There is no such thing as ndalama za boma. They are called public funds because the monies belong to the public, not because they belong to public servants. As I see it, it is not just the cartel of criminal looters that needs to be thwarted. The biggest drainer of the people’s resources is an entitlement mindset/culture that prevails across the public service. And it’s all legal.

We have a public service with an entilement mentality to milk a bankrupt treasury. Changing it is a mammoth task, because anyone who challenges it from without is labeled wansanje, while anyone challenging it from within is labeled wamatama kapena osayamika. But challenge it we must. Public offices and resources are not personal to holder, and any law that says otherwise is a bad law.

Admittedly, this is easier preached than practiced. I woke up one morning to find that the public vehicle I use for executing my public duties had been withdrawn without notice. I felt the sting of that withdrawal as if someone had taken money out of my personal wallet. It took me a moment to realize that the sting was just a bruise to my pride, which is worth less than manure.

It’s easy to claim that all we want to do is serve Malawians, but the real test of our servanthood is how we respond when we are treated like servants. It happens on occasion when you walk into a shop to buy something, and one of the customers mistakes you for one of the servants in the shop and tells you to serve them. In that moment of being treated like a servant, you discover how much of a sense of entitlement you have. No human being is by nature humble, but public service should be the one place where we are required to suppress our entitlement proclivities.

Examine your heart.

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