In a world without state, the powerful prey on the poor and less powerful This is injustice and a bad way of living. So we created a state and a government, that will right the wrongs and protect those who would otherwise be abused. As citizens we hand over certain powers to the state, so the quality of life improves for everybody: the social contract. The powerful can take care of themselves, the state is there to protect the less powerful.

If we look at the way the state, and in particular the justice system, in Malawi operates, we wonder why we have a state. The case of BWB (Blantyre Water Board) boss Thawe is a case in point. This man is from the ruling class, the powerful. He was appointed to head the Blantyre Water Board, which is supposed to provide the inhabitants of Blantyre with water, including the less powerful inhabitants. Instead of providing water, the man was mistreating staff, flouting regulations and messing up the water supply in our beautiful city. He went so far as to abuse the procurement system, which in other cases has been proven to be corruption, in this case it is not proven yet. The water supply in the city is worse than ever, and you see many women carrying water on their head every day because this Mr Thawe has not done his job right.

For flouting procedure and a whole lot more violations, Mr Thawe was suspended. Mind you, he was paid part of his salary package for doing nothing, and he was not prosecuted. No this Mr Thawe is sueing Blantyre city because he wants more money. This man should bow his head in shame and humbly apply for a job as street sweeper, he may have the competence to do that. But he certainly does not have the competence to head BWB, and supply water, and he did a lot of suspect things when he was in this position. Now he is in a position to sue for damages.

The powerless in society do not have access to the justice system, at best they deal with a chief, who may or may not have training in applying justice. But the National Justice System only works for the ruling class, in this case Mr Thawe.

We had just found that the primary goal of the state is to protect the powerless from abuse by the powerful, here the state works in the opposite direction: it protects the powerful (Mr Thawe) and supplies him with money from the tax payer, a significant amount of which is paid by poor smallholder tobacco farmers.

The state should work the other way: it should redistribute money from the rich to the poor, so we get a just distribution of income, ith should not do what the Malawian state does now: take money from the poor tobacco smallholder farmer and give it to the ruling class types like Thawe.

We need to thoroughly review our labour laws so they protect the powerless working class, but leave the option of firing people like Thawe for non performance. After all: he got paid to provide water, not to be corrupt, but he did not do that. So he is not in the right position and needs to be removed. He should apy compensation for the damage he has done to the inhabitants of Blantyre, rather than have an option to sue for damages which will have to be coughed up by the tax payer.



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