Unwritten rule that fosters corruption in #Malawi

It is now two years since Malawi was rocked by its biggest government corruption scandal in history. The systematic looting of public coffers by civil servants, private contractors and politicians saw them steal US$31 million from government coffers. It is estimated that about 35% of government funds have been stolen over the past decade. The country’s national budget for 2013-14 was about US$1.3 billion (630.5 billion Kwachas) at today’s exchange rate. But has the country learnt anything from its biggest scandal that saw donors withdraw support? The University of Malawi’s Blessings Chinsinga recently pointed out that: … efforts to root Continue reading

Malawi: Tyranny of the majority?

French political thinker, Alexis de Tocqueville, noticed that as much as democratic leadership is determined by people, ideally majority, ‘majority rule cannot be the only expression of supreme power in a democracy’. He added: “If so, … the majority would too easily tyrannise the minority. Thus, while it is clear that democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it is equally clear that it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse its power to violate the basic inalienable right of the minority.” Attainment of people’s basic rights is what has defined Malawi political history, Continue reading

Malawi: commodification of state resources is not a way out

It seems like in Malawi we have found a solution to government’s perennial failures in running public services: privatise everything. Selling ‘failing’ public entities is now an easier substitute for our government’s lack of efficiency in running and managing state assets. Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) is sold. Indebank is sold. Now we are mulling over privatising mortuaries. Those who advocated for the sale of MSB argued that governments should have no business running banks. MSB was a poster-child of this argument. There were all sorts of figures presented alongside the argument to show how MSB had ‘failed’, as if banks Continue reading