GODOT (Mulotwa Mulotwa) –They wake up every morning to check newspapers as which tenders have been advertised by various State companies or government. The next step, they start making calls to those entities for inside information and hire unsuspecting locals to prepare tight bids.
Thereafter, they converse on those they think are powerful in the current regime, it could be State House or ministers, who are expected to cajole the procurement processes. At this point, they will have made sure all the weak points within Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets [PPDA] are already in their pockets.
This is well choreographed to the point of having some Internal Procurement and Disposal of Assets Committees [IPDAs] members of the entities involved on speed dial. This is how tenders for fertiliser, drugs, books, fuel, Electricity Supply of Corporation (Escom), Marep and various water boards (the list is very long) are won!
After winning these deals, the costs are three fold of what is ordinarily obtained on the market. To appreciate that the devil lives on earth, they even have the audacity of asking for 50 percent down payment, which they get almost instantly. Meanwhile, widows’ days on end are unable to get terminal benefits from Treasury. Nonetheless, their fallen husbands served the country well.
The winners of these tenders don’t vote, police never charge them not even with traffic offences, their philanthropy is almost nil. They hold British passports. When their wives are pregnant and about to deliver, they urgently fly them out of Blantyre or Lilongwe into London to deliver so that the kids are British.
They don’t mix with plebeians. Both Blantyre and Lilongwe has special suburbs for them, so are schools. Recently, Oxford–AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was almost given to them under special arrangement; no any other low class citizen was to be available as they get the life-saving jab. They are ‘very special people.’
Having won tenders, received 50 percent down payment, coming from a poor tax-paying woman from Mchesi in Lilongwe, who survives on selling tomatoes by the road side, the State capturers go to the show room and get top of the range Mercedes Benz, Toyota Land Cruiser VXs and we enlist them as billionaires at times locals even discussing lists, as to who is loaded financially than the other. How sad!
The folly of a Malawian politician is unimaginable. They pack at filling stations at night; senior ministers take turns in getting on those VXs to collect brown envelopes. For a deal of K3 billion, they get given K7 million. The country has been captured for a song.
Malawian tender, Malawian money, Malawian Government, Malawi PPDA, but they master over our politicians and technocrats. We make them billionaires. These “Tenderprenuers” have mastered the art such that they pass it on from one generation to another.
In the dark corners they laugh at how silly Malawians and our politicians are as they wallow in wealth. For a pittance a chain of people are bought like wares. During elections, they sponsor all political parties; no wonder this coterie network transcends all regimes—from the days of Bakili Muluzi, to the nights of Bingu Wa Mutharika, mornings under Joyce Banda, dawn with Peter Mutharika and now Tonse Alliance in broad day light. They are never out.
This is a network that needs to be nipped in the bud, smashed and broken down. They reward [read corrupt] individuals, no meaningful contribution to the country save for advancing low pay to employees and rickety buildings marked X ready for demolition.
The total business given to this system combined annually runs into billions in dollar terms and if they were kind enough, each year the community could be constructing three hospitals of the size, stature and beauty of either the new Nkhata Bay Districts Hospital or the one in Chiradzulu by just getting less one percent of what they make out of poor people’s taxes.
In other countries, one cannot just fly in and start buying newspapers everyday peeping for tenders. Tenderprenuers bring no capital, they are not investors regardless of the generation argument, even it is 7th generation, and it is an art perfected by their grannies to wrestle economic power from locals. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one cannot have a winner takes all kind of approach in business without involving locals.
In Malawi, there must be a deliberate effort that seeks to ensure broader and meaningful participation in the economy by locals to achieve sustainable development and prosperity.
Yes, let tenderprenuers be given business if it suits corrupt politicians, but have a score for local participation per each tender won. That way, the country will also have control where the money actually is banked, likely, it is flown. How foolish can we be as a country?
This is a country where a Malawian in the name of Dr. Thom Mpinganjira started FDH Bank and succeeded, yet his fellow Malawians are told they can’t supply fertiliser, drugs, biscuits, tinned fish, plates at immigration, uniforms and so on. Trading with government is a reserve of the blessed few holding British passports masquerading as people from Zomba, fooling us with accented Chichewa–coming with deep influence of their month tongue from the East! Godot, the country is captured!