By Onjezani Kenani
Fifteen years ago, Uladi Mussa, then a powerful Minister of Home Affairs (renamed Homeland Security these days) used to invite me to his office and sometimes to his home. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had just broken free from the United Democratic Front.
Mussa – who told me he liked my writing – wanted me to establish a newspaper for the DPP. Whether at his office at Capital Hill or in his home, I would always find scores of people waiting for his attention: chiefs, old men and women, the youth, they filled waiting rooms or verandas, waiting for the boss.
Occasionally, the boss would release a brown envelope, and the face of the recipient would brighten up. Thank you very much, Honorable Minister, the recipient would say, sometimes kneeling down as they received the envelope. I soon left the country and the newspaper issue died.
Over the years, I saw him get disillusioned in the DPP, saw him move to join Mrs Joyce Banda’s People’s Party, where he reclaimed his former post of Minister of Home Affairs, where, once again, he grew too powerful, to the extent that he oversaw a passport scam in which undeserving foreigners were given passports in exchange for enormous amounts of cash.
Now, here we are, the man is convicted and awaits sentencing. How many years in jail? Ten? Twenty? We’ll know in due course, but it’s a sad end for the man who survived by changing colours like a chameleon, hopping from one political party to another.
I wish I could say his conviction should serve as a lesson to those in the Tonse Alliance who are corrupt, but alas, it’s not that simple.
All the thieves in Tonse will do is stealing enough to corrupt the entire system in future, and corruption shall thrive happily ever after.