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AFTER ALL IS DEBATED, BUDGET PASSED, AUGUST HOUSE ADJOURNED SINE DIE, IS IT A DOG EAT DOG MALAWI?

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““Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein.

After a gruelling 9 weeks, the house adjourns sine die. The Malawi Nation has been exposed to the most exciting house of all times both positively and negatively. However, on the whole, we can be proud to say it was a job well by the trio of Speakers of the house and members thereof especially Opposition for not just being another number but a force to reckon with.

The highlights though the passing of budget was the main one, have been two (am tempted to say controversial) issues. One is to do with the much awaited cashgate K92 billion forensic report by PriceWaterCoopers which was to cover the period of 2009 to April 2012. What appeared as a motion on order paper on the same turned out to be a data analysis of K577 billion after all, covering a period up to 2014. This clearly, ignores the Baker Tilly Report done by our British learned colleagues for the period of April 2013 to September 2013.

The question that comes to mind is – Is it really TORs gone wrong or some foul play at play? That is the big question that still lingers in people’s minds to this day. Fast forward, another motion appears on order paper on Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and the recommendation is made that the bank be recapitalised. Mind you, this is after the State President Professor Peter Mutharika had announced two weeks or so earlier that the sale is suspended to allow for vigorous consultations.

One so called consultation indeed took place at Capital Hotel with a select few CSOs and some self-acclaimed experts on investment/banking matters. People of Malawi waited with abetted breath that further consultations to take place to at least allow for a proper conclusion on the way to move forward with the matter. Alas, this never happened but instead a day after parliament’s recommendation for recapitalisation, the deal is signed and delivered not in any business office but at Kamuzu Palace. All this was taking place while MPs are in session oblivious to what was taking place. In short, deal was done behind their backs and of course the Malawi Nation as a whole.

While the DPP led government celebrates the pulling of wool; the jab in the back; the blow below the belt, ordinary Malawians cry in silence. Ironically, this happens soon after the first ever Investment Forum which brought international potential investors from 31 countries most of them with representatives locally who continue to monitor the goings-on with keen interest.

I shudder to think what they are now thinking and concluding with all this. The question that is clearly on their minds is – Is Malawi still attractive for all intense and purposes knowing very well that an enabling environment in doing business is required not just as lip service but in practice? At Macro level, they understand fully well the critical role Politics plays.

I would like to believe that any sane Investor worth his clout would not just rush in to invest in a place where interest rates are as high as 40 percent or thereabout as well. We should therefore not be surprised, with the latest developments, to hear the deals or expression of interests that were there have gone cold.

They say charity begins at home. If Malawi cannot get their house in order first, it remains a tall order to attract any serious investor. Would the dust really settle or we begin to brace ourselves for turbulent times ahead? Is history repeating itself? Well, let time and time alone judge us together with the world at large while the ordinary Malawian continues crying and the world joining us in either crying too or laughing at a leader and government that have decided to embrace moral and ethical decay and don’t give a hoot. Nonetheless, I remain comforted by the Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, in his closing remarks when he said and quoted Bhudda “Three things cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth”

Linda Kunje is a Business Development & Strategic Consultant, Part-time Lecturer, Political Analyst and a Gender Activist.

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