It is undeniable that indeed corruption has denied the people of Malawi meaningful progress. It is also sad that some donors have been pulling out their aid because of corruption. The latest donor to jilt our government is the Millennium Challenge Account(MCA). Surprisingly, sometimes the government proudly says it is happy to have run the country successfully without donor aid. Such statements are just face-saving. What they deliberately forget is that with such rampant corruption, the so-called success is imaginary.
Meanwhile, various organisations have asked President Peter Mutharika to act on corruption. On his part, he has so far been continuously saying in public that he will decisively deal with corruption. This has ended up just being a political rhetoric to hood-wick people into thinking that he is doing something to stop corruption. At the moment, the President is blaming journalists for exaggerating stories about corruption. After admitting that corruption is getting worse, he is suddenly changing that it is not as bad as it is being reported.
The President should know better that it is not as if Malawians have never seen and experienced a corrupt-free government. The Malawi Congress Party government, under Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, had no room for corruption. Unfortunately, the successive governments have not borrowed a leaf from Kamuzu; hence the unprecedented levels of corruption which have been much worse during the two DPP-led governments.
It can be said without contradiction that one of the main reasons corruption is deep-rooted in all sectors of government is that most people in positions of power believe and propagate a culture of ‘it is our turn to eat’. Therefore, they go all out, abusing their power and engaging in all manner of corruption and plundering public resources to the extent of bringing the country to its knees.
It is common knowledge that the whole idea of introducing multiparty politics in Malawi was not to give a chance to every party to form a government and abuse public resources. It is unfortunate that so far ruling parties in the multiparty era seem to have a wrong perception that winning the election gives them a green light to go-ahead with the culture of ‘it is our turn to eat’. Eating simply means converting public resources into personal fortunes.
With all due respect, the majority of the people come into power owning almost nothing of substance, after a year or so, they have cars, houses, big businesses etc, which have no correlation with their salaries. They also own bogus companies, which dubiously win lucrative government contracts which are not fulfilled, but are fully paid for. Time and again State Presidents claim that they come into power already millionaires and, therefore, it is unfair to think that they can abuse public resources to enrich themselves.
When declaring their millionaire status they forget that Malawians are watching when leaders get into power. If leaders benefit tremendously from corruption, it goes without saying that they find no reason to fight it. Instead, they are busy protecting the culture of ‘it is our turn to eat’. This is the current state of affairs in Malawi.
As stated above, the ‘it is our turn to eat culture’, has ended up destroying this country. It is time for Malawians to say no to a government which allows unproductive policies and cultures. As Malawians go to the polls next year, 2019, they should aim at electing corrupt-free individuals who can form a corrupt-free government. Failing which, Malawi will be history.