Malawian English Daily The Nyasa Times reported recently that police intercepted a cabal of the the late Bingu wa Mutharika relatives in the act of trying to ferry money and other government property out of State House. The Nyasa Times quoted undisclosed sources privy to the government as saying that “ the hard cash can be in excess of five billion kwachas. Most of that money is in the US dollars in millions.”
That a PhD holder who was regarded as one of economic gurus in the continent should hide money under bed in the 21st century is something not easy to understand. If PhD holders and urbanites behave this dastardly, how should rural farmers in Kalonga and Nsanje behave? How many similar Mutharikas are out there waiting to be unearthed?
Astonishingly, while Mutharika was sitting on such huge amounts of money, many Malawians are dying of treatable and preventable diseases that need just a diddley even a scintilla of the amount found in Mutharika’s bedroom.
Venal rulers like Mutharika are the major cause of Africa’s economic backwardness. Apart from stealing from public coffers, they are extravagant and are bent on looting and squandering.
Africa, if she wants to go forward needs to have liberal constitutions that declare and stipulate openly that presidents are not above the law.
In principle, there is no psychological difference between African rulers and the leaders of developed countries. The difference is that African mumbo jumbos are above the law and those of the latter are under the law.
Although donor countries have been shouting about democratization and development, they don’t want to advocate for accountability based on constitutions knowingly that if they do, their vested interests served by thievish rulers will be ruined. It does not make sense for donors to keep on pumping money into the treasuries of countries under thievish and extravagant rulers.
Ironically, Banda has consented to kwachas over 150,000,000 to be spent on Mutharika’s burial instead of spending the already impounded money in possession of Mutharika.
If a president of one of the poorest countries in Africa like Malawi could sleep on millions of dollars, what of those of natural-resource-rich countries such as Angola, DRC, Tanzania, South Africa, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria?
By Nkwazi Mhango.
A Canada based Tanzanian and author of Saa Ya Ukombozi.