FREE EXPRESSION (MalawiTalk) –Regimes always come with their own frighteningly nicer but suspicious ideas that, at first sight look promising, but with days they turn into agents of state capture, monopoly and primitive accumulation.
Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda had Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP), Dr Bakili Muluzi had Young Democrats, Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika had Cadets, Dr Joyce Banda had Mudzi Transformation Trust, and Prof Peter Mutharika had Beautify Malawi.
In their original set, these ideas looked progressive. For instance, in creating these youth wings, Banda, Bingu and Muluzi wanted to tap the youth energy and channel it development ventures. Joyce Banda wanted to improve housing for the most disadvantaged people in rural areas. Peter Mutharika, through his wife, wanted to champion the cause of the better environment.
But, with days, the good intentions these ideas were created for, got consumed in the fangs of destruction.
Instead of being agents of development, youths in MYP—and its subsequent Young Democrats and Cadets—became the agents of terror, hacking every flesh that disagreed with their political masters.
Joyce Banda’s Mudzi Transformation Trust became the conduit of illicit transfer of public funds to fund People’s Party (PP). We can’t even speak of Beautify Malawi; the wounds are still fresh.
It’s against this background that is why many are quite suspicious with the newly formed Kokoliko Holdings (KH), an extension of Kokoliko which was formed as an MCP youth group, campaigned for the party and the Tonse Alliance ahead of the 2020 fresh elections.
Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has already issued a warning following the announcement KH’s establishment.
Through its executive director Mr Sylvestre Namiwa, CDEDI fears that KH will be used to siphon public funds from the treasury to the party’s coffers.
“Memories are still fresh of political parties from the previous regimes which used individuals and phony private companies for purposes of defrauding government of huge sums of money to fund party activities,” he said.
He added—something I strongly agree, companies with potent political connections such as KH dominate and monopolize government businesses and tenders since they have the backing of the top officials from the ruling party.
“We do not want to believe that Kokoliko Holdings will even attempt to take the same route,” said Namiwa in a letter to KH leader Daud Suleman in a letter dated August 31.
Namiwa is right.
In fact, it will be interestingly to note how KH will be financed because, trust me, it won’t take more than a year to see how these guys will blossom.
Because if KH, as they say, wants to help government, through active youth involvement, in achieving the Tonse Agenda, then it wouldn’t be wrong to trash it off as there is already Ministry of Youth with functional structures.
Further with millions invested in MEDF, it doesn’t make sense to create another politically charged youth arm to spur youths in development.
Believe if this KH thing goes unnoticed and unchecked; we shouldn’t be surprised one day that a new Beautify Malawi is back in town monopolizing everything. Don’t stay I didn’t I warn when that day comes.
- Cyril Bini is Editor-at-Large of MalawiTalk. His column is called “Free Expression”