and was appointed as a minister in government.
The uncle influence MRA board to promote Joab to a senior position. He was promoted to the position of the director—some kind of a controlling officer.
By 2018, everything about Joab changed. He had built three plush houses in Area 43. He owned a fleet of six vehicles, German made ones. His wife owned several boutiques in Lilongwe. Romour, also, had it that Joab had three side girls, all of whom driving cars and living a plush life.
Ernest, on the other hand, was still on the same grade. Married with two kids, driving a Toyota Axio and still on the rentals. Together with his wife, they are making savings to start constructing a house on a small land they bought in Air wing.
The painful part of Ernest’s story is that whenever Joab visits him, he is always disturbed with feelings of worthlessness—always thinking that he doesn’t work hard that is why he hasn’t grown like Joab.
In fact, on several occasions Ernest and his wife have had terrible debates regarding their future: the wife insisted Ernest is not smart enough; he is failing to use his degree to match his friend Joab.
What Ernest’s wife didn’t know is that her husband’s progression was normal. He was a hardworking civil servant, being let down by a system that rewards nepotism and corruption.
In the Malawi of today, we have few privileged people such as Joab who are all over plundering public resources, showing off their ill-gotten worth and going public looking as if they worked hard for it.
This is the culture of impunity that has infiltrated our nation and it has to be uprooted. It is a culture that is rewarding nepotism not merit. It is a culture that rewards links not network.
If Malawi is to develop, it will take more than just arresting Joab for corruption—but draining the inherent swamps that necessitates this culture.
President Chakwera and his deputy Saulos Chilima have chance to do that. They must do it. Clear the rubble!Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :