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The Vice President recently reminded his party stalwarts that the party barely won the March 2020 general elections. He was appealing to them to perform efficiently and conduct themselves above probity. Few Ministers heed his advice, and there have not been consequences. Most of the Ministers are in deal making; they have long pockets. A large chunk of the budget is looted. Would government address complaints and scandals about corruption?
Can the PPP hold its slim and fragile majority in 2025? By the looks of things and the widespread grumbling on the ground, the PPP would have lost several seats. The PPP base is not state employed. They are largely self-sustained or depend on the private sector. They have been suffering over the last two years, worse now than under the coalition. Conditions have been worsened by the pandemic and floods. Money is not circulating and supporters are suffering; everyone complaining how things real bad under this government. So PPP would definitely lose seats. But that don’t stop the stealing. In fact, the fear of losing power result in more theft of state funds. Ministers and government officials are making out like day time bandits. Kickbacks are flowing like flood water and the VP knows; that $40M over pricing for the sheet metal (KN Jun 21) is only a tip of the iceberg. That is why the VP kept referring to the narrow majority to give officials a warning. But officials don’t bother with him because there are no consequences to their actions; they know the VP won’t discipline them.
Imagine a contract was given some $40M above the minimum bid at NDIA. When will this one be investigated? And there are dozens more like this contract totaling in the billions of dollars – given to friends and families and would wound their way back to some officials as kickbacks. The $40M could have been used to finance several pumps to drain villages on the coast. The billions of dollars looted through overpricing could have been used to grant 30K poorest families (affected by the flooding) $50K a month for a year. Instead of thinking of helping people, officials are helping their bank accounts, fooling the people that the government cares for them.
Supporters of PPP are losing faith in the party. They are disgusted with the widespread corruption. One recalls that corruption and neglect of the base caused them to move to the AFC in 2011. They returned to PPP when the AFC began behaving exactly like when the PPP was in government and because of errors of the coalition. And since August 2020, the PPP has been behaving exactly like how it behaved pre-2015 – no lessons learned. The avalanche of corruption especially over the last eight months is scandalous, disgusting. Clearly, PPP does not want to return to office in 2025 or feels that its base would not abandon it as happened in 2011 and 2015. For sure the PNC support base has not walked away and will vote solidly for it again. No PNCite has conceded defeat by the PPP in 2020 and they will vote solidly PNC. The PPP can verify this prediction from their pollster who constantly praise their performance.
The VP calls the shot in the government. Would he act to stem the tide of corruption? How will government deal with $40M overpriced sheet piling contract at NDIA and similar scandals elsewhere? Isn’t it time for replacement or reshuffling of the cabinet?
A decent, honest third force of credible people is wanted to teach the PPP a lesson and to save the country from a bevy of corrupt deals. The small parties should give consideration for an amalgamation that can confront corruption.
Jagnarine K Singh