BY APAWO KWAYELA
Social media activists—mostly Idriss Ali Nassah, Onjezani Kenani, Joshua Mbele and Kondwani Munthali—have, recently, been on apparent organised campaign to, at all cost, demonize businessperson Zuneth Sattar as a symbol corruption in the country.
In their daily, well-coordinated social media posts bashing Sattar, these guys have gone so deep and wide in their propaganda to the worse, as we saw with Kondwani Munthali recently, of posting outright lies such as alleging that Sattar has several passports and that, despite on bail in UK, he has managed to flew in the country.
Mr Nassah and Kenani, on several occasions, even refers to Sattar as SATAN.
From these labels and lies, you can tell these guys have a deep obsession with Sattar which, I am sorry to say, makes distant observers like some of us to begin to question if there is sincerity in these guys.
Well, I don’t know Sattar and I have no interest and intention in knowing him. So what got me started? One would ask.
Well, I have been pushed to comment because there is a larger corruption fight issue in their sub-text which, I am inclined to say, is a topic we should all, as a country, be interested to be part of.
Even further, the team mentioned above comprises well-educated and exposed individuals who, in their respective social media profiles, have a considerable following and influence and whatever agenda they set, it has a potential to poison or liberate the nation.
For this, we need heads to roll.
Look here, it’s always noble when people, using their capabilities and privilege, takes it up upon themselves to stir the State move on the laurels and show action in fighting corruption.
However, there is a serious problem when we allow people with influence continue making grievous mistakes in the name of fighting corruption.
You know what? Kenani and zealots are pushing a ‘Bash Sattar’ agenda which, in all intents and purposes, aims solely at presenting businessperson Sattar as the sole devil at the heart of all major corrupt activities in the country.
They are presenting businessperson Sattar as a larger-than-life person who decides and executes every plan he has to get everything he wants from any State department or agency.
They want every Malawian to begin to see businessperson Sattar as an almighty of sort, a kind of a batman who can, with just words, threaten into submission all security and financial agencies’ of the State.
But it that true?
That can’t be true.
From the little I have gathered about Sattar, the guy was born in Malawi and has lived in Malawi since then. His father was a businessperson and, as it is in wealth families, a new generation takes over from what the old left.
Sattar—whether we clinch our fist in anger or gnaw our teeth in rage—is a businessperson. That’s a fact.
Just like every businessperson with ambition, he works extremely hard to get where business is, to get tenders approved and make profits.
From the sentiments of Kenani and zealots, you get a feeling as if Sattar could go to any government office and threaten them like: I am going to supply rim papers and pay me now.
Yet we all know that to get business from any government office, there is a stringent process governed by a legally instituted Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).
It’s not a complete story to say there is something wrong with how Sattar was getting business from government without asking how the PPDA was awarding government business.
Concentrating on bashing Sattar, an applicant, smacks serious levels of dishonesty and hypocrisy because applicants don’t have the power and authority to approve what they seek.
What Kenani and zealots should concentrate on is questioning what is wrong with our state procurement systems without narrowing the debate to business people who, to me, are just honest business people wanting to grow their business.
In fact, if there is something sinister with any procurement process, I strongly understand that Malawi, as a republic, has sufficient fiscal instruments to pin down everyone involved in illegalities.
This thing, as pushed by Kenani and zealots, of demonizing Sattar on an issue so complex as it is tells us more about the scheme of Kenani and zealots than businessperson person.
As a country, let’s deal with preventive structures that are failing to root corruption. Sattar is just a sheer scapegoat, a curing symptom to temporarily hide the pain.