Avarice Replaces Colonialism in Malawi!!!
We are now a nation wedded to ostentatious display and obsessed with stealing public resources
(The Author:Winston Mwale)
The landmark presidential elections case came and went, leaving the losers licking their wounds and winners to explore the flexibility of their budgets.
We, the people, can now only contemplate anew the relevance of the French proverb that so wisely observes “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
So, as we prepare for the long haul to the next election, here are two random snapshots of Malawian life that caught my eye recently.
Snapshot One: Massive plunder of public resources continued like we had no measures to arrest this vice, after the infamous Cashgate. The media is awash with reports of this diabolic practice having gotten cancerous every day.
Can you imagine we still have these “gates”,( cement-gate, land-gate) with syndicates pulling off millions from state coffers? I find it hard to imagine such greed and callousness but, sadly, the practice is becoming a Malawian trait.
What I see escalating in the country is avarice. We are now a nation wedded to ostentatious display and obsessed with stealing public resources.
We have become as cruel, heedless and uncaring as the colonialists we fought against and replaced.
The poor are getting poorer: If you don’t have wealth, you don’t count. Small wonder that people are now willing to get their hands on public resources….selling hospital supplies, drugs, political favours, tractors, public land, even people to slave trade, simply to make money.
Which brings me to my next snapshot.
Snapshot Two: Recently, I was in one of the country's lakeshore districts. In Mangochi to be precise. Back then we had rows of beachside houses from where owners could sit and watch the lake roll in.
But when I visited the lake a few weeks ago, it dawned on me the disappearance of all that…those lakeside houses belonging to the locals have been swallowed up by lodges and guesthouses.
The lake is still there but now where the houses used to be stand ghastly rows of lodges and guest houses, with “harsh” prices that make the locals panic.
Now the locals have been pushed away….and the rich are inflating the prices to access the lake, driving ordinary people away from the most beautiful locations along the lake.
I think it’s sad when a nation that fought so hard to win freedom and equality back then slips so glibly into a chilly division between the haves and the have-nots---or to put it more crudely, the have-nots and won’t-shares.
Avarice has truly replaced colonialism as the dividing line between the haves and the have-nots.