Same **** different players

So the cowboys have finally taken to the dock. After that fateful night in April plotting to effectively hijack the presidency, an unconstitutional coup that was only prevented by the combination of the fury of discerning Malawians, and the true patriotic knight that is General Odillo – a man every Malawian should be thankful to – the midnight six are now facing charges of treason.

But putting aside the case itself, what I’ve never been able to comprehend is this: While this case is ongoing, why are DPP supporters still betting on Peter Mutharika for leadership? Is DPP’s part of Malawi really that short of people, and leadership, such that they continue to fawn at a man who flew the dead and rotting body of his brother to South Africa, and count on him as a presidential candidate?

NewsTo be frank, as a Malawian, I really wouldn’t want to be associated with a country whose president has such a dodgy and inhumane history. Not in a 21st century post dictatorship democracy.

When Bingu was a president, I supported him. I’ve never believed in the backward, cheap and regionalistic politics of only supporting people from your village or region because such is what causes underdevelopment in Malawi, since people vote for incapable candidates because they are ‘Mwana wakwithu’. Mwana wa Mayi…its absurd, and Malawians must move away from this type of thinking to a logical position where they vote for competency, not along tribal or regional lines.

Anyway, despite being a northerner, I supported Bingu, after he began DPP, because he represented a fundamental shift from the cheap, corrupt and brutish voter-rigging, empty rampaging charade of acheya’s UDF. Having said that , my family didn’t like Bingu  because they didn’t know him and thought he would turn out to be just like the others before him, making promises he wouldn’t be able to fulfill. They had their reasons.

But Bingu did well in his first term of office. He began to actively target corruption (see this brilliant tribute by Yves Kalala), and indicated an interest to spark economic development and improve education and research. Despite the high expense, the FISP programme proved a success, and from around 2006 created a huge surplus (1.3 million Metric tonnes) for Malawi, increasing food availability and transforming Malawi into a grain exporter. Malawian harvests became a global model. Bingu began promoting gender equality and had several female politicians hold high political office – including Joyce Banda. Bingu made a stand against some western policies, which at times have been selfish and not exactly in the best interest of poor Malawians.

But when his second term came, after a 66% majority, and the whole Mulhako Wa ALhomwe thing (which to me is a divisive initiative a sitting president shouldnt involve himself too much in); add  Mulli and Mota Engil to that and I found myself doubting where the man was going.  I couldn’t support a figure who was increasingly becoming divisive.

There were some things I still believe Bingu was right about, even towards the very end. The issue about currency devaluation was a hotly debated topic, and even experts disagreed on whether devaluation was the best course for Malawi to take, considering its circumstances. Then there was the story about energy generation – to buy from Mozambique (and be  a recipient of electricity which you didn’t control, while the Mozambicans made money off your head – kutidyela masuku pamutu) or for Malawi to generate its own energy(he chose the latter – and he was absolutely right)

What he was wrong about was becoming a divisive figure, the attacks on civil liberties and CSO’s, including the question marks over the death of Robert Chasowa. The intolerance  and heavy-handedness that led on July 20, 2011, to the death of 19 demonstrators. The blind eye paid to corruption that saw millions of dollars looted. The close links with Mota-Engil and Mulli – companies which under Mutharika’s leadership won many substantial contracts. All this isolated many well-meaning Malawians who had initially supported Mutharika, when he fell out with UDF. Bingu’s own indiscretion blurred his reputation even more.

Today, we have a different problem in Malawi that is somewhat linked to the problems of those days. When Bingu ignored the advice he received regarding the IFMIS, he either did so knowingly, or he did so because he was trying to appease some people within his circles. Whatever his intention, he was wrong not to address the issue, which today we are told is in fact responsible for the looting of millions of dollars, this time under Joyce Banda’s government.

The plot is intoxicating and the revelations keep pouring in. Yesterday another version or appendage to the story sprang up. Here, I would call upon the auditors looking into the cashgate scandal to take note of what Mphwiyo’s wife is alleged to have said. After all, wives generally do get to know a lot of their husbands’ dealings:

What Ralph Kasambara knows and the reason he wants JB [Joyce Banda]. Mpinganjira,Cecilia Kumpukwe to be his witnesses [ in his court case] is that Lutepo withdrew K4 billion with the help of Chuka and together with Cecilia deposited the money into the Joyce Banda foundation accounts.

Ralph’s role was to explain to Chuka the legal implications of disobeying the president if he was going to say no and consult regulatory bodies. Zonsezi zimachitika [All this was happening] the same week Mphwiyo was shot.

Nde Now aMphwiyo asked Ralph for his cut since he had to be made aware of the transaction and Ralph refused to comment citing presidential confidentiality agreement.

Mukumva? [Are you listening]

thats when they labeled him a liability and had to be eliminated.This is according to Mphwiyos wife… Who also mentioned Manganaue Mphande to be one of many people who visited him in an SA hospital…nkhaniyi ndiyayitali [this story is long]….

a few days ago, someone else said:

Mr. Lutepo had a joint contract with Roy Kachale, to supply transformers to ESCOM. They were supposed to be paid K1,356,000,000.00 (K1.3Billion). Transformers were delivered on 13th September, 2013. Allegedly, award of this contract flouted some procedures and ACB was supposed to interrogate officers at ESCOM headquarters on Monday, 21st October, 2013 after a tip-off from ESCOM employees. Those doubting this information can cross check with MRA, where Mr. Lutepo cleared four 40 feet containers of ESCOM Transformers. AMALAWI TSEGULANI MASO! (Malawians open your eyes!)

And it gets worse, with another group here speculating that they may have been responsible for burning down Escom house???

Who do you believe in a country where some opposition journalists live in fear, or are under intimidation, so cannot do their job properly!

Hopefully, time will tell what is true or what of everything I’ve written regarding this scandal is infact mere speculation. At that point count me in as one deceived by liars!

Time will tell where Malawian politics goes from here, however, knowing how  things have worked in the past, we may never know the full story…we may never know the whole truth. Especially with shady PR organisations being hired (see here) at a cost of millions of tax payers kwachas (at a time when there are no medicines in hospitals, and thousands of teachers have not been paid) to paint false reputations, how should anyone be able to distinguish fact from fiction, or indeed put their leaders to task?

teachers

My message to anyone outside Malawi who truly wants to  know what is going on in Malawi is this: –

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, PLEASE GO THERE, AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!

DON’T TRUST ANYONE, CERTAINLY NOT THE MEDIA AGENCIES ACROSS THE WORLD OR IN MALAWI – there are strong indications of a conspiracy going on. Mercenaries with devious intentions are about, pulling strings.

DON’T TRUST ANY NEWS AGENCY-SOME OF THE VOCAL ONES (INCLUDING ONLINE PORTALS) HAVE ‘SOLD OUT’ AND ARE ON THE PAYROLL OF POLITICIANS, OR HAVE AGENDAS.

DON’T EVEN TRUST THIS BLOG! PLEASE DON’T.

GO INTO THE HOSPITALS, THE VILLAGES AND THE SCHOOLS, GO AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MALAWI TO KNOW THE TRUTH

HEAR IT FROM THE PEOPLE, AWAY FROM PR GURUS ON POLITICIANS’ / GOVERNMENT PAYROLL, AWAY FROM COMMENTATORS,  PARTY SUPPORTERS OR SPIN DOCTORS WITH QUESTIONABLE AGENDAS

Fighting the waters : Diversion tactics and PR stunts

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Besides the revelations of corruption that have been levied against the government of Malawi, to me serious questions of doubt began after the reshuffle,  which retained many shady characters. At first I was willing to give Joyce Banda the benefit of the doubt, until in addition to everything that was flying around in the media (partly chronicled here), I read this report and saw this email.

Then I heard news of the 10% profiteering middlemen, people working for the government, or with links to the presidency who were demanding 10% in kickbacks or ‘commission’ for deals or transactions with the government, in which these people made themselves involved.

Among such shameless characters was one woman who frustrated a well-meaning philanthropist from donating desks to Malawi. In this deal, this lady who is very close to the presidency blocked a philanthropist, who wanted to donate ~100, 000 desks to Malawian schools. The lady – who is well-known and works at State House, and who you would think is remunerated by the Malawian government – demanded that she be personally paid commission totalling £100,000 for facilitating the desk donation deal (her job, i understand was to ensure that no tax or other charges were levied – except payment to her)?? As you can imagine, this suggestion infuriated the philanthropist beyond measure, he was shocked and disgusted by the very idea that desks meant for the children of Malawi, given for free to the children of Malawi, desks for which the philanthropist in his generosity would have to pay the cost of purchase, shipping and delivery, to a tune of over £300,000, should then be subject to an additional cost, a £100,000 ‘commission’ to be paid to someone whose job it already was to facilitate projects in the interests of Malawi…?? An already wealthy woman who was attempting to profiteer at the expense of poor Malawian children??

Sadly you don’t hear of these kinds of things in the news….even the person who told me this said the philanthropist, although upset, was afraid and didn’t want the public to know of his ordeal as he still has some interests and links on the ground in Malawi which he doesn’t want to be jeopardized by ‘political forces’…?? the kind of thing, he said, that happened to Madonna, which the public were fooled into believing Madonna was the one in the wrong, when in actual sense part of the story was that there had been a commission heist – and when Madge refused to pay up, she was accused, verbally assaulted, ganged upon by the said ‘political forces’.

In the case of the philanthropist, the desks deal didn’t go through, and the desks were never shipped… and of course the children who would have benefitted from them never got to receive them.

So, then you read that the Government of Malawi has hired a PR firm in London to clean up its image who straight away begin to point fingers to the previous regime? Playing the blame game? At such a critical time? When under your watch, rampant corruption has just been uncovered? Can Malawi, in its current state afford the PR agency? Is Joyce Banda using her own Money, or the money of the government to pay for Bell Pottinger?

When people are complaining of lack of medicines in hospitals, strikes and demonstrations because of the plunder at Capital Hill, fuel shortages and rise in prices of goods are on their way because of the withdrawal of aid, when there is a rise in child marriages revealing lack of opportunities and deprivation in Malawian society, when the country is littered with many problems, how is it justifiable to spend money you don’t have on what is effectively a PR stunt?

How much is this costing Malawi? Why not hire a Malawian PR company, and pay comparatively less? It’s such a shame. Joyce Banda’s government has hopped from one disastrous decision to the next… (see another here)

Personally, I don’t believe that Joyce Banda was unaware of the plunder that was happening at the time when she served as a minister then vice President in Bingu Wa Mutharika’s government, and in the articles above, I have clearly explained how and why I arrived at such a conclusion.

If Joyce Banda was serious about fixing Malawi’s troubles, she would have bought the medicines which are lacking in the hospitals on the ground, paid the teachers whose salaries have not been paid for 3 months, she would have ordered fuel reserves to last the country at least 2 years if the worst were to happen again, she would have spent resources on a big sustainable project that will reduce Malawian imports, a project that would create thousands of jobs, and generate substantial forex revenues. She would have pressed the Mozambican government over the Nsanje port issue – so that ships begin to enter via that route – an act that would again in itself stabilise or reduce the cost of goods coming into Malawi; Joyce Banda would have created a massive solar project for Malawi to generate its own electricity… and finally  she would have instructed independent auditors with neither links, no sympathies to the presidency, to get to the bottom of the Cashgate crisis.

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