On cowboyism, austerity, recovery
Again, you have seen the rot that has come from the Capital this week. It can simply be summarised as follows: ‘The same old story, but with different actors’. Or, one which can be described as the same script with different cowboys.
Allow me, Mbwiiye, to digress a bit on the cowboy aspect. You surely, as a kid, watched the Western cowboy movies, whose theme was basically ‘going West and/or conquering the natives.’ You will recall, good Mbwiiye, that these films were common and popular in the 50s, 60s and early 70s.
They normally depicted a set of rustic cowboys and, true to their name, were herding cattle and protecting the same from neighbouring rustlers. So, time and again, the fellows would engage in skirmishes or full-scale bloody clashes whose main weapon was the gun. Hence, shootings and injuries were common.
At times, the cowboys would engage in organised shootouts between their best marksmen, and whoever won was ‘the boss’ to be respected across the valleys, mountains and prairies. In fact, as part of the cowboy trophy system, the winner would be given one of the most beautiful ‘pins’ (maidens) around—for his happiness ever after.
Also note that during the clashes, the injured cowboys would be rescued by colleagues, put on horseback and quickly or jointly hurried away for some crude treatment. It did not matter whether the injured were rustlers of not. The idea was ‘to take your man to safety first’.
Mbwiiye, this is the picture one got from the Capital Assembly this week: Rescuing ‘a cowboy’ from some opposition or independent sharks, who were ready to dissect the man into pieces following a fiscal scandal he claimed he had no idea of despite being the head of the pack at a concerned ministry.
Of course, the man may be innocent of the charges raised against him. After all, these days some employees are crafty and know how to ‘machinate’ things; to the effect that some bosses are kept in the dark while rot is taking place under their own noses.
That, Mbwiiye, we can’t rule out. But not to know? Not to know what is supposed to be your daily duties, dynamics and tasks? No, I think we have been treated to cowboyism here. In our language, we say tadyekanapo zosayenera apa (we have fed one another with rot).
As I have kept saying to you all along, when we return to power in 2014, we will not allow such malpractices. We will also not repeat the mistake of hiring Cabinet ministers who have no clue about what is happening in their offices and spheres of influence.
That type of hiring, apart from breeding operational, policy and leadership mayhem, also makes the fellows look like ‘official cartoons’ who have no idea of where they are coming from , where they are going and where they are taking this great country .
That, Mbwiiye, is national disaster.
It also defies all dictates of leadership and statesmanship, ending in a country led by ‘political cartoons.’ If I am lying, Mbwiiye, be the first man to cast your stone at me.
From the Capital also came the story of the ‘austerity and recovery’ budget. Budget figures were moved around. Some key projects such as the maintenance and/or construction of new/dilapidated roads have been put on hold as the economy arguably goes into a recovery ICU.
Ideally, we in opposition don’t have issues with that vision and action. As a country, we need to recover and take our rightful place among SADC countries that are on a fast development path.
Mbwiiye, it is always embarrassing to note that while our neighbours such as Mozambique, Tanzania or Zambia are busy advancing and rebuilding, our Republic continues wallowing in stagnation and poverty.
Nothing seems to move on our part. Hospitals, government offices, rural as well as urban roads all remain in shambles. Public service, notably at key delivery points such as the Road Traffic Directorate, the police or Immigration all seem to operate with strain, debilitating inefficiency and corruption.
Mbwiiye, people are being fired en masse at the few remaining wobbling factories in the country. Some of the big ones, that the real Ngwazi left, long closed and are looking like ghost towns. If you don’t believe me, go and see how the Makata Industrial Site in Blantyre looks today, and compare that with the beehive activity that used to characterise the area during the original Ngwazi’s days.
You see, Mbwiiye, sometimes this country looks like the one that was at civil war for a long time, not Angola or Mozambique—where the folks have picked up their pieces and are busy enjoying the exuberance of investment, wealth generation, real reconstruction and social advancement.
Mbwiiye, I hate to say this again. Our leaders seem contented with seeking better perks all the time, covering one another in their mediocrity and plundering State resources through, for example, very dubious public sector contracts.
And, on several occasions, I have heard ordinary folks comment that we people indulge in wrong things in life—kuba (fraud and theft), uhule (‘sexionomics’) and showing off, while our neighbours are busy with things that matter in their lives and their country.
Mbwiiye, are you, therefore, surprised that even some petty foreigners have capitalised on this situation to flood our rural areas, doing petty business while we, the owners of the land, are preoccupied with pettiness?
My point is: What ‘austerity and recovery’ are we talking about when nothing is moving and the ‘top dogs’ have not changed their lifestyles? How, for example, can a Cabinet cohort maintain a 2 500 litres of fuel perk per month as if he/she were a Coca-Cola CEO?
Mbwiiye, think of these things.
I am still writing you for and on behalf of the late Moya original.
The late Rt.Hon.K.L.Mphwanye,
OSP, OLM, OCK, OLT
Achiever of MDGs, Professor of Government
Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa), Western Pacific