Written by HENRY D. CHIZIMBA
The late Bingu wa Mutharika government had had its own negatives and its fair share of positives. Straightforwardly, there is no denying that the late Mutharika administration ruled without regard to dictates of democracy—the trampling of the constitution, disregard for human rights, gagging of the media, and all that jazz. In fact, the late wa Mutharika government was a living definition of an autocracy.
Yes, those were the days when a mere demonstration could attract a 2million Kwacha deposit, when a demonstrator could be silenced for eternity by a live bullet fired by a trigger happy police officer (or thug?), the days when university students could stay a good eight months indefinite holiday, thanks to the then best IG ever. Yes, those were the days of autocracy. But that government is gone, and done with; and nothing to talk about, only lessons to learn.
Then, it was late Bingu wa Mutharika and his autocracy. Now we have JB and its host of advise-only-for-job-security mecernaries with a strange, politically and developmentally suicidal government—insecuritocracy.
Simply, insecuritocracy is a government that does not pay attention to the security situation of the nation. It is a government whose security apparatus is only strong in principle, and weakest in practice.
If you will, it is a government premised on the thinking that everything is okay so long as the powers that be have the forex to travel to First Ladies Summit; the political muscle to defend lying Minister of Finance; the position power to influence the firing of ‘dissent’ civil servants; the economic base to stabilise the supply of fuel; and, what have you to finance First Gentleman’s trip to the London Olympics. It is interesting to note that while some quarters of the Malawi society are busy celebrating with the JB government on its 100 days anniversary, there is a large section of people elsewhere in the society crying for lost property and life, all due to security laxity characterising the JB government.
Annoyingly, the drums of 100 days celebration are so loud that they silence people’s loud cries for property, and most importantly, life. Little wonder then that although the repentant DPP, the ever-feuding UDF, and some well-placed personalities have spoken against JB’s laxity on security, there seems utterly nothing her government is doing to bring security to its people, how sad!. Today, it is no longer safe to travel. Unless one is constantly watching ones back, one is most likely to be mercilessly attacked, and that seems to be the normal life in the streets and villages.
What becomes boring with the insecuirty is its attendant misery: people are forced to walk around and be back home before night, and walking early to work for less privileged labor force becomes a suicide pact. Emergency circumstances like taking a person suddenly falling ill and needing urgent medical attention has now become a risky undertaking.
Also, certain roads have become automatically impassable, and that has negatively impacted business in particular and life in general. JB’s insecuritocracy has made life unbearably hard; quite as hard as it was during the late wa Mutharika autocracy. The time has now come for people to take the JB government to task on this and many issues, thus announcing to her that the honeymoon is over, and thereby defining the destiny the people themselves.
Mere words of assurance cannot do the magic. The usual propangandistic “we’ll provide security” cannot do it; Malawians want action, and action is what they want now, otherwise how would they live a normal life with their life constantly at stake.
Unless JB government packs up the euphoria associated with her being president and starts thinking that stabilization of fuel supply, regaining of donor confidence, the normalization of bilateral relations, and the presence of forex, much as these are a sign of a functioning government, are not the only things governments should prioritize; and begins to think that, also, the provision of security is what, arguably, defines a fully functioning government, then surely Malawi is headed downhill.
Yes, unless the JB government starts to listen to the cries for security from the local masses and provides it, then one would hopelessly be saying gone is the sad late wa Mutharika autocracy, welcome saddest JB’s insecuritocracy.