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IT’S NOW TIME FOR LAMENTATIONS

EDITOR’S CHOICE

By Cyrus Bengo

The latest report of Transparency Internationaly Global corruption Perception Index, ranks Malawi 110 out of 180 countries , which Dr Lazarus Chakwera said is worrying . A week in Malawi does not pass without new revelation about embezzlement of public funds , corruption of public procurement contracts of goods and services.

The attention of Dr Lazarus was drawn to the fact that he was the only one most suitable to help Malawians to tackle all those who have embezzled public funds, in order to retrieve those large sums of money now in private pockets to reinvest them into the economy.

That since he was the only one with very clean track records attested to by all those who know him intimately (at least as at the time he assumed power), he was in a better position to lead such an internal bloodless revolution.

Malawi is enmeshed in very deep and seemingly intractable corruption, such that no single leader may be able to dismantle it. But going by common experience with Malawians, it’s certain that what perpetrators of graft need before they will exercise restraint is for just a few of them to be made scapegoats.

But in a situation where people perpetrate all manners of illegalities and get away with them, their boundaries are bound to keep expanding. The miscreants now littering everywhere are another example.

If they learn that the government is picking them up, they will all vanish into the thin air within a matter of days. Ditto for all the thieves in the ministries and parastatals. Arrest, prosecute properly, jail some of them and watch what happens next.

Impunities have continued to thrive in leaps and bounds in Malawi because of the absence of a leader with the strong willpower to make a difference. It might appear as if those in positions of authority don’t know how to tackle corruption as suggested above but the truth is that they do.

It’s only that they are being held down by their conscience. Since they are quite aware that they themselves are not clean, they therefore decide to leave everybody to survive whichever way he or she chooses, whether legal or otherwise.

It’s for the same reason the presidents always refuse to sign the death warrant of convicted murderers, not minding that their refusal is causing a major congestion of the prisons and also giving more and more criminals the audacity to commit more of such crime, so much so that murder cases are now on the increase.

The president, in whom most people reposed so much confidence, simply assumed power and focus more attention on him and his men. That was probably because even though personally he knew that he had a very clean record to confront all those who had stolen the nation’s money, he also realised that all those who brought him to power are also culpably neck-deep in corruption, and since there was no way he could tackle some and leave some, he had no option than to shelve his war on corruption, borrow money from wherever he could and go ahead with the issue of governance.

Unknown to him, nothing can be achieved in an atmosphere of corruption and so all those he relied on to help execute his programmes and projects obviously kept helping themselves with a large chunk of the funds meant for projects.

That’s why the belief is strong in some quarters that President Dr Lazarus ought not to have forced himself into the Malawi project and should have simply maintained his very clean records.

In any case, his involvement in politics has obviously served him in a very good stead and there’s no regrets since he’s now in a better shape and position than he ever could have been if not for the opportunity given him to serve.

Now, at the twilight of his tenure, all he has for Malawians is first of all to praise himself for having fulfilled all his promises to the nation and in another breath, lament about the pervasiveness of corruption in the country.

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