Travelling along the M1 road, casting your eyes wide on both sides of the road, you will be greeted by the sorry state of housing. Very small grass-thatched houses, some round in shape, clustered together as villages or clan dwellings, loudly preaching abject poverty of their occupants.
Get yourself to any public hospital, near or far, you will drop tears for the sorry state your eyes will feed on. No drugs. No equipment. Patients dying of treatable diseases day in, day out. Hospitals so overcrowded by patients as if the vice president is holding a political rally at Mjamba. Drag yourself to towns and cities. The filthy and smelly dumping places await your sight and breath. A public health hazard.
Have time. Visit our public schools. You will kneel down and pray to God; thanking Him for having you educated may be to the graduate, or whatever level you are. Out of the fifty schools you visit, only one will have a laboratory, good library, enough blocks, and other resources required for provision of even average education by standards. Get yourself to the rural areas and appreciate how useful some baobab, acacias and other deciduous trees can be to our education. They provide a place where our future leaders learn. Open classrooms. As for the wind, sunshine, and rain, we got used. Zikaonjeza zimenezi, class imathera pomwepo, ana kuweruka.
Penetrate deep into the rural areas. Farms that swallow their farmers in the morning and vomit them out just before sunset will surprise you. Instantly, you will appreciate the hardworking farmers, both subsistence and commercial, that this land harbors. Inculcated in them that “chuma chili mu nthaka,” day in, day out, the peasant farmers are always busy in their farms. Theirs is the hope that with the produce, one day, they will get food and a little income to sustain their substandard living. A big burden for them, of course, is the price of inputs; fertilizer, to be specific. For an average villager who survives on less than a dollar a day, MK23 000.00 should be very expensive. May be subsidized fertilizer? It’s a sham of a project. One coupon per clan of about four to five families. With low prices of farm produce on the market, loses are always guaranteed. A perennial challenge it becomes.
Save your time. Tour the sports facilities we have. You will regret having started the journey. Save for Bingu stadium which is not even well-looked after, Kamuzu Stadium will scream at you with its dilapidation. Take yourself to CIVO stadium. You will close your eyes seeing a pitch like a deserted battled ground, with goal nets torn out like an old fisherman’s net in Lake Chilwa. Visiting the districts, you will get to see “stadiums” with capacity of 500 people and with covered stands in which everyone would get wet in case of rains.
As you make these trips, observe the nature of our roads, the quality itself. You will travel thousands of kilometers to get tar. And when you get the tarred road, the surface itself is ragged out with pot holes enough to make swimming pools for under five children. For the smooth-surface tarred road you get, you will be very lucky to find one road, out of ten, with tar thickness more than that of a slice of bread.
You have had enough, already? No, you haven’t. You are yet to see more, if not the worst. Let the government advertise vacancies and invite the qualifying candidates to a walk in interview. Visit the interview centers and observe. You will be shocked at the crowds reporting. People, mainly the youth, flocking to interview centers like herds of cattle running in competition for greener pastures on the other side of an arid land. You would even mistake them with crowds of spectators at Kamuzu stadium for a Bullets-Wanderers game, the Blantyre derby. Scrambling for entrance into the interview room, they trump on each other, some losing lives in the process. That’s how bad unemployment has become in this republic.
For those employed, specifically in government, ask them how much they get. You will wish you never asked. It takes great skill of management for their salary to sustain them for a week, considering the ever-rising cost of living in this impoverished nation. And don’t, never dare, introduce the topic of taxes to them. They will grab you by the neck, drag you out to a lone place, and make you see red for reminding them of their painful wounds. With man-made poverty comes gallons of anger in the general population.
When you get home and find electricity on and water running, count yourself very lucky for that day, in fact for those few hours. It would become very interesting to learn that a country with the second largest fresh water lake on the continent and with a big river running down over rapids, falls and gorges would fail to generate enough electricity and supply running water for its population. God forgive, shameful to say, its just 18.02% of the population having access to electricity and just 10% of the rural population able to access safe and pipe water. Ngozi yaikulu kwambiri.
Against this sorry background, one would expect governments to work hard and serve their people better with all the resources at its their disposal. But reality on the ground is just the exact opposite. If you are faint-hearted and short-tempered, close your ears and eyes, for you would not want to hear and read this.
For starters, an example, there is this small issue of some party cadres supplying “samusa” at state house at a price of K43 500.00 each. Yes, you heard it right, K43 500.00 each. At that price, for the 750 samusa that was supplied, K32 million plus was realized. Hustle!
Of course, I know, you wouldn’t want to hear of people supplying 500 chicken to a government institution at K35 500.00 each, collecting K17 million plus in the process. Hustle!
Yes, you wouldn’t even believe it that while the price of fuel kept on rising daily, triggering inflation, some energy body was able to purchase one thousand golf shirts at K75 000.00 each, giving out K75 million in the process.
And then there are those men in khakhi uniforms, who authorized a business deal for their department (police) purchasing uniforms and other related items. A belt for a police officer costing K75 000.00. Everything is possible in this republic. Of course, this is not to mention of the ration deal that led to the K145 million kickback which put the powers-that-be by then in hot soup. Check the trail; you will find an Indian business man on the other end.
The scandalous page will not be complete without scribing of scrupulous purchase of one gvt bank in town. Wrapped under the package of “toxic loans,” some gurus were saved from repayment of a loan amounting to K6 billion plus, at the expense of the poor tax payer.
And then there is this small issue of gvt borrowing hundreds of billions in Kwachas in order to build 10 000 houses for our men in uniform. Two consecutive national budgets have had this line. Only for the public to learn, two years later, that less than 100 houses were built.
In the civil service, sanity disappeared, completely. While teachers complained of not getting their arrears, some party cadres were placed on to the gvt pay roll. Full employment. Their Job? Kuzipenta kululutira ndi kuvina mmisonkhano ya chipani. The climax of this civil service penetration should be those two naughty musicians who reportedly went home with millions each every month for producing music in support of the ruling political party. The bones of Ackim Kankhwara Hastings Kamuzu Banda (RIP) should be vibrating upon getting the winds of such news.
It was a marathon of thievery. People competing on who steals more. While blackouts remain the order of the day, people could steal 3 million plus liters of fuel meant for generators at the power generation and supply body. Get that again, and very right, 3 million liters. And that’s a whopping K3 billion netted, without toil. To that figure, add the thousands of liters of fuel the party cadres used to get from this parastatal as if they were its employees. Call it the fuel bonanza. Some peoples vehicles, including those of their slay queens in town, filling full tanks five times per day. Where to? Ethiopian highlands? This land has professional thieves masquerading as decent employees in these offices.
Then came Coronavirus and Covid-19. A big set back to the economy and state of living among the people. But to some, it was a great fortune. Gentlemen pocketing millions in allowances. Honorable ladies offered K2 billion business to supply sanitary buckets. As to where these were supplied, only heavens know.
These people got so relaxed so much, to such an extent that they never feared even the Head of state. They could use his TPIN number to import various goods without paying tax: vehicles, cement, fertilizers etc. It is on record that 1.2 million bags of cement worthy a whopping K5 billion was imported into the country duty free, and without the big Kahuna’s knowledge. Check the trail again, you will find some Indians within the dots, handling the other end.
And then there is this other minor issue of K7.2 billion business involving the power supply company and one so-called honorable lady in town. The lucky lady had to buy bulbs at K500 each, sell the power body the same bulbs at K4 500 each, only for the body to resell the same bulbs at same K500 to the general public. Italian job, isn’t it?
This far you should be tired of these cases, I know, but hold on. You might also be interested to hear of a bogus company that won the tender of the same power company to supply materials worthy K7.5 billion. No supply was made, as the company only exist on paper and registered nowhere on the planet earth. May be the search should have been extended to planet Mars or Jupiter, but on this earth, the company doesn’t exist. Guess who owns the company; “honorable” lady and the son, step son in fact.
One thing you will really appreciate is that the looters are never restricted to one regime, no, not at all. Each and every government that has come is responsible for the mess we are in as nation, only that some regimes looted more than others. It now becomes a competition; who harvest more than the other when leaving government? With many politicians venturing into politics for personal gratification and not national service, it is not surprising really to see people becoming instant millionaires and billionaires when they get into government.
Stories and facts are told of how some young businessmen got mad with cash gate money some seven years ago, to the extent to travelling around bars in town with K20 million statched in boots of their lavish cars. At the climax of looting marathon, they even went out to shoot each other, nearly killing each other, while competing for the tax payers’ money. Stories are also told of some step sons who could spend K20 million a day partying with friends, travelling to and from South Africa however and whenever they wanted, all at the expense of the tax payer.
Stories and facts are also told of some party cadres and public servants who have bought cars and built expensive houses for slay queens, some even disturbing marriages for some peasant servants in town. What is it in government and at state house that can make a mare aide to the big man raise K15 billion in just two years, and from nothing? What is it there that makes body guards have more than 60 lavish vehicles bought and registered in their name in just 5 years? Giving out multi-million kwacha buses and churches to some groups in society with pomp. What is it there that makes ladies staggering billionaires when they leave, and with the most expensive houses in almost each and every city? What kind of business is involved? Maybe some of us can learn and emulate the business plan too.
And then there is this small issue of “amwenye” getting entangled in almost each and every corrupt deal in government. Someone calls them “Malawians of Indian origin”. I don’t. I can’t. Do we have “Indians of Malawian origin” in India? Anyway, away from citizenship issues. The main question is ,however, why are these Indians always at the centre of controversy in this republic? And for God’s sake, why isn’t there any Indian convicted and thrown into our jail against all the scandals these people commit? How sacred are they?
It is very painful, in fact in bold and capital letters, VERY PAINFUL, to see such careless use of resources amid the rising levels of poverty, hunger, unemployment, inflation, and poor social service delivery, among others. This is unprecedented and unparallel levels of corruption, abuse of power and resources. It’s too much for the common man to swallow. And we just can’t take it anymore. We, the commoners, can’t really take it that while we have no drugs in hospitals, losing our dear ones as a result; while our children learn under the trees; while civil servants get peanut salaries; while our roads are impassable due to potholes and mud in rainy season; while the cost of living is ever rising; while our educated youth fail to get employment; while our farmers make perennial loses for their toil; while our infrastructure remains in same condition of the era of Noah of the ark in the Bible; while we experience blackouts and dry taps daily. some “vultures” have been feasting on our taxes in the “mmemo wa gulu” style behind the scenes.
Special plea to you Mr President, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and Police. These people have killed this nation, making it lose billions if not trillions in revenue, and plunging it into huge debts which the future generations are burdened to pay back. Murderers! In the event of overwhelming evidence, let these vultures be arrested, prosecuted and convicted, in line with the law. All of them. Yes, all of them. And don’t make the mistake of sparing the useless “Indians of Malawian origin.” Otherwise, we will sort them ourselves one day, Cambodia style. Whether they are or were in MCP, UDF, DPP, PP, UTM, public service, whatever their association, and no matter who they are, how big they are in society, but if they took part in the “mmemo wa misonkho yathu”, let them rot in jail. Hold on, hold it! Did we say rot in jail? No, no, no! That’s too little a punishment.
These guys have killed thousands in so many ways with their deplorable and stinking deeds. No jail. Just hung them. Yes, hung them! We repeat, hung them!!! But still, hold on. These vultures deserve a stylistic death. For the females ones, pierce their withered breasts with sharp iron holders and the hung them, pa Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountain. For the male vultures, you know what to do exactly. Castrate them! Yes, castrate them, then hung them upside down (heads down),and by the skin of their castrated balls. Asamaphweketse dziko. Castrate them plunderers!!!
Column by: PHIMBI NYOLO