Predictability fashions vulnerability. Vulnerability is the powerhouse of despotism and corruption. Clarified, it is only when an individual gains insights about the thinking mode and activities of another will that individual have most advantage over the other. And because is certain of the vulnerability of the other will that individual have the potent arsenal over the other, and will thus do as they please.
The above becomes readily understandable when applied to politics—the game of deception, derailment, and death. And it is exactly to politics that this phenomenon seems to make the most sense. Politics happens to be an area of life where a person’s values can best be tested and judged. Surprisingly, the changes in values here have almost always been from good to bad and rarely the other way round. No wonder then that heroes in society become villains in politics.
You might ask: why do heroes become villains when they join politics? The answer is predictability, simple huh!! That is true in the Western world as it is true in Malawi. In Malawi, for example, the good late Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda “talked with bows” against the “stupid federation” but later became the epitome of totalitarianism.
Ex-president Bakili Muluzi brought multiparty democracy but ruined the economy through get-but-if-caught-don’t-fingurepoint policies and politics of hand-outs. And then came the late Bingu wa Mutharika, the then modern-day Messiah, who came as a saint but later lost direction. The same trend can be seen in President Joyce Banda. So, it is not about the leaders but the predictability of the led.
Let’s accept it, Malawians are predictable when it comes to voicing out our concerns. What we know as a nation is simply bleat about few squeaks of anger and everything is back to normal.
That’s why the hype about late Bingu’s assets is a self-diffusing bomb; set and never to explode, and only losing potency for explosion with time. If one is in doubt about this, then time is the best doubt-killer; watch and observe.
Self-acclaimed social and political activists have voiced their disenchantment with the revelations about late Bingu’s assets. Empowered by the momentum of the recency of the revelation, opposition political party leaders, civil society organization leaders, the faith community, and every Fatima and Farook spoke their mind. The talk has largely centered on the time-discrepancy as it is reported that late Bingu wa Mutharika had MK150 million in 2004 and his assets are presently valued at MK61 billion.
However, one wonders the centrality of the time-discrepancy in the trending MK61 issue. To this author, and perhaps to many like-minded Malawians, the issue here should less about the time but about the system.
Given the fact that we Malawians are predictable as we are better at talking than taking action and thus vulnerable to elements of corruption, the dominant thinking should be what it is that has to be done to control leaders from corrupt practices. Indeed there have to be internal mechanisms to do that. One of such is the constitution. The constitution, however, is well known for its loopholes, and it will thus be helpful if our patriot Malawians in the legal fraternity assisted in the tightening of these loopholes.
The other alternative could be taking the issue with the courts to provide the necessary case law needed for future legal decision. And as predictably silent as we are, it is doubtful that there can emerge a personal, singly moved by national other than political interests, to take up the MK61 billion late wa Mutharika estate to courts.
Otherwise, as things are, it only takes leaders’ moral purity not to indulge in corrupt practices—something highly precarious. To this effect, we would not expect leaders to raise the moral campus and refrain from stealing from government coffers, but leaders would not do that knowing very well that the laws of the land will hunt them down. We will not expect president to call for people to probe their assets, as has done President Joyce Banda, but will do the probing themselves knowing pretty well that’s what the laws requires.
Sadly, as things are now and as are the discussions in the papers and the social sites about late Bingu wa Mutharika’s MK61 billion, nothing is set to be done on the ground. Thus, when all is said and done, there clearly will be more things said than done.