Bingu wa Mutharika's home boys let him down very badly
When many complained that all the plumb jobs were going to the former president's neighbourhood, some of us were naïve and conveniently ignored it as empty talk. Some took it but with a pinch of salt giving it a benefit of a doubt and argued that this was perhaps a coincidence.
After all, you do not want a well qualified and experienced Malawian to be denied an employment opportunity on account of coming from the same corner of a country as a sitting president as if they could choose whether to come from the same area with the president or not.
Today the Malawi economy is struggling and guess under whose watch this mess was created? The Minister of Finance, the Secretary to the Treasury, the Commissioner General of the revenue collection body, the Central Bank Governor and God knows who else, I am told all hailed from the same belt as the late president. That was an overkill.
Today as some of them are relieved of their duties while there are calls for the rest to honourably resign, it begins to look like witch hunting or that they are being targeted. I can understand if someone was to loudly complain, I am sure some are silently complaining, that they are being victimized for belonging to the same tribe as the former president. Not so dear countrymen. You know who the real victim is? It is the Malawi people. They got a raw deal.
The old man probably meant well. He assembled a team which if they couldn't understand his instructions in the Queen's language, not to suggest that any of them were challenged in that department, they could even seek clarification in their mother tongue. That way, there could not be any excuse for not understanding an instruction and therefore none for botching up.
But more seriously, the oldman must have reasoned that his home boys would find it in their hearts to want to support him so that he did not fail. But alas, little did the old man know that they occupied those seats to fulfill personal and selfish agendas.
A number of revelations being made now confirm that those who felt that these homeboys would repay the oldman with devotion and dedication for granting them those important positions, were wrong. You think I am exaggerating?
Try this, four Toyota land cruiser VXs, some actually say they were custom made (how would I know if they were or not?), were procured not following any procurement procedures and without getting approvals from government because perhaps they felt they were government itself. Your guess is as good as mine who was driving them. Millions went into the purchase of those toys simply to massage their oversize egos. Now they are being asked to go home and leave those luxury cars behind.
They gave each other lucrative contracts. Check for yourselves who was moving fertilizer, who was moving the scarce petroleum products. Who was doing landscaping? Who was doing decorations? Check if procurement procedures were being followed. It was all home boys stuff. These are the guys that blew away the opportunity to show their kinsman what they could do. They wasted his trust. He was better off working with strangers. I make no apologies if this is sounding out of turn.
When some people say the former president failed, I say no, he did not. His ungrateful home boys failed him. They let down the old man badly. Very badly. I suppose that Bingu might have thought that it was important that he put people who he could trust in all those strategic positions. He must have assumed that they will understand how important it was to work their socks off to repay his trust by success. But those mulhakho boys and girls had other ideas. They thought they were in government to dance tchopa.
Today we count their era not in terms of what they accomplished but rather in terms of the number of failed policies and the casualties left in the wake of the sweeping changes by the new administration.
You will recall that at the height of the tussle with tobacco buyers who were giving farmers a pittance, Bingu wa Mutharika declared war on them and dared them into the ring.
"It is a war. But just like in any war, there are casualties. There will be casualties on their side and there will be casualties on my side. In the end we will see who will win," he was quoted as having said before deporting some of the buyers. You just knew there would be one winner.
That was then and this is now. There is a new undeclared war in town. President Joyce Banda is busy replacing some of the faces that served the Bingu administration and the casualties are many.
It is not clear if the people being replaced did something wrong or whether they were deemed to be too blue for comfort or it is just a matter of making a statement that things have changed and it is no longer business as usual.
It is also not clear whether this is perhaps what others are calling "office cleansing" of people that came from the same area with the president. Whatever the explanation and the justification, there is blood all over the floor and the casualties on the previous government side are many.
I hope we have got the procedures of removing these people right because if we haven't the Malawian tax payer will lose more. If the truth be told, Malawians were not served well by this lot. But as if that is not enough, they will be made to pay through their nose to the same people that failed to serve them well if they drag government to court and win. Can you imagine that?
And what about the new blue eyed boys and girls of the current administration. How for example are they being selected? Do they also come from a certain section of the country?
Most of them look capable people but I have no doubt that if we had a change of government tomorrow, there would also be among the casualties because of the manner in which our authorities like to appoint public officers. Somehow otherwise qualified people are being hand-picked for jobs, giving the impression that ordinarily they could not have gotten such a job and the current administration is doing them a favour.
The cycle goes on and on. One government comes, hires a team and the next one comes to fire it and hire its own. Those fired if they are lucky could end up on the line up of the next government. Up and down like a yoyo goes the future of those that have put their careers at the mercy of political whims. Will this circus ever end? What do you think?