Talking Blues: Mr President, the rubble in Malawi cannot just be wished away

Saying that President Lazarus Chakwera’s Sermon of the Eight Rubbles delivered on this year’s independence cum inauguration day excited many Malawians is an understatement.
That sermon struck the right chords. It thrilled the nation.
Cynics of course, for good reasons, were and are sceptical because Malawi, besides being ‘the Warm Heart of Africa’ easily qualifies for the title: ‘the Habitat of False Starts and Home to Perennial Underperformers’.
Our forerunners’ motive to fight and even die for our independence was their conviction that once independent, milk and honey will flow.
They dreamt of a Malawi where:
• Malawians would prosper together,
• corruption would not assume religious proportions, and
• upholding the rule of law under servant leaders walking their talk on uniting Malawi would triumph.
They dreamt of a nation where what Chakwera calls the “Hi5” would transcend the campaign trail and become a reality.
Thanks to their blood, sweat and tears; Malawi gained independence.
Since then, what have we accomplished?
Thirty years on, fruits of independence were turning out to be bitter-sweet and more often bitter.
As a result, led by the Catholics Bishops, we adopted a different construct: plural politics.
Come multipartyism, the 1994 General Elections which ushered a “fresh start” simultaneously set us on the road to perdition.

In fact, the 1994-2004 tenure was so hopeless that scholars to date call it ‘Bakili’s Lost Decade’.

The decline was so painful that when late Bingu wa Mutharika, nicknamed “Moses wa Lero” dumped Bakili’s UDF, Malawians were overjoyed.
The rise of Bingu, yet another “fresh start”, bred five years of hope. That hope was however crushed by three years of hell under the same “Moses” gone bonkers.
So dire were the straits that some even celebrated his sudden demise.
In came Joyce Banda, bearing “a beautiful dream” to herald yet another “fresh start”. In a few months, that dream became a nightmare.
Back came DPP and the rest is history. Today, here we are with Chakwera in our umpteenth “fresh start”.
Now, Chakwera is a pastor at heart and pastors’ trading currency is talk. Homilies, speeches, words and soothing sermons are therefore not something Chakwera will ever run out of.
It is his way with words that bore the sermon with which I started this discourse: Sermon of the Eight Rubbles with which we will cross perilous rivers in transit to the promised “Hi5” Chakwera-land.
Before we proceed, remember that half a century-plus has wheezed by and amid the changes and upheavals; the only constant is that the independence fighters’ fantasy of prospering together, zero corruption, the rule of law, servant leadership and unity remains a mere fantasy.
Introspection time:
• Should our founders noble dreams remain a fantasy?
• Are we so cursed that we cannot rid Malawi and ourselves of the rubble?
In this past week, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) suspended implementation of the intention by the Ministry of Health to award a Zambian firm a contract to supply 35 ambulances because its vetting role was bypassed.
The intention was advertised a few weeks ago after Chakwera had already yapped about rubble and appointed a Minister of Health.
Yet, only after a public outcry did the ACB weigh-in to investigate.
The bending of rules – for nefarious reasons – escaped Chakwera and his Health Minister’s scrutiny, yet Chakwera promised to clear the “rubble”.
Easier said than done, eh?
Last week we heard that Mzimba North MP Yeremiah Chihana had withdrawn allegations he made in Parliament that some Tonse Alliance government Cabinet members were soliciting bribes from Malawian businesspersons of Asian descent.
Chihana claimed to have evidence and knowledge of where the loot was. These grave allegations prompted the Speaker Catherine Gotani Hara to give Chihana a deadline within which he should provide proof.
During His Excellency’s Question Time the other week, President Chakwera went further and dared Chihana to ride with him on the presidential convoy to show him the evidence.
Reports say Chihana has “opted to withdraw the corruption allegations”.
What does one make of this? Three words: nothing adds up.
“It seems we are back on square one” you lament and then grieve, “Oh Mapwiya Muulupale, what wrong did we do to deserve this?”
My answer? You and I don’t “deserve” this crap.
If Chakwera needs help, he must first help us and all the ‘Chihanas’ out there.
I posit that in addition to Access to Information (ATI) law operationalisation, Chakwera must champion  Whistleblowers protection law.
The thing is: the Malawi public is not as sophisticated as the criminal syndicates and family cartels running and ruining Malawi are.
Hence, the ATI notwithstanding, our war against graft heavily depends on insiders whose safety and security after revealing corruption must be guaranteed.
In Nigeria, studies show that having a whistleblowing policy may be the panacea for the endemic problem of corruption.
In summary, the Nigerian experience works as follows:
• a whistleblower earns between 2.5% to 5% of the proceeds of financial corruption when the government has successfully recovered funds;
• to qualify for the reward, the information must not have been known by the government; and
• the whistleblower remains anonymous and is duly protected.

With the cooperation of various government agencies, Nigeria’s Whistleblower programme has recovered over US$180 million in just four months.

This means that the whistleblowers who provided the tips are now US$9million richer in a win-win situation for both government and the whistleblowers.
Although the Nigerian experience is still in its infancy, recovering US$180 million, in four months, is impressive progress.
“It seems,” says Dr Matthias Nnadi of Cranfield University School of Management, “the attachment of financial rewards to Whistleblower Protection is key to the effective implementation of the policy in Africa.
“As in the case of Nigeria, it is akin to using bait to catch a big fish in rivers infested with crocodiles.”
The question is: is Chakwera serious about fighting graft?
If he is serious, then he must empower Malawians so that they can help him end corruption and its evil grip on Malawi.

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Henry Mayo
Henry Mayo
1 year ago

What more facts than Joyce Banda is in the Tonse alliance and her son the bar waiter is a Minister. Grow you learn how to read.

Last edited 1 year ago by Henry Mayo
Steaka Mwale
Steaka Mwale
1 year ago

Take heed President Chakwera for your deeds do not, repeat do not match your actions. You are in Tonse with Joyce Banda, who has now been named in investigations abroad as corrupt and yet you sing hymns on wiping out corruption. How can that be taken seriously. You are stumbling on from day to day achieving nothing. Kokolico is the child of your disingenuous uttering. Shameful and blatant lying by you Sir. You are creating an opening for SKC to leave Tonse and say to Malawians that he has left government because you Chakwera is not serious in fighting corruption.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Steaka Mwale
1 year ago
Reply to  Steaka Mwale

I hope you have facts with your insinuations otherwise it can’t yield anything if it is coming from the usual politiking

1 year ago

Beautiful article. Great idea. If indeed Chakwera wants genuine change for Malawi let him implement such

Compromised Chakwera

Chakwera is daft. He is nearly 100 days in office but can you tell me what tangible thing he has done? He dissolved parastatal boards and went to sleep and you call him a leader? Koma ulendo wakukenani wake ndiye mbolatu.

Malembo Folo
Malembo Folo
1 year ago

You are the one who is daft. With your negatuve mentallity you cant see anything mr foolish

1 year ago

I had learnt in college that you don’t expect change overnight. Put yourself in Chakwetas shoes and try to ask yourself on what you could have done tangible within the same period you are talking about then you will have learnt that change is a slow process.

1 year ago
Reply to  Howard

If you vote us into govt we create 1m job, kudya katatu patsiku clear the rubble. Clearing has stated but jobs and food, give us time mpaka 2025

1 year ago

Yes agreed we need a whistle blowing policy like in Nigeria…how ever other people are attention seekers.. the speaker was right by asking chihana to bring out evidence else we shall have a bunch of jokes making all the noise out there without substance which will also hinder such a program

1 year ago
Reply to  Jk

That is why we need a protection prob. Chihana would be stupid to present the evidence. there and for nothing

Mike Bamusi
Mike Bamusi
1 year ago

Rubbish,there is no sense apart from Nsanje.People can’t still believe that they lost the election and that the head of state is now Chakwera.

1 year ago

Chakwera is all talk and no action. Ofcourse in his dreams he thought cleaning the rubble would have been easier. However it is not. One does not clean the rubble with tools provided those infesting the rubble itself. Charity begins at home and withing this short period of time it has been proven that Dr Chakwera is not up to the task. We have witnessed in the last few months that the Attorney general who is supposed to be the legal advisor to government is colluding with those who were charged by ACB. He has been seen winning and dinning… Read more »

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