Mdzukulu, let me today share with you this fairy tale to make my case.
There was a prince who had some monkeys trained to dance.
Being naturally great mimics of humans’ actions, they showed themselves most apt pupils, and when arrayed in their rich clothes and masks, they danced as well as any of the courtiers.
The spectacle was often repeated with great applause, till on one occasion a courtier, bent on mischief, took from his pocket a handful of groundnuts and threw them upon the stage.
The monkeys at the sight of the groundnuts, mdzukulu, forgot their dancing and became – as indeed they were – monkeys instead of actors.
Pulling off their masks and tearing their robes, they fought with one another for the groundnuts.
The dancing spectacle, thus, came to an end amid the laughter and ridicule of the audience.
The audience concluded: “Monkeys will remain monkeys.”
And Malawi, mdzukulu, will equally remain a state in a drunken stupor: the country cannot learn from its past.
The county’s leadership is scornfully indifferent to the suffering of Malawians, yet the myriad of problems buffeting the country are gnawing at the heart and fabric of the nation and are likely to leave lasting emotional and physical scars that will prove difficult to treat and heal.
It should be pointed out in the first place that the problem with the type of leadership that has emerged in Malawi since the dawn of the new democratic dispensation is that it has been committed to democracy in rhetoric only.
In practice, it has baffled the masses by being unpredictable, unprincipled and obsessed with personal gain.
Unfortunately, there is a considerable continuum of both political leaders and the value system cutting across all the way from the United Democratic Front, through the Democratic Progressive Party to the People’s Party and back to the current DPP.
President Peter Mutharika himself is a clear representation of that continuum and it would be expecting too much that the present administration would be radical.
It has been upheld both in governance and ethics that any project of such magnitude as the Salima- Lilongwe water pumping must go thorough and transparent processes including proper tendering, feasibility study and environmental impact assessment before the contactor would even start assembling equipment.
This is the minimum standard practice in civilised political jurisdiction. But that the whole government would award and okay the one-third-of-national-budget – that is on assumption that the country will meet its revenue targets; otherwise, it could be equal to half of the budget – worth project only through some less-known forum shows how naïve Malawi has become.
Definitely, mdzukulu, how we perceive elective office and public service has everything to do with our sorry state of affairs.
We are fast – and irreversibly – becoming a society believing anything is acceptable as long as there is no explicit law against it or we are not caught in the act of commission – with our pants down!
Surely, mdzukulu, we would happily eat our own offspring if there were no laws explicitly forbidding killing even if eating our own offspring goes against our collective conscience – does not serve our collective good.
But is acting recklessly as the government is doing with the said water project – like there is no tomorrow or there are no generations coming after us – not the same as eating our own offspring?
We can recollect that back in 2010, the so-called Nsanje World Inland Port was opened by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika. But today Nsanje communities thank government for constructing what elsewhere Talking Blues calls slabs for various uses.
Malawi, mdzukulu, is too drunk to experience any real development.