Calling Malawians ‘lazy’ for their plight is misguided and self-Defeating

“The realities of the modern global economy require government to play a substantial role in ensuring the national and economic security of the people.” ~ Matthew Continetti

One the advantages of publishing online are instant responses and feedback you get from a wider audience – albeit a similar demographic. Some comments are abusive, mostly attacking the author. Not engaging with the content. Yet, there are also critical and engaging comments. I pay attention to the latter and I learn from it.

I mainly write on socioeconomic, development and political issues. I do not hide from the fact that Malawi is a very poor country, with poor public services and unscrupulous leaders – bordering on fraudsters, think cashgate. I believe Malawi can do much better and I believe the government and political leadership have a critical role in this. Yet, the most recurring point from commenters is that scribes, civil society and the intellectual community are fond of blaming the government while they contribute very little if anything towards national development. Others simply say Malawians are poor because they are “lazy”.

Here, “lazy” implies that Malawians always want their government to provide for them. The argument is in the similar lines to the former USA President, John F Kennedy’s (JFK) famous assertion: “… ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” It is a plausible view but only if taken into the right context. is concerned. There is only so much that citizens can achieve without what economists call ‘invisible arm’ of the state.difference

In her highly acclaimed book, The Entrepreneurial State, (2013) Marianna Mazzucato, economics professor at Sussex University, England observed that some of the most successful innovations of the modern world such as the internet, the web, GPS, algorithm search, which search engines such as Google and Yahoo! use, most of software used in slick Apple products and social networks such as Facebook all benefit from USA government’s huge investment in research and development (R&D).

The core argument of the book is that states have a key role to play in backing new innovations and entrepreneurship, through investment in R&D among other things. In this case, the USA, a home to all the aforementioned products, laid a foundation for success of its citizens and companies. Thus, JFK’s call to his fellow citizens to not only ask from their government but also contribute to its success is justifiable.

Has Malawi government invested enough if at all in R&D? Has Malawi taken right steps to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship? This is a question we must consider, carefully, before start labelling Malawians “lazy”. The “lazy” card must be measured against available opportunities. Majority of Malawians work very hard for very little. Poor Malawians do all the backbreaking farming and dreaded jobs in both private and public sectors. Yet, they remain poor because of unfair economic system at play. It is the political economy, stupid.

In previous column I argued that majority of Malawians have become fatalistic. One of the commenters insisted on “laziness” being the problem. He pointed out that though the majority of Malawians rely on agriculture, they only work about three to four months of year – meaning in their fields. It is a valid argument and I have come across it many times before.

Yet, this overlooks the fact that agriculture in Malawi is not mechanised, and it remains rain-fed – most of it. It is impossible that most Malawians can cultivate more than once a year. Manual farming work is backbreaking, there is only so much folks can do. There is a need for state intervention: investment in mechanised agriculture and make irrigation farming a reality, on a grand scale.

The lack of mechanised farming in Malawi goes beyond manual work in farms. It also contributes to land sales because as it is, land – the only valuable asset that majority of Malawians have, is labour intensive and not capital intensive. This is why most Malawians are happy to sell their land because they see no benefit from it – worsening their poverty. Farming is very expensive in Malawi and the state has done very little to make it affordable and attractive.

There is farm input subsidies programme (FISP) but this is a merely political programme. It is the gesture that matters. No one cares what happens once the subsidies have been distributed. Estimates show that postharvest loss in Malawi is at 30% annually. Yet, the state is not taking investment in technologies to cub these losses seriously if at all. Leaving everything to profit making multinational corporations. No wonder FISP has failed to reduce the number of beneficiaries. On the contrary, the number of beneficiaries has increased.

Calling Malawians lazy for their plight only is misguided and it is self-defeating. I know some who was keeping cattle for milk production. Around 2009 he started investing in equipment for cheese production. He was going to add five to his five and six permanent and seasonal workers, respectively. This would help reducing unemployment, extra tax revenue for the government and more utility bills for its struggling parastatals.

All these plans were abandoned around 2010/ 11 when Malawi economy nosedived, epitomised by dry fuel pumps, lack of foreign currency, constant electricity outages and frozen aid due the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s kamikaze economic policies and poor governance. This is why it is naïve to think that progress and prosperity can be detached from politics.

Any company, organisation or business venture needs healthy, educated and workers, it is the state that is entrusted with providing good health and education services. Businesses need reliable electricity, reliable communications infrastructure, good road networks etc. All these services are provided by the state. Where these services are patchy or absent entrepreneurship will struggle. This subject can take so many angles; this is one of them.

END NOTE: In their New Year messages leaders are fond of asking Malawians to be hardworking. There may yet be a similar message this year. The above is my alternative New Year message.

Happy New Year! Wishing you a prosperous 2015.

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46 thoughts on “Calling Malawians ‘lazy’ for their plight is misguided and self-Defeating”

  1. Mike says:

    Comment number 41, well written, point taken.

  2. peter muthanyula says:

    Look here Jimmy… you are spot on! But hey, as long as we depend on donors, we will never be innovative, hard-working, or anything else. It is not in Americas interest for Malawi to develop. It is not in the British, French, Germany, etc interest either. We need to understand the global political economy first, then we can make sensible gains. Malawi needs to make its priorities right, and stop dancing to the tunes of the donors.
    Check this: How many students graduate from Bunda collage every year? How many of them own farms or grow crops? Why don’t we give them capital, land and tractors upon graduation (albeit on loan) for them to go commercial farming? Is this not a better investment than the Malata and Cement programme that will only benefit amwenye (the suppliers), who will in turn finance the DPP campaign in 2018/19? If farmers in Tsangano, Lizulu, Jenda, etc can produce that much without government support, how much (and quality too) would they produce of government gave them a slight push? And hey, do you realize how much tomato gets rotten in Lizulu and Tsangano alone? That is enough to substitute tobacco as an export earner! But hey, all these ideas end up on Nyasatimes, nobody takes them seriously coz everyone listens to what the donors say them. Fucking bullshit! Our only hope is in people like my new friend Julie Lunguzi, Alekeni Menyani, Jumbe (salima), Jessie Kabwila, etc, who are a bit revolutionary and can think outside the box. We need revolutionary minds in Malawi to transform this country. I graduated from Chanco in 1997 and a lot of my schoolmates work in the civil service. They are the most rotten civil servants ever! And yet this is the generation that is supposed to transform the country! Keep trying Jimmy. If I happen to take over government, you will be my minister of government philosophy!

  3. Ngoma, Thomas, London says:

    The state of poverty Malawi finds itself in is not due to “Laziness”. Let me shed some light on this issue from a professional angle. Do not waste your time blaming one another. I will be a little bit technical (not too much) since we are in public debate here. The main reason Malawi is poor and it is struggling to get out of this poverty trap is because of lack of means of production and the obsession with demand side economics. The country is in a state of Malthusian economic stagnation state or as Richard Nelson has described it, it is in low level economic equilibrium. Until 1700 all world economies were in this state, UK,US, Japan China etc. Mankind (or more respectfully, humankind) was not able to pull out of this poverty trap. When I hear politicians say I can improve this Malawi economy or I can transform it … I say ok really? how? and each one of them start listing their solutions, I sigh… they are all empty. For example, agriculture, mining, forestry, mining, tourism, infrastructure.. etc ….nada. No nation in human history has been able to pluck itself out of this poverty trap by any of these methods. If that is all on offer in the next 50 to 100 years Malawi will remain glued happily to this low level economic equilibrium of poverty trap. The only way known to mankind/humankind to escape from this poverty trap as a nation is through industry.
    Today we are celebrating 50 years of independence and so is Singapore. These two economies set off on a journey in 1964 from the same starting point, similar GDP, ex British colonies, small nations, newly independent. Malawi chose to compete on agriculture. Singapore, chose industry. Singapore at 50 years (SG50) today is one of the highest GDP per capita (3rd in the world). Malawi the 3rd or last 10 from last in the world in GDP per capita. When I argue that as a nation we are on the wrong economic path, I mean we are in deep …. I am panicking for Malawi. There is nothing on the horizon that will lift this nation out of this low level economic equilibrium trap, politics aside. Politicians can huff and puff but to no avail. This is not about tribe, region, religion or race. Malawi is in deep shite!! The only way out of this hole is “industrial revolution” backed by supply side economic mind-set. If only people could listen we can do this and transform to boom this economy towards $200bn in GDP and 10 million high paying jobs for all our Malawian people together in the next 20-30 years. This solution is not public knowledge so do not waste time by setting up counsel of tribal elders or brain trusts, or board of economic advisers etc. We will lose another decade still in this low level economic equilibrium. Just let me show you the way how to escape this poverty trap Malawians!!!

  4. Change me quick says:

    Bingu said ‘ Malawi is not poor but the people are” TRUE. Which are these people? Did he mean alimi kumudzi? Nonse mukamalemba za lezinesi zanuzo you refer to us farmers. are you hard workers? Mukanena za umphawi, mmalawi, you point at us small farmers, are you employed workers rich people? Ntchito mukugwirayo itatha lero, can you sustain yourselves. Simubwera kumudzi inu kuzangofikira kufa ndi ulesiwo. Nyumbanso kumudzi mulibe kaya muzafikira pati. When we say we Malawians are lazy, it is all of us, Educated or not educated. Tonse lazy lazy lazy. Ma strike mukupangawo siulesi wokhawokhawo. If you had other means of earning more money, would you really waste time striking to a government that has no money? Inu mukumatenga ma alawansi koma kufilidi osapita, si ulesi ndi kuba kumeneko ndiye muzinena ife alimi alesi. Mungatukule dziko chonchi? mukamati opportunity boma silipeleka mukutanthauza chiani? Boma or no boma opportunities are there to those who think. Enanu salary yanga ya K62,000 pa mwezi you will say it is peanut, but I tell you that this is an opportunity. Plant the K62,000 and it will grow into K62,000,000 in just few years. If you don’t know how to do it, then you are lazy. We don’t need you in Malawi because you are the one making this country poor. If you just think of kutafuna K62,000 definitely, it is peanut ndichifukwa chake you go on strike so that boma likuwonjezereni malipilo. I can challenge you kuti olo boma litamakulipilani K600,000 pa mwezi, if you don’t think of planting it or part of it, you will die poor and you will strike for more and more. Boma mukulizunzalo lilibenso njira zopangira money. Kukhapa Misonkho basi. No thinking beyond misonkho. Let us Malawians start a culture of Investing in diverse businesses. There are a million businesses that you can choose from. Osangokopera za ena. Osati transportation yokha yokha, why not manufacturing so that you can be a buyer for our produce in the villages. Ati poly graduate koma kulephera kupanga tooth pick. Green belt kumatiwonetsa timindandanda ta chimanga mumisewu, tingatukule dziko choncho. Let us think big. Misika yambilimbili kunja kuno koma kuti Ulesi amalawife. Nanga katundu wakunja kuno akugudwa bwa ndiye ife tikulephera bwa. Pano tikudya nsomba chambo kaya chani zaku Zambia kaya ku Zimbabwe koma chinyanja chonsechi, tikulephera olo kudyetsa dziko lathu lomwe ndi chambo. Misika yake iti mukunenayo. Ulesi basi. Ma bwana yambani ntchito zoti zingatukule inuyo pakhomo panu (Invest)komanso amalawi tonse by giving us outlets for markets through manufacturing. nanga misika kumadalira kunja kokha? why? Ulesiwo ndiwumenewu. Don’t just keep your money in the bank, its like putting your 1 talent under the stone. It will not multiply . Komanso achimwene osapitisa ndalama kumabanki akunja, for what? Ndiwolemera ameneaja, invest in Malawi and no need for foreign inversters. akumangotibera ameneaja. Munthu kumakhala ndima billion kwacha ku account, why? This is failing to think what to do with the money. Lazinesiyo ndi imeneyi. Ife alimi tinazolowera, after all poverty is relative. If you call me poor in public, I will sue you. This is how we lazy people get free money pa MALAWI. The behavior of the greater number of individual Malawians = the behavior of Malawi= LAZY ( INABILITY TO THINK OF HOW TO MAKE MORE MONEY)

  5. Luviriboy says:

    We Malawians lack innovativeness and we think just as the writer thinks. A lot of laziness and suffering from excusitis disease. People in big posts in Malawi die poor because they cant think of what to do with their money apart from chewing and moowing till the grass is over. Why emphasise on foreign investers when such people can do just that. Our towns look very outdated because we think it is governments duty to develop towns and cities by bringing in Malawi foreingers to build for us. Tulo amalawi. Wait a minute!!! should we keep on complaining about our weaknesses? definitely we know we are lazy and not innovative enough, highly dependant- beggers in all sences, crooked and some Malawian good thieves as some put it due to laziness. We must do something. Mind set change campaigns even if it mean a revolution.

  6. agogo says:

    zoona amalawi ndi alesi they want easy money thus all maka achinyamata amasikuano.

  7. wiz says:

    the fact is as much as government has contributed a lot to the poor economy of the nation, most Malawiain people are lazy full stop. malawians too lack leadership at all levels that can reinforce productive work ethic. The political situation in the countries just makes the already existing problem worse.Unfortunately Malawians dont even know that they are lazy coz the majority dont even know the other side of the coin, that pple in developed nations believe in work and that work and time managenement are crucial to development .Mavuto a ku malawi ndi osasimba kuti nkuyambira pati. malawi will take years of hard work and commitment to to see change. Unfortunately too, malawians dont believe in long term vision majority of us are short sightedness and therefore will struggle to support long term plans that requires hard work , determination and patience . pple will give up along the way coz they want to see change in just few years which is almost impossible., example, pple report to work at 10 am instead of 7. and osogolera akhale ma bwana , what wud followers do? pple then leave work at 3 pm instead of 4.30pm, on pay day ppl leave work to go and cash money and they do so for hrs, pple will spend hrs gossiping at work instead of working and they do so hrs,pple dont like to be challenged of their poor services , if ye do they withhold the services, pple expect to be bribed for the work they are paid for to do, ku lands, ku immigration , ku chipatala almost every area of public services it is a NORM and expectation to give bribes for services and ppl have accepted such , no wonder things stay long before being processed,. noone is accountable to anyone and ppl dont respect authority akuti democrancy???pple cannot attend a seminar to develop themselves without cash ,pple go for seminars mainly for cash, haa bunda college produces graduate that mainly will never go and work in agricultural fields- worst of resources, pple are trained teachers never work in education system, so many things are wrong in malawi i cant even begin.

  8. Bristol says:

    All in all, let’s accept we are lazy people as Malawians. Hardworking spirit advocated by HE Kamuzu Banda ended during HE Muluzi. During Kamuzu, Malawian Currency to a US Dollare was 2 : 1 because he knew that Malawi could survive with intensive agriculture. Many estates used irrigation for Tobacco before the inset of rains, but 20 years down the line, there is no trace of irrigation in these estates. In other works, we are moving from bad to worse. During HE Kamuzu, there was no FISP but the country developed through agriculture because there were loans accessed by Farmers through ADMARC. Lazy minds always look for free things – free fertilizer and seeds, free medicine, free cement and iron sheets and getting things free is counterproductive. Different Govt from HE Muluzi have had been initiating these programmes for political gains and not for development. Let’s ask ourselves, why is it that Driving Licences take 3 months to be produced even if you are renewing it? Why is it that passports take years when in real sense, they tell us of 20 days? Why is it that it takes months before a Civil servant could process documents at Capitol Hill? Why is it that ESCOM and Water boards take days or months for work that could be done in hours or days? Why should the Govt distribute coupons for FISP in November and December when they could do the exercise in August and September? It boils down to laziness both physical and mental.

  9. mtendere says:

    I agree with this treatise. It is not fair to call Malawi citizens lazy when the state does not provide the conducive environment to make them work with dedication.

  10. padoko says:

    The bottom line remains that we are indeed very lazy. There are more countries where its citizens are richer than their governments. Despite the governments weaknesses, as citizens we really need to adopt the hard working spirit like the Chinese.

  11. This article had alot of sense and big time research on what makes Malawi poor state with alot of things that can make it stand on its own but this animal called politics and the guyz who are in this field,ahh its a shame man I like your article happy new year pipo

  12. true says:

    Horror at Bwaila .
    Psychiatric Hospital.
    People who were brought to the institution but now recovered have been abandoned at the institution as relatives do not go back to fetch them.
    one Zambian national and one Mozambican national are also being kept there a year after their recovery despite their embassies being informed.
    Most pathetic is a lady who is at the Social Rehabilitation Center at Falls next to Simama hotel. She is a victim of Gender based violence who it seems the Zimbabwean Embassy is yet to take her back home. It is being alleged that she has bn there for a very long time.Can the papers do a thorough investigation.

  13. futuristic says:

    The fact be told we are soooooo lazy, if we can accept this fact then Malawi will change we like free things we like stealing,worse still from our own siblings.

  14. Angel of Doom says:

    The laziness of Malawians is seen in the comments they make on this page.

    “”Nice one Jimmy” “This is the best article I have ever read”” what does that mean? How does it contribute to the discussion? For most people articles like these are platforms for showing off that they are on the internet and nothing else.

    I wish Nyasa Times could remove the non-comments, and encourage health debate.

    I found a genuine chap on this page who left a number because he needed help. I contacted him and helped him, as opposed to some journalist who wrote a story about a grandmother bringing up her grand daughter on Chibuku. I contacted the journalist to arrange that I meet the Gogo, and see how I can help. Nothing come of it. which makes me think the story was not true.

    I disagree with Jimmy, that there is no conducive environment for people to thrive in Malawi. Like your cheese story, I too, have a story about a trade fare in South Africa.A Malawian organisation picked some farmers to go and showcase their crops.

    They went to South Africa with their beans and groundnuts, their crops were second to none, You can not compete with “Chalimbana and Nanyali” but the problem was, while farmers from Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania etc displayed their crops in display bags with labels, and their crops polished, looking good, the Malawi contingent carried their very high quality produce in plastic bags. That has nothing to do with Government, but the lazy mentality of Malawians.

    It goes without saying that nobody would place an order for import from someone who brings their produce in a plastic bag labelled IG Issa crumpled with handles and all.

    Are you telling me these farmers were given two hours notice? could they not have found an Asian who does packaging to do it for them, are you telling me it is governments job to package for a private person looking for a market out side the country?

    I call that laziness not thinking to package your goods properly.

    We may not be able to give grants for R&D, but sending someone to South Africa to show what they can provide, is our R&D funding.

    I only hope that those farmers learned from it, but knowing Malawians, they found someone to blame. It is never our fault in Malawi.

    1. all-i-can-say says:

      As much as I agree with what you have said, remember that Malawi is an emerging economy which lacks developed systems and infrastructure to support the growth of the private sector. Individuals can only do so much if the macro-economic environment is unpredictable from morning to afternoon. The government therefore in this case has to enact policies that reduce risk ie cost of doing business particularly for small and medium enterprises. One case in point is providing an opportunity for small scale traders to have more organised markets where produce is sold with minimum loss particularly for perishable products. State-backed marketing initiatives come to my mind. This would eventually have to be privately run when things become organised and producers (suppliers) and retailers start to work harmoniously where demand for goods is closely matched and more predictable so that people can produce what is demanded and are able to realise more predictable returns. In short the invisible hand of the government is facilitation of produce markets where traders are registered and offered some kind of protection. This will incentivise suppliers to work as partners to meet demand for particular products. Over time we will see more order and more value -adding activities to the products which look so mundane.

      Look at the way mobile phone companies operate in Malawi. The people are ripped off and no case of government against unscrupulous trading practices is initiated against operators. Service quality is poor and the government just looks on. This prevents ease of access to information for small enterprises and therefore contribute to cost of doing business. There is a lot the government can do to support enterprise growth.

      1. Mmihavani says:

        Achimwene All-I-Can Say zimene mukunena apazi ndi zoona ndithu I agree with you KOMA mMalawi ndi osatheka! Okanika. Government has tried this but nothing happens on part of a Malawian. We are crooked and short termists. I will give you examples. Auction Holdings Commodity Exchange is doing that for 4 years now but the participation of Malawians is so painfully minimal. They have spent huge sums of money sensitising the people but all in vain. They just want to sell their produce to whoever comes and use the money for kachaso. NASFAM had a very good organised market for groundnuts. The buyers prescribed minimum standards for the groundnuts but our people have been cheating by not following those standards. They put in stones so as to weigh heavy. Now the international market is angry with our groundnuts quality they are threatening NASFAM that they will no longer buy from Malawi. NGOs have given out free cows, goats etc but the moment they leave the animals are sold at less than half a price and use the money for kachaso and matemba. A poor family with no roof and food is having 7 children yet Banja La Mtsogolo ali paliponse with free mankhwala olela. Kungoyambitsa business yako kuwalemba ntchito malova the first day they steal from you, eroding your capital. Ayi ndithu. Let’s not blame government.

  15. Yonas says:

    Pay them handsomely, then you will reap the good rewards of an honest worker. The problem with company owners is transparency and halfchanging their employees, knowing well that it is the same guys who bring in the income that you use to buy yourselves poschy cars and build mansions whilst they go to the nearest corner to have the soles of their shoes mended just because they can not afford a minibus fare. Look into your work ethics first and organise yourselves before putting the blame on a person who is trying to earn a living just as yourselves. Broken promises have also contributed to this problem, juicy contract negotiations with peanuts as final product after being used. Incentivise them. I am sure the you got it. I passed through same ordeal put persevered

  16. Phiri says:

    That’s 80% true, Think about NGO run by Malawians, all think is to beg at cost of selling their country because of laziness, they can’t make money on their own but begging to their masters while they are destroying their country.

  17. Big brain says:

    Cheap analysis without practical touch to a greater extend. I agree with most people who have urged here we as Malawians are extremely lazy and disorganized and we pass the on to the next generations it’s sad that we all look at Government as an entity for the failure of this country all of us should shoulder the blame. We must start organizing g our villages and that wll trickle down to the whole country. Most collegues wh have done bussinesses will agree that it’s exremely tough to find reliable skilled labourers in Malawi! So the blame is on your shoulder, and on my should.

  18. New Malawi says:

    Thanks for this article, this element Lazy I hope is also encouraged by people who have atleast crossed boarders and feel the status of malawi should be taken from outside.

    My opinion is that much of Malawi nowadays is busy copying and tolerating habits that breed laziness. sacthet, call boys, corruption at places that people will only say but you are working at a nice department , not saying a corrupt place, biased employing methods, poor policies by many bodies e.g ( how can a city assembly come asking for city rates in a village, I though you educate pple first)the rise of product prices which do not tally with the economy e.g airtime, bus fares, lack of drugs e.t.c these contribute to killing the mentality of people to be dependant hence the name lazy.

  19. Blk boy says:

    Malawians are not lazy but they lack motivation and incentives in country.

  20. I do have a problem with some points put across. In general the work ethic of the generation currently entering the job market leaves a lot to be desired.

    From recent experience, any small business venture I have started has been met by theft , which actually put me out of business. This has happened so many times that I have spent almost 3 years looking for people with the right attitude, but they are in very short supply.

    Most of the times, I find a hard worker who is a crook, or if they are trust worthy then they are lazy.

    I feel there is still a major issue with our work ethic which cannot be compared to the time of Kamuzu. SOMETHING to think about. WHAT IS GOING WRONG??

    1. fkr says:

      You have hit the nail on the head. There is something very wrong with this generation.

  21. mmihavani says:

    Our priorities as citizens are wrong. The dream achievement of Malawians is to marry or get married and have as many children as possible. No wonder the population growth is skyrocketing. We do this relying on government to give us free everything. For example, the writer of this article finds time to write nyasatimes articles this time of the year. This is time when everybody should be busy tending to farms or gardens since agriculture is our backbone. Anzanu ali pa ntchito koma pano ali ku minda kulima soya, ntedza etc while some of you are crying to government. Muisova

  22. mmihavani says:

    Jimmy Kainja, I have always argued in my comments on your previous articles that with this type of thinking there is no way we can progress as a country. Our failure as a country is a shared responsibility between citizens and their government. Citizens in Malawi are squarely to blame. This is a chicken and egg situation. Governments make policies and citizens implement. Period! Since Kamuzu’s rule up to now there have been several policies aimed at empowering Malawians but tell me which Malawian took up that opportunity? I remember Kamuzu chased Indians from rural areas to pave way for indigenous people to run those businesses; now answer me how many of those shops survived? But the Indian who was chased is progressing. In your article you say that opportunities must be made available by government. You are very wrong!!! Citizens need to be innovative to find opportunities. Opportunities are never handed on a silver platter-they are sought. I will challenge you about this: take a thousand well educated Malawians and transfer them to USA and in turn bring 1000 Americans to Malawi. Assume all these people are transfered with only $500 each. I will guarantee you that within 5 years the Americans will be richer in Malawi with the same government while the Malawians will remain the same in USA. Can you tell me why, in this country you call hopeless, refugees from Burundi and Rwanda, poor Chinese and Indian immigrants are prospering? We are hopelessly not focused, we need to change our mindset.

    1. Kanthu Ako! says:

      Tell em!!

  23. golingo says:

    Mr writer go and ask president kaunda in zambia he has a better description of malawians!!! They are dead people! In other words he meant malawians are foolish and stupid!!!! What we know best is bonking each other nothing else!!!! Thus why we even accept mediore leadership!!!!!!!!

  24. kamfana says:

    Mathew Continent,you’re right,Malawians are not lazy people.Politics are what make us reduce our capabilities.Many Malawians who work outside Malawi,are taking high positions becoz.of hardworking & that in those countries the R&D was better started by the former leaders.How can a carpenter be given a hoe to work with it?Yes,he can to his common sense but it can produce products of poor quality.Call a child stupid if u were insisting in telling that child to change but the child was sturborn {stiff necked}.

  25. Wiseman from the south says:

    The whole issue was to reinforce the dependency syndrome .
    Enter Bingu
    Bingu borrowed a leaf from Bakili’ s starter pack by coming up with the Fisp. With no exit strategy in place this has created or better perpetuated the dependency hence political control over the People
    CONTROL breeds laziness and fatalism the key word is Control.

  26. Wiseman from the south says:

    I have read your article with interest : both adjectives ie fatalistic and lazy apply to the Malawian , But with qualifications ! !
    Since independence ,Government after Government have sought to control the life and soul of the Malwian by creating a case of extreme dependency; thus under Kamuzu we were advised to stop thinking , because “Kamuzu was not only thinking for ,he was even dreaming for us”
    We were advised to work hard ….but only sell the fruits of our hard work at predetermined prices at Admarc !
    Exit Kamuzu enter Bakili
    Bakili ‘s approach was deal relentless blows to the Malawian psyche by repeatedly telling us that we were dirt poor and therefore beyond any redemption. He as a President had to travel the wide world beggar bowl inhand just for us to survive !

  27. Malawi says:

    I will still point my finger at politicians. They are the root cause of all this in poor countries including Malawi. There are poor people with great Ideas but because they are not well connected, they go with their Ideas and vision
    to the grave. Politians are greedy. How much aid has been pumped in poor countries and how much has benefited the intended people? In poor countries, only those well connected get dodgy contracts. If Malawians were lazy, all of us will just be lying in our beds waiting for handouts. Alot of us wake up in the morning to our farms then the rich famous politicians monopolize everything. They oppress us. Because our voice cannot be heard and as we cannot go to higher places to negotiate for better deals, we accepts whatever is offered on the table and then be labelled ogona or opusa. Its a vicious cycle. We remain poor and goes on. All we need is a leader with a vision for all. Someone who recognises that there are gems in the villages. People who requires recognition and the stepping stone to kick start. There is no fairness. There are some who have managed on their own but more needs the input of the govt. Not all Malawians are lazy.

  28. Masoambeta says:

    Malawians are lazy to be frank. Why do the majority of us resort to stealing from their own workplaces???? From our own brethren?? Evading taxes. Telling lies to hoodwink people. Evil men and women!
    Why is the place in chaotic state if it were ran and lived by hardworking people??
    To the writer; you might be educated but are still very ignorant!!



  30. Malawiana says:

    There is ample proof that Malawians are lazy and too lazy and disorganised to say the least. We have seen foreigners from Nigeria, Burundi, Somalia, etc coming to the country and exploiting business opportunities and getting rich in the process while Malawians just sit and complain. Just which government invested in the fortune of these foreigners? It is mere personal commitment and intuition that drives individual or collective success. The only area where Malawians are hardworking is in the wanton manufacturing of babies which has worsened the poverty levels of the country as Government cannot cope with the increasing population in terms of job creation and provision of social services.

  31. Cashgate 1 says:

    Hahahaha, I like this fella, well urged. I at times hate politicians or other elites individuals when they transfer the responsibilities of govt to its citizens. Why should govt do that. If govt fails to do its mandated why should they expect its citizen to do it. In year 2015 govt should work hard, whatever that means. One thing they should do is to control these commercial banks because they are stealing and reaping people. How can somebody pay more than 50% on a loan from bank. PURE CORPORATE STEALING

  32. Jason Bourne says:

    This is a very intelligent post. Albert Einstein said ‘its a kind of madness to do things over and over again expecting different results.’ I wonder why I politicians make the same mistakes previous politicians made and think the old ways and expect to change things. This is why we move in circles. Malawians are indeed not lazy this is why when Malawians move abroad they easily get jobs because of the reputation of hard work. Here at home Malawians lack incentives and motivation.

  33. Kanthu Ako! says:

    The lazy label is justified.

    There are so many people in this country that have done just what you are talking about. They have given machines (tractors) to their villages and inducted people into small scale irrigation.

    For a start, villagers expect to be given a tractor, and have it maintained for them when it breaks down, meanwhile, they do not use it to work their gardens, but hire it out day in day out, use the money to look big (Kwathu kuli thekitale)

    The laziness in Malawians is not just physical laziness, but also mental. Thinking ,for a Malawian is very painful.

    Your story about your cheese friend is fictitious,meant to give you a way to have a swipe at DPP, how many businesses closed during Muluzis time? was it due to a lack of fuel and forex?

    It is very surprising to note that, because we did not like Bingu, his tenure in office is said to be the worst we have ever had.

    We conveniently forget that during Muluzis tenure, a lot of people died of starvation ( We had a saying ” People were failing to bury their dead because they were so weak to do anything”) this is not myth it actually happened, yet Muluzi kept maize for campaign, and we say Muluzi was the best president so far. Why? was it because he mixed with thieves?

    I saw with my own eyes kids like we see on TV skin and bones. If there was a worst tenure of a president Muluzis was it.

    We are in all this shit because of Muluzi, not Bingu. Muluzi wasted 10 years, and the aftermaths are being blamed on DPP.

    Pelekani Malunga is a product of the Muluzi era, Muluzi hob knobed with thieves, the Kasambalas, Mphwiyos, marshall Duke, Chilomoni baby, Macholowe, Ghambi,Mwitha,(Thank God the worst ones are dead, can you imagin what it would be like today if they were still alive? Most of us would have been dead by their hand) and now it is the kids that worked under these people that are terrorising the towns. I know for a fact that Pelekani Malunga was Kwacha’s boy.

    Why do we expect to fix ten years of mismanagement in less than ten years? It takes minutes to destroy a house, but it would take you years to put it back to what it used to be, you may never even manage that.

    Malawians are lazy and stupid.

  34. ujeni says:

    Who is this Malawi government made up of? People from Antarctica? It comes back to look yourself in the mirror, it still is Malawians

  35. Wodala says:

    I agree. Hardworking, there must be something to work on. We in Malawi can only work in our small piece of land during a given period. What else should we be doing during the rest of time?
    Then we have churches and prophets who tell us that we will be rich the following day even if we don’t work.

  36. swiswiri mbewa says:

    Good read. Indeed we have majority doing backbreaking jobs for survival and not growth and development. The outcome is the yawning gap between the poor and rich. Our economy is exploitative that is why the state’s intervention is important to create enabling environment for economic opportunities.

  37. Njalayamalamuchiuno says:

    The most serious disincentive to production in our land,over the years,has been the failure by the Governments to offer a market system that can adequately compersate farmers for their sweat. This has made farmers switch from one crop to the other in search of a better market opportunity for their crop. The kind of dilema created by this scenario has landed us in the current finger pointing situation. It is not uncommon to see farm produce,such as tomatoes or soyabeans, that are perishing on the farm or road sides due to lack of market. It is high time we balanced up our approach on production, accessibity and marketing.

  38. Achisale Kumangoni says:

    What baffles my mind is that our leaders know how advanced our neighboring countries are but brainwash us due to the highest illiteracy levels. We as Malawians are living in the preindustrial revolution ages where the economy was based on agriculture used by manpower. Amid plenty of fresh water from Lake Malawi and Shire river we are dying of hunger and with no provision of water including in cities. We are really a fatalistic state.

  39. bryan says:

    Nice and beautiful article, our foolish president thinks Malawians are lazy, his stupid ideas are doing nothing jst stealing money. Dziko ili limandiwawa, not bcos of nsanje but kulikondetsetsa, that’s why sometimes I feel like taking away this foolish president by other ways.

  40. yohane says:

    This is a good argument and we are not supposed to call Malawian farmers lazy people. One smallholder farmer said that FISP is bad currently because people are not making budget for fertilizer and investing in farming. We expect the by now the number of beneficially to decrease but its not. The policy for fisp program should be changed

  41. fathi slshehaab says:

    well not lazy but too much idleness i would say.
    to an extent that majority of us participate in reproducing poverty and even hunger…worst being the Policians….you know why? aziwoneka othanduza by giving subsiduzed fertiluzer seeed cement malata mbuzi ngo’ombe…even subsidized family life.
    the problm Govt and the governed. shame realy !!

  42. Mughogho Bishop says:

    May be the State/Government is lazy…

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