Before we start thinking of how we can, together as a nation, find some means to bail out this country from the economic hell that it has found itself, we must first uproot the rot that haunts us: cowardice, pretence, naivety, short memory …

I grew up living in an illusory world celebrating that accident of nature made me born in the Warm Heart of Africa but time, the savage, has jerked me into the sad reality that Malawi can qualify for the accolade of the Rotten Village of Africa.

I was not an iota surprised when I read that a government vehicle, MG 617 X, was spotted somewhere in the tea village of Thyolo making some People’s Party’s errands.

I had that odd feeling of déjà vu because this has always been the trend with every party that comes into government whether by ballot, by trick or by the tomb.

What, however, made me angry is the not-so-convincing response by PP’s publicist Hophmally Makande who, I believe, feigned ignorance of the issue as well as the refusal of Thyolo District Commissioner Lawford Palani to clear the mist that surrounded the question of who gave the order.

You see what; it is such kind of behaviour by our top officials that makes me conclude rightly that we are a damned nation because the people we entrust with our public offices do not have the nerve to point out when something sinister is happening in the country.

Examples abound that one will be left wondering why we have to waste out taxes paying people who are mere rubberstamps of some political decisions from up there.

When Joyce Banda was still government’s arc enemy, one DC (you know who) literary barred the then whole Vice President from donating some items because, as he dimly said, he had received orders from above. Question is; who gave that order?

And now again we all know some chiefs and PP party aficionados are having a good time in New York, munching a cool K308 million while back home poverty and privation continue to torture us big time.

What is worrying and at the same time disturbing is that there are some well “qualified” technocrats at the Treasury who knew that the figure is so obscene considering the economic state that we are in but could not speak up for the obvious dim reason of fearing for their jobs.

It is either we have too much respect or too much cowardice that we let a certain group of people continue destroying the country right in front of our eyes.

During Malawi’s darkest hour, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was resolute to impose their draconian laws on us, almost all its Members of Parliament agreed, save for one Henry Phoya who ended up being fired from the party.

Not that the DPP legislators did not know the cruelty of the bad laws, they did. But because we have this cowardly culture entrenched in our system, we find ourselves acting against our conscience as long as we please the boss.

Just a year ago, some students wasted a whole year during the academic freedom struggle. Dons at the University Council knew what academic freedom means but because most of them are politically appointed they kept quite just for the fear of upsetting their master.

When the late Bingu wa Mutharika was on a circus of plundering the nation, his ministers continued praising him for being a visionary and dynamic leader yet it was obvious the man had lost bearing before death saved us from total damnation.

None within the party was courageous enough to tell him that his ship was cruising towards a storm.

Now that he is dead, some people, whose sense of shame died a long time ago, are all over the place saying Bingu was a bad and livid man. If he indeed was why didn’t they say it then while he was alive?

A closer look at what is happening this time you can as well agree that even Joyce Banda’s regime has those praise singers who will eventually praise her to her fall.

Her ministers and spin doctors knew it was a headless decision to blow K308 million in these hard times but surely none came forth to pump some sense in madame’s head instead they went on a refuting and correcting trail ala Ntaba arguing that K308 million is fine to blow even when people are dying of starvation.

Such kind of crooked advice, I am afraid, will, just as it did to all the Presidents before her, be her unmaking.

If you remember very well there was a time we had a vibrant civil society and a certain synod that brought us some hope when we were being juggled by the DPP government.

The moment government made a bad move you could be assured that someone is going to speak up against any bad policy. Look now, the current government has already made so many bad moves but everybody is hushed, busy munching state house muffins.

It is only when they will be booted from government that they will start noticing some mistakes by government. Everyone, it seems, leaves their brains on the gates of state house and only picks them when going out.

Whether you subscribe to my wayward thinking or not, but I believe in this country the fastest money making businesses are, apart from selling pot, owning a church and joining politics.

Sadly we have taken our rotten culture of pretence and naivety into the church where we are being milked by some end-days fake prophets who are really making a killing out of our offerings. These emphasise on prosperity and finding good marriages while pushing the issue of salvation to the peripheral.

Just as in the church we have allowed our politicians to continuously steal our money and because we have unwanted meekness, we just look helplessly and even clap hands for them when they go about changing parties to where the purse is.

Sometimes it appears like all of us have the memory of a gold fish. If you have lived since 1994 you will agree with me that those people who wrecked this nation are back in town. We clapped hands for them when in UDF, then sang for them in DPP now we are dancing for them in the PP. Things really will never change.

If we are to change we must start with abandoning this rotten culture.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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