The ending year will mostly be remembered by scandals and revelations of the extent of plunder and looting of public resources under the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera. To many Malawians, it ends as a hard year economically and a year in that many lost trust in their rulers.
Inflation went over the roof, foreign exchange cover is at its lowest and the Malawi Energy Regulatory (MERA) delivered empty fuel stations and blackouts, while Police were all out in fundraising ventures skinning motorists already squished by the economic downturn.
The cost of living went high and the kwacha devalued, sending millions into poverty, according to the new data. Malawi is at the blink of collapse and the IMF said it could no longer absorb any loans, technically meaning no new money could make a difference.
President Lazarus Chakwera appeared clueless, and inept and openly acknowledged he didn’t know most of the things happening, sending Malawians including Catholic Bishops to ask “who is in charge” as the country is in a state of chaos.
Chaos are so deep, that 14 trucks loaded with maize disappeared into the thin air and nobody has been brought to account, with the Transporter Smollet Kachere demanding to be paid his balance of K113 million and openly telling Malawians the 38,000 tons of maize claimed to be at Admarc had disappeared like the biblical Elijah’s chariot of fire. Again, the President, his Cabinet, and the entire machinery did not see the need to explain to Malawians.
Instead, they closed ADMARC to hide their thievery.
As looting at ADMARC was taking place, the Ministry of Agriculture was flying all over the world in search of fertilisers. They spent K100 million to look for fertiliser in a world where phone calls, emails and even virtual conferences could have facilitated meetings.
The Ministry of Agriculture was searching for a cut in the deal, not fertiliser. US$23 million (K30 billion) was applied for and approved at Eco Bank and US$750,000 ended up with a butchery Bakaat because it had promised a 15% cut to the officials.
The Investigator Magazine’s second edition this January will publish full details of the corruption surrounding fertiliser procurement.
The fertiliser deal was not enough, the Malawi Gaming Board also had lots of unexplained expenditures while contracts for the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) shared contracts to those in the MCP and UTM.
Scandal-laden National Oil Company did not want to miss out. Its former acting CEO Helen Buluma went to town again, exposing the shady deals Secretary to the President and Cabinet Colleen Zamba, her associate Eva Kamwangala and an unknown Nigerian called “Chief” wanted to get fuel contracts through the back door. President Chakwera has opted to close his ears as if Malawians did not hear what Buluma said. The OPC seems to have become a conduit of corrupt deals.
The OPC cancelled results at the Malawi Bureau of Standards and fired the Board after its preferred MCP stooge failed to make it, the OPC was at the centre of Covid-19 funds looting, the OPC harassed into resignation MERA Board Chair Leonard Chikadya, the OPC this and that all bordering on corruption. The OPC has refused to be accountable to Malawians by refusing to appear before parliament.
The crown of the year in scandals was the Zuneth Sattar which exposed the hypocrisy of the President who twice at the start of the year was at the neck of the ACB director Martha Chizuma, but still managed to “suspend” his Vice Saulos Chilima, but attempted to get rid of Chizuma to block the potential arrest of MCP officials.
The 2022 political year will remain the Year of Scandals and shortages of essential services