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THE so-called Capital Hill cashgate scandal might not have reached – as yet – the magnitude of the financial disaster that occurred on Wall Street, leading to the global financial crisis. However, by our own standards as a nation – and we have very low standards – this is a massively big occurrence.

Apart from the ‘breaking’ stories of what latest arrest has been made, an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) press statement and so on, the earth in Malawi is not exactly moving, is it? Quite clearly, Malawians are excited about this latest scandal and this has been sufficient fodder for discussions in minibuses, pubs and even churches. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are in near explosion.

In the doom and gloom of this latest scandal, which is national problem to deal with, there are several opportunities for how Malawi can be made to function better and serve the interests of the people as it is wont to do. I say this is a national problem because its not a PP, DPP, UDF or even MCP thing. Recent attempts to pin the financial scandal on specific political parties that have been in power crucially misses the point, masks the depth of the scandal and prevents tangible reforms from taking place.

Understandably, there will be people who wish to score political mileage out of this whole scandal. That is expected but it is very unfortunate, given the fact that most of the politicians currently occupying positions of power in the present government have been part of previous regimes, which are probably complicit in this scandal as well. Malawians must not lose sight of this fact.

Hence, it is important that the public protects itself from being misled by officialdom. The media in Malawi are the ones that are most likely to become complicit – wittingly or unwittingly – in the conveyance of such officialdom, regurgitating press statements and only relying on government officials for comment and sometimes analysis. We all know how underfunded investigative journalism is in our country’s newsrooms.

Finally, the demand for reforms in the public sector should be underpinned by the introduction of a new value system, a system that inspires integrity, honesty and great love for Malawi. If we entrust people who actually love Malawi more than themselves and their pockets to run this country, we will be headed for somewhere great.

To get to this point, however, we will need to redefine ourselves as a nation. Who are we? What are our individual responsibilities towards the country?

“And part of that redefining,” a friend wrote on Facebook recently, “will need to include an acknowledgement of the responsibilities of those of us who have benefited from communal resources to go to school and to learn these new forms of governance. That privilege hasn’t been extended to our brothers and sisters in the unschooled classes. And, we have told them that traditional knowledge is forbidden; we are going with the new, imported systems. We have, in effect, arrested the development of indigenous knowledge. We can’t shun our responsibility now. We have to blame ourselves, not the multitudes deprived of this alienating knowledge.”

Malawi must live!

Contribution by @LeviKabwato

– thoughts@thinkingmalawi.com

@ThinkingMalawi

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