Greetings our esteemed readers.
Malawi gets into 58 years of independence on 6 July 2022 a very embarrassed nation. We have seen calls for the cancellations of the Independence Day celebrations and there have been so many arguments for and against.
However, as an embarrassed nation, because of several reasons including corruption, we probably need to have the celebrations with lots of reflections. The central theme for the July, 2022 edition is therefore to reflect honestly about this embarrassment that Malawi continues to enjoy since 1964.
Our first embarrassment came when one Lu Ke was abusing our children and recording them saying ‘I am a black monster! I have a low IQ! As the drama unfolded, the man managed to sneak out of the country and obviously through our borders. In trying to discuss this issue, we were all intelligent and meanwhile Lu Ke was arrested in Zambia. We then had a situation where the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity called for a dialogue meeting. Quite embarrassed to dialogue on the ‘Abuse of the children’ which was followed by demonstrations.
We are still waiting for the results of the dialogue meeting and obviously, this was intended to politically silence or diffuse the demonstrations that were to happen the next day. Quite a strategy and we continue to be embarrassed. We will continue being embarrassed. It has to be noted that foreigners have continued to abuse our children and they are being shielded by the system in government.
While the issue of Lu Ke was being discussed, we had another embarrassment in Karonga where a Chinese national was abusing the locals. Shortly after this, we also woke up to the news that another Chinese man trafficked a total of six girls from Kasungu to Lilongwe. Is this not embarrassing enough? So, the abuse of children by foreigners can be negotiated? Well, the embarrassment continues in children and youth spheres as one young person in Blantyre is being forced by law enforcers to confess.
It is strange that someone who was nabbed at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre for trying to smuggle Indian Hemp was only fined a small amount of money or in default, spend a year in jail while this Mussa boy is given a whopping eight years Imprisonment with hard labour. We are embarrassed.
Let us get to the embarrassment of corruption. We seem to never fall short of the embarrassment in this area. We have had serious corruption scandals dubbed; cashgate, tractorgate maizegate, Nocmagate and now we have the infamous Sattargate. These are embarrassing events that all of us should be worried about. We need to reflect on the current situation.
We all take note of the Malawi president’s stance on anti-corruption. At the end of May 2022, the president promised and asked for a report from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) within 21 days after the directive. Within those days, the ACB presented the report and the first embarrassment came when the President said openly that the report was substandard. When the President said this, the feeling was, ‘should we trust the report’? This was so embarrassing not only to the ACB, but to the Malawi nation in general. If the president says the report was substandard, it erodes the confidence and trust people might have had in the operations of the ACB. We believe that there could have been a way of informing the nation about this by saying the president received the report and has referred it back to the ACB to clarify certain things. This would have kept the confidence and trust of the office of the country’s corruption busting body. What is more embarrassing is the fact that the president went ahead and used the substandard report to make some critical decisions. As Malawians we sometimes provide wrong advice to our leaders. In our view, the president’s decisions that have been made based on the purported substandard report makes all of us embarrassed. There is need to balance our emotions with facts. We should not act out of emotions because decisions that are communicated by our president are critical and we need to protect them. Again, the issue of decisions being made based on the alleged substandard report will continue haunting us.
We are embarrassed to learn that the corruption scandal has listed over 80 people including the media and even Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). However, further embarrassment is made with the ACB’s inability to disclose the names of those involved in the alleged corruption scandal. One then wonders why are the other names being kept confidential? It is quite an embarrassing situation. We cannot fight corruption if the people involved in this vice are being shielded. Are we not trying to hide some information by focusing on one group of people and not others? We need to know the names now.
As a CSO, we are embarrassed because we have been mentioned silently by saying CSO leaders or individuals but not necessarily mentioning which CSOs. As such, we are all embarrassed and we need to clear this out. As we move, we are always checking the ladder because we are not sure who has been mentioned in the report and therefore, we will remain embarrassed.
Another pick is on the fact that one man managed to corrupt over 80 respected individuals. This is embarrassingly too immense and we should be very embarrassed as a nation. We are just asking ourselves: are we not all corrupt? What has gone wrong? The president cited a weak legal framework.
We are embarrassed again because this is beyond the law, we need to reflect as a nation. What value system is in place that promotes corruption.
As we celebrate the 58 years of independence, it would be a reflective point to think through why we are continuously being embarrassed and then develop mechanisms to deal with this embarrassment.
We should not forget that on 30 July, we will be commemorating the International Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Let us all remain focused. Sadly, a lot of women and children are being trafficked every day. They are being humiliated and embarrassed in various places both within Malawi and beyond.