A vision-less Malawi is doomed – Economist Kachaje

The Bankers Association of Malawi in its analysis of the Malawi’s economy in 2013/14, said that “we are too disorganized to progress”. Let me add that we seem to be“too divided to progress”. Probably we were not ready for democracy or we totally misunderstood the whole concept of democracy. As a result, we are too divided to progress forward as a united nation.

Kachaje: T

Kachaje:  Malawwi need national development vision not party manifeto

The challenge with our current political settlement is that it has left us too divided to progress. We have an opposition that is bent on obstructing economic development “lest the government succeeds”. We have a government that will ignore any wise contributions from anyone in opposition “lest they look wiser than us.” We have political governments that abandon any developmental programs started by the previous regimes “lest they be seen as continuing what someone started”.

I have said this more than ten times: We need a national long-term developmental vision and strategy that spans at least thirty years. Fifty would be much better. We need to go a step further and protect this national vision with appropriate laws. No political party should impose its own development agendas that are not in line with the national developmental vision.

The national development vision must be the unifying thing that pulls all of us together in one direction, regardless our political colours. We cannot attain sustainable socioeconomic development using five-year political party manifestos that are framed without a direct reference to a national long-term national vision. We have tried it for two decades and it has not worked.

The national vision must become the doctrine we sing, think, talk and act upon. Every child in kindergarten, primary and secondary school must know this agenda. It must become part of our learning curriculum. Courses taught in schools, colleges and universities much directly or indirectly contribute to shaping our young people to become patriotic citizens that are moulded into selfless individuals who will view themselves as instruments for progressive socioeconomic change. In colleges and universities, students must be challenged to come up with projects that can help the nation achieve our developmental goals using the most cost-effective and socially enriching methods.

The national budget must be formulated to direct resources towards the achievement of our socioeconomic development vision and goals. We must be disciplined enough to spend our limited resources on key priority areas that make economic sense even when they might be viewed to be expensive politically.

Let us not waste money on programs that only make political sense but have little or no economic gains. Surely, for a country where some school kids learn under trees, it makes no sense for the government to be spending money building houses for individuals,.

We must also realize that if Malawi is to register sustainable socioeconomic development, everyone must be willing to sacrifice in the short term. We must forgo certain things for the sake of building our country. The person in the village must be willing to contribute towards health services. The person in the city must be willing to pay his/her city rates. The politician must be willing to earn less. The President must be willing to let go some of the State Residences, opulence, comfort and splendour. Without sacrifice, there is no redemption for Malawi’s failing economy.


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52 thoughts on “A vision-less Malawi is doomed – Economist Kachaje”

  1. khwangwi says:

    This piece has highlighted the obvious. This can only be achieved through constitutional means to empower the process. Who initiates constitutional changes? The party in power may not have motivation to do so because they are busy ripping off this impoverished nation. You cannot blame them! Blame the politics and the very foundation of our ill-envisioned democratization process.

  2. tony kanyenda says:

    True Henry

  3. Chingolopiyo says:

    But who is going to tie the bell around the cat’s neck???

  4. Malawi Wabwino says:

    Nice piece Kachaje, and I for one agree with you. There should be number of long-term core projects for the country and party manifesto’s should only sell to citizens issues about efficiency (what they would do differently to deliver the desired outcomes with less costs, time, etc). Parties may also bring add-ons that must not be delivered at the expense of the core projects. Having said that – one question that needs careful consideration I believe is..who will lead that process. Suppose DPP agrees to formulate the national agenda – who will be involved in the process, how will priorities be established. Most likely any entity established to handle the function will be dominated by the ruling government, at which point one would ask..whose priorities will take precedence? not for ordinary Malawians I bet. In my opinion, until some courageous leader steps and admits that our constitution has failed us, we will continue wasting our limited and meagre resources on treating symptoms but not the underlying cause. Our constitution must demand accountability – impeaching an under performing president shouldn’t be rocket science: recalling an under-performing MP shouldn’t be as difficult as milking a stone; ToRs for MPs and Councillors shouldn’t be grey..majority rule must no longer be defined as simple majority..any many more. So, until we no longer have a coward as a President, the majority of us Malawians will be singing the same old song while a few Malawians will be changing their songs when a new bunch of cowards takes over the helm. Sometimes violence works..I am glad am not in the Military.

  5. Ngoma,Thomas, London says:

    For me this article is rather frustrating. Maybe I am being too harsh a judge expecting too much from an article (news snippet) intended for public consumption. However, given the fact economist opinions matter in Malawi and is central to setting the development national agenda I can be forgiven for expecting more intellectual outburst with specific strategic tenets for the so called vision. Writing in generalities like this serves only to confuse and not construct. Let me explain. Where is the wisdom of telling a drowning person that you need a vision that rescues you, saves your life so that you can live. Or telling a sick person, you need a doctor to prescribe medicine, that you must take three times a day one in the morning, one at noon and one in the evening. You will need a good diet. Honestly, excuse me for being dismissive here. Isn’t it time for Malawian to roll out intelligent facts advocating specificity as to what the vision should be precisely. We need an industrial revolution to improve our national productivity and grow wealth, we need to stop feasting on foreign goods and services that worsen our current account deficit that erodes the kwacha strength. We need to embrace world class manufacturing to create well paying jobs and improve our national competitiveness. We need to grow the national GDP to $200bn in the next 20 -30 years. We need a list of critical success factors that will take Malawi to the next level. That my friends is the vision debate the public discourse should be feasting on not statements of generalities void, of substance. Like every Malawian, I am tired of the directionlessness, poverty and lack of decisive action to correct the national pain.

  6. LU says:

    Very nice, but these things cannot happen. It will take more time to get this right and I am sure Jesus will come before these things happened.kkkkk

  7. FootSoldier says:

    A very patriotic piece! Kudos for that. When we were doing away with the colonial administration we looked (or at least our leaders were or gave us the self-belief we were) very hopeful of the future. Maybe it was the same when we were doing away with the one-party governance but I am certain there is no such hope for the future at present because our pseudo-leaders have never cared a hoot about the country and generations to come!

  8. Truth says:

    In my opinion, this is probably the best and deepest article I have ever read on Nyasatimes since its creation. Proud that it is coming from our own Malawian writer. At least it shows that there are other patriotic Malawians out there who are thinking above political,tribal and regional lines. Putting Malawi first. Bravo Mr. Kachaje and Nyasatimes for this wonderful contribution.



  10. dungulinya says:

    Great focused and patriotic

  11. selewa says:

    Mwana mwana, don’t write for morale but be reasonable & patriotic. Stop being stupid by just supporting unvisionally pple.

  12. Wadinkhula Wa Yiwona says:

    Good pièce.

  13. madiru mhango says:

    Thanks Kachaje. This is hitting the nail on the head, l hope party leaders’ heads have been nailed wose

  14. chithuza says:

    Kachadze U have said quite superbly.I think APM akumva ngakhale samamvetsetsa

  15. Kenkkk says:

    This excellent idea has been discussed before, the problem is that it is coming from people who are not in govt. Those in govt are only interested in self priding and thieving at the expense of national development- they think they lose face if they adopt a good national beneficial idea from people outside govt or the opposition.

    Well done kachanje for reminding us and this govt, keep on banging the door, they will hear one day.

  16. Kulibe kantu says:

    There was Vision 2020. Where is it?

  17. Achembele says:


  18. Msadane says:

    Kachaje’s idea is not really new. There was a vision 2020 of which late Dr Mawaya was the lead consultant. Perhaps it is still there somewhere gathering dust unimplemented or insufficiently used as a source of long term developmental strategic direction. Its development banefited from fairly wide consultation and may form a basis upon which to elaborate a successor long term plan that should take in board the spirit of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) recently adopted by heads of state and government.Afterall, long term developmental guiding documents necessarily need to be living documents to allow for changing circumstances.

  19. Well put. We need people like you in our country.

  20. defender says:

    perfect speach, absolute necessity 4 our development. mr Kachaje,speak more l am listening

  21. We have also a bad culture of over dependence/begging. Our family units are weak . Government spends too much resources on issues that individuals should handle and manage on their own.

    Families fail to organise themselves to become self reliant. They believe someone or government will give them food, build them good homes, pay for water resources, health services and educate their kids and look after them. why most families are single parents not due to HIV only by weak cultures in marriages.

    Families them believe they bear as much as biologically it is possible since raising children is not parents responsibility but government. We end up having a big but unproductive population – useless bunch of people.

    For this country to move forward new laws must be made on family governance where parents must be forced to bear only a limited number of children which they can afford to look after in terms of feeding, education and providing health support. Why should NGOs feed kids in schools – what are parents doing (orphans yes)? especially in some parts of this country .

    This irresponsibility bleeds from family levels all the the way to sometimes our so called leaders. some areas where we can do on our own we thing of which donor can fund it. The pride of self reliance is not there. Thus why our own resources are targeted to be stolen because everything else is run on donor money who demand accountability. We get even surprised when demand accountability or seek their money refunded because we do not hold ourself accountable. We are a very sick nation .

  22. Chigadula says:

    Wonderful contribution from Mr Kachaje, however, as you have already indicated earlier even this brilliant suggestion of yours will simply sound like music in the ears of the DPP government leadership. So what are we going to do or say next?

  23. chigumula says:


  24. johnm says:

    How do you reconcile this idea of National Development Plan with the current democratic dispensation prevalent in the country? If the parties had a firm agenda and firm policies which they believe in, then there is no ways you can have a so called National Development Plan because that is contrary to the ideals of multi party system of development. Unless Mr. Kachanje does not understand what a multiparty system of Government is all about.

  25. Jimbo says:

    An excellent article, Mr Kachaje! However, I fear you are a voice crying in the wilderness. Those who go into politics in Malawi seek to follow the example set by Kamuzu Banda – rule like a dictator, demand honour and respect, feather your own nest and live a life of luxury. Their aim is not to develop the country and move it forward for the benefit of ALL its citizens, but to milk their time in office for all they can get out of it. APM revealed his intentions when one of his first acts was to raise his own salary. Apart from stifling the progress of Malawi for 30 years, Kamuzu Banda set a very bad example for all his successors. By taking him as their model there will never be any meaningful progress until someone comes along with the ideas put forward here by Mr Kachaje.

  26. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    If we are going to make sacrifices, first we must catch our crocodiles. Then we must select the fattest of our politicians to sacrifice to them. Only after we have appeased the crocodiles will it be safe for us to embrace lives of self-sacrifice.

  27. Malawian Patriot says:

    Good in theory. You should join mainline Politics to see this vision Mr Kachanje. Do not blame others as you are part of Malawi. I find it difficult to relate to theories that you use. They are good in books. You need educated people who think like you do and those are few. Every lesson has practicals in Science just to appreciate theory to reality. The people to spread head the vision you outline above should have comfortable lives otherwise it makes political sense to talk about food subsidies to those that are starving and they do not understand the causes of their hardship. Umodzi Party is willing to discuss these issues but one has to appreciate the community where one is rather than lecturing to people who see things differently. No of their own fault but due to their fate and circumstances. One has to ask why are there political parties and what motives people to join and form them. I am not talking about Malawi system but that of countries which developed political theories.

  28. Acki-Memento says:

    Since I started reading nyasatimes this is the best article we suppose to talk about,well done Mr kachaje if everyone one and every organization start talking about this and pressuring the the government and our MPs it will bring positive results.than stupid individual attacks that brings divisions and hatred

  29. Pontho says:

    Mother Malawi. Why you having stupid leaders. I cry for you.

  30. Kunengwa says:

    lf people in authority had ears to hear what other people say with regard of shaping the state of our nation by now Malawi could have been among rich countries in Africa. It’s high time we learn to learn from other people with great ideas to shape our country in different sectors and departments but because people like Henry Kachaje have never been on ballot papers and their ideas are not embraced as national ideas for development.

  31. sapitwa says:

    Spot on Mr Kachaje! Actually this is coming very late. It should have been the main theme just after the referendum. All role players should have developed that vision with all required set goals in every sector; Agriculture, Education, Health etc. Each government of the day could have been performing towards this vision though with own strategies. If we had this vision all along, Muluzi’s UDF could not have messed the country for its 10 years it was in power including Bingu’s second Term and JB’s zero achievement in 2 years and now with signs of achieving nothing with APM government.

    We have to create this vision urgently or else Malawi will continue to sail without a radar.

  32. Mbiyazodooka says:

    I like your contributions Mr. Kachaje. Well balanced and always with the nation at heart. I hope we are all prepared to lend our ears and listen to these words of wisdom.

  33. If Malawi has a leader in the name of mr Ibu, just know that nothing can work.

  34. Thyolo Thava says:

    Pitala akumva izi? Tuluka uwelenge

  35. kasim says:

    Who are you targeting mr kachaje. Your ideas are very brilliant but they are falling on deaf ears. They cant take your advice seriously. These morons only understand the language of stealing and bickering. It is sad we were born in this country. We have phd holders ruling us and one would think they will uplift the lives of ordinary Malawians. What do we see? They challenge us that they were already millionaires before we elected them yet afew months ago they couldn’t afford to build even a one bedroom house. They are only interested in lining their pockets fullstop

  36. Mwana mwana says:

    Ingokhalani pulezident ndinu basi. Unfortunately you support MCP and Chakwera who also has no vision. So your vision will be overshaddowed by Chakwera your idol. I urge you to support DPP government which is the only government that can listen and implement your proposals.

  37. naperi says:

    Very true. I concur totally. Very nice and lucid article.

  38. munthu wabwino says:

    Good message from Mr Kachaje. I have always believed that economists always talk about the obvious and always act as Monday morning coaches. This article is different. The only question is “how do we go about implementing Kachaje’s philosophy”?

  39. vyakuchitika says:

    I totally agree with you Henry, but do our leaders listen to free and sound advice? I wish we had no political leaders in Malawi, for us to move forward economically.

  40. tsetsefly says:

    Bwana Kachanje, you are talking as though you are a stranger in this nation. I can tell you without fear of contrandiction that as long as people continue to hand clap and boot lick these so called leaders we will not move any inch forward. Infact each passing day this country is moving in reverse. We worship politicians too much to the extent that they override the constitution with impunity. The national is mentally sick. We are good at brainstomring and crafting ideas but zero implementation. Now look at what is happening. In Physics Malawi can be equated to an object on a free fall. The cluelessness characterised by the leadership shows how doomed as the nation we are. Do you now see the frustration in the VP? He came with full of energy but I know he has realised there were lots of things he assumed too much in politics. The whole energy is gone because he has realised that he can not single handedly push for certain things.

  41. Optic Computer says:

    No free lunch.

  42. che msumbo in rsa says:

    Mfundo zimene zikusowa kumalawi ndizimenez chifukwa kukadankhala kuti mfundozachitukuko za boma la UDF zomangamasukuluzija zija zinapitilira bwenzipanotikukambazina .free primary education was amilestone komangobwela anthu oti anachoka 50years kalekwambiri angobandalama kumakasunga ku america if nkumayimbira mmanja titavala msalu yolembedwa dpp uchitsilu wamunthu wakumalawi umenewo kuno ku jon boma linapangaprogram yot banja lililonse azilandinyumba madzi magesi komanso matoilet amadzi that was mandela life longplan incase of malawi when we see aperson is from america we think he got good ideas aaaa!!! its only mamina in thier heads to disorganise malawians then take the money home no any plan to take the country further u will diehard malawi dont need u anymore pack and where u belong

  43. mbuyuni says:

    Still one claims that there no people who openly can come up with good or better ideas to help this nation progress, mtonjani,what is this plus many more,

  44. Tubale says:

    In fact Malawi needs a different development model than one we have pursued since independence. The development model that we have incrementally been changing over the years required the discipline that prevailed during HKB’s time when citizens were committed to national as opposed to personal development. It requires the meritocracy system of public sector management in which competent people are given jobs to deliver as opposed to current situation where people are given important national jobs just show that our tribesmen occupy important jobs. This model requires a society of selfless people not the ones who thrive on cashgate. A country in serious economic distress but with its president who doesn’t see wisdom in flying first class in commercial airline but chartered jets can not progress under the current development model. Malawi is under a very academically qualified professor yet his leadership is the most clueless of all. ECAMA president is absolutely right as today we see the consequences of mediocre leadership in all levels of society. The civil service is run by utter dunderheads yet very critical in Malawi’s economic sphere.

  45. Nankununkha sadzimva says:

    Sounds good!

  46. Nabetha says:

    Ooooh okay. Tamva.

  47. nobel says:

    This is the critical thinking that can take Malawi further. But I don’t think those on the wheels of power can agree more with Dr. Kachaje becoz it will seem to them is operating from opposition benches. We really need a long term development goal. But who should initiate that,who is to participate, from where?

  48. peter says:

    I agree with you Kachaje!

  49. Khodoba says:

    Sure Henz, but still nsomba imayambila kumutu kuwola

  50. apao says:

    Western style of thinking. Doing. Malawians we are good at identify mavuto. But we don’t have exit strategies. Failing to prepare which means you are preparing to fail. Kudalira kuba eish.

  51. Mwethu says:

    As usual Economists and/or ECAMA talk but without action. We have reknowned economists in DPP the like of Goodall, why is it so difficult for them to come up with a national development agenda other than peddling their manifesto if its really something that can spur us to move forward?
    I supported the idea of CMCC when they proposed that the private sector must withhold taxes until there is a clear vision of how tax payers money is sent by this present government. Am sure this would send a very strong signal to this wanton excessive expenditure that is going on. The private sector alone is funding the government and yet it does not get any help in terms of infrastructure, tax incentives etc, all the government is interested in is to milk it. Action from this sector can change how things are done in government over night.

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