The anti-corruption farce was on splendid display in Kasungu on Friday. Obligatory smiles. Routine handshakes. With fresh wounds from a nocturnal raid by the police, Martha Chizuma, the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), came out swinging with the proverbial haymakers.
Speaking in Chichewa, she did not mention names. But the people she aimed her salvos at were mostly sharing the VIP stage with her. The summary of her speech was: middle finger to you corrupt bastards who sent those goons after me on Tuesday morning, I will go after your corrupt backsides.
As the camera panned across the VIP stage you could see shifty eyes and dubious demeanours after the order of Judas the infamous Iscariot. Then came the Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo who painfully went through the motions of a dull, formal speech.
President Lazarus Chakwera said nothing new. However, his well-documented oratory can no longer hide the mask of pretence and his unwillingness to deal with corruption more robustly. He reminded us of the death of Issa Njaunju. Certainly, a dark day in the history of the ACB.
But, it is the President’s lack of spine that baffles us all. His two years in power have seen timid, if not tepid, attempts to fight corruption, largely exemplified by the emergence of a delinquent mob near, or associated with, the president. The exploits of this mob are getting longer and more daring by the day. Mismanagement of Covid-19 funds. Procurement of fertiliser, via a nondescript butchery in the United Kingdom, for the Affordable Input Programme (AIP). The long-running malfeasance at Nocma. And, more recently, the raid on the residence of the ACB czar just a kilometre away from Kamuzu Palace whose ‘chief’ did not know' what was going on.
It has been a spectacular fall for this administration. From the itsanana orgasmic euphoria to bewildered news headlines of ‘Who is in control?’, the neatly weaved speeches can no longer paper over the growing and visible cracks of unbelievable ineptness.
This administration is on course to eclipse shambolic presidencies of Joyce Banda and Peter Mutharika on the clueless-o-meter. Some fondly talk of the organisation and discipline of the first MCP administration. This current one has none of that. Instead, it has amplified the incompetence of the JB administration, and perfected the art of greed, theft and grand nepotism of the APM administration. It is painful to watch.
Lazarus Chakwera has to decide for himself where he wants his name to be in the history of this country. But the window of his redemption is inexorably about to shut. When it does, not even Jesus will resurrect him.