The plunder of Malawi

By Emily Mkamanga

It is a fact that the majority of Malawians had wanted change in leadership.  The main driving force was the abject poverty and even more so when they realised that former president Peter Mutharika had no ready solution to get rid of poverty since he had no clue about what and how to do it.  Lastly, he seemed not to know where he was leading the country to.  This is the reason why Mutharika resorted to talking about changing Malawi to a Singapore or USA.  He knew it was impossible to do this but he deliberately wanted people to waste their time in thinking about what Singapore would be like.

The idea of changing a government and most likely a leadership is good.  It exposes the weakness and the malpractices which in case of Malawi brought the country to its knees.  It is public knowledge that people used to talk so much behind the scenes about the plunder in Mutharika’s government.  Officials close to the president were seen getting richer from undisclosed source of money.  It is only now that the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera and his vice-president Dr Saulos Chilima that the plunder is being exposed.  So far, some unprecedented levels of plunder have been exposed to the extent that with such plunder it was naïve to expect Mutharika to reduce poverty.  Imagine right now the country is littered with vehicles which were dubiously acquired and probably from government by using public money.  They are being abandoned by people who have gotten wind from Chakwera leadership that if found with such stolen vehicles the law will take its course

Currently, the mother of all power abuse has been exposed and that is president Mutharika is alleged to have imported 1 200 000 bags of cement for an Asian businessperson.  By doing this he should have known better that he was denying Malawians the much needed forex.  The other thing is that he was preaching “first buy Malawian” and yet he did not want to promote homemade cement.  As a leader, he was supposed to be exemplary and he failed.  After failing to be exemplary, naturally the people close to him followed suit to plunder the country while expecting no one to point an accusing finger at them.  In fact, president Mutharika seemed to have been surrounded by untouchables.

Honestly speaking, the alleged plunder by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government had never been seen before in the country.  Imagine while civil servants are crying for promotion and many more people cannot be employed in the civil service because of lack of money, it is alleged DPP cadets, some hand clappers, dancers and musicians were on civil servant pay roll.  It is so disheartening to know that their salaries were higher than that of university graduates and yet these people could hardly write. 

This was very demeaning to the educated people.  It is a common knowledge that the government had ghost workers on their payroll and this is why the problem was never sorted out.  It cannot be said enough that running a party in power using taxpayers’ money is totally unacceptable.

During plunder in Mutharika’s government people could build mansions and buy a lot of expensive cars and other things on the assumption that Malawians were blind to this.

Let Chakwera’s government bring to book all the people suspected to have taken part in plundering the nation and above all let them pay back.  Never again in this country should a leader be at the fore front of plunders

(Original article appeared in Malawi Nation)