Congratulations Malawi for Chinese aid package, but …

I have been trying so hard to avoid commenting on the recent aid package that our President and the DPP government boasts to have secured from China. My hesitation did not derive from the revelation that these deals were already stricken by former president Joyce Banda, but I was worried that, given our traditional understanding of aid and development, which usually ignores the big picture of the politics and economics associated with foreign assistance, somebody would think I do not appreciate the aid.

Mutharika during China visit

Mutharika during China visit

But in the spirit of the recently launched, “REFORM TO TRANSFORM movement” which drives my soul, I am compelled to say, Congratulations to the government but…

All these projects are mere political instruments and are common among leaders and governments in Africa and other developing Nations. What happens is that our leaders, and foreign governments and corporations strike deals which make huge money for foreign corporations and serve political interests of foreign governments. But then our leaders benefit by boosting their political image at home for the visible catchy infrastructure. Yet, majority local rural people, who endure much of the crushing weight of poverty, do not really benefit because such projects and deals do not address their “immediate” welfare needs.

Look, most of these projects have nothing to do with the real challenges of the suffering majority in our villages. Our suffering grandparents, and mothers and children in our villages and rural centres need permanent food supply throughout the year. They need easily accessible clinics and hospitals with ever adequate medical supplies and enough professional medical practitioners. They need easily accessible education materials and facilities. They need ever flowing clean and safe water. They need substantial amount of money in their pockets to buy clothing, shoes, salt, sugar and access similar foundational necessities that address their immediate welfare.

I know somebody does not agree with me, but ask yourself, what exactly are the priority needs of our people, and how exactly do these celebrated Chinese projects solve them? What about the jobless young people who roam our streets like useless homeless cats? What about those young people struggling with miserable jobs in our cities which do not pay them even enough to pay house rent? they walk several kilometres to and from work twice a day every day and cant even afford lunch at work etc? How do these projects solve their challenges? This is the class of people that our government must be directing its effort towards, at least in the immediate consideration. The struggling people need to be lifted up the ladder from the lower stratum of our society.

Let me provoke you this way about these projects. Imagine, just for thinking purpose, they say, a hospital at Kameza? but are we sure there will be medicine in that hospital, and are we going to have nurses there since government cant employee anymore nurses? And if at all we might have some medical practitioners there, will they get salaries? What about the Technical colleges in question? After we have trained our youths, will the economy give them the jobs or business opportunities to utilize their acquired skills? Talk about the said, promotion of value addition activities at the Ministry of Industry and Trade? what value addition and to which services or products? We are ‘not really’ producing anything to add value to, not services and not products.

The only important project that only attempts to address part of our basic need is the 300 megawatt “coal fired” power plant. Yes, we need extra generation of power and energy for industrial and domestic purposes. But this project has its major drawbacks too, especially in this age when the entire world is advocating for the abandonment of fossil fuels and espousing policies that promote clean energy projects to combat effects of the fatal global warming and environmental degradation. So we can do better on that too.

Now, understand me very well. I am not saying these projects are trash and totally useless. My argument is that these are the type of projects which politicians across the developing world use just to manage their political image and entice votes while running away from implementing bold policies and initiatives which priorities interests of the poor people and address deep-rooted indigenous challenges for good.

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24 thoughts on “Congratulations Malawi for Chinese aid package, but …”

  1. levelheaded says:

    Sibande what qualification do you have? How can you write something so stinking like this? Koma umaganiza bwinobwino? Kuteloko akazi anu amanena kuti ndili ndi mwamuna kunena inuyo, kuganiza kombwambwana kuli thooo.sukuwona wekha kuti zomwe wafunsazo mayankho ake ali momwemo? Boma likayamba kumanga zitukuko zonsezo anthu ambiri apeza ntchito. Kapena umafuna kuti boma lilemberetu madokotala chipatala cha khansacho asanamange? Nyapapi wachabechabe.

  2. Sir Bentby says:

    Kugula mbale ndi mapoto, Munyumba mulibe ufa, just to show neba kuti nafeso timavaya Ku salaula….

  3. John says:

    SIBANDE MUST BE DULL. WE HAVE SO MANY PROGRAMMES THAT TARGET THE POOR SUCH AS SUBSIDY PROGRAMME, FOOD FOR WORK, SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME, MALATA AND CEMENT, DISASTER RELIEF PROGRAMME, ETC.

    WE ALSO NEED INFRASTRUCTURE TO INVESTORS COMFORT, HENCE THE ROADS, AIRPORTS, HOTELS, ETC. MOREOVER, EVEN AS PART OF THE CHINSE PROJECT PACKAGE, THERE IS ONE ON HOSPITAL AND CANCER CENTRE IN BLANTYRE. WHATELSE DO YOU WANT??

    THERE IS ALSO Makanjira ROAD. is that not pro-poor? if you don’t have ISSUES, just SHUT UP!!

  4. Mungete says:

    Well written article. Sibande u r a great researcher and an accomplished journalist. Keep on writing good scripts. Some people take it as a crime to criticize their preferred parties. Nchifukwa chake amatukwana

  5. Blessed Hope says:

    The writer knows what it means to be in the grassroot. Devt must have foundation or else it wont address the needs of the citizens.

  6. Patriot says:

    Chitukuko cha masteni ichi, deal was signed by JB [ http://www.nyasatimes.com/2013/06/04/malawi-pres-banda-in-china-cuts-energy-deals/%5D
    Palibe zimene bwampiniyu wachita

  7. Kenkkk says:

    This is becoming a joke or no longer a joke. Development projects for the south are all fully funded by the Chinese or other foreigners while those for the north if any are all dependent on MRA domestic funding which is non-existent.

    The south is benefiting, yet the tonnes of so called mineral samples for testing were taken from the north to China. It is an absolute disgrace. Back door deals.

    These dpp thugs have even by passed parliament decision to have a national cancer unit in Lilongwe, they will build theirs in the south first before the Lilongwe one. They were not pleased for Lilongwe to have a cancer unit at the expense of the south.

    Wake up northerners. It is time we started making noise direct to the funders or donors how this corrupt govt is neglecting us. We are tired of so called token projects.

  8. learnedmi says:

    I WISH AUTHORS WOULD PUT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS.
    PLEASE CONSULT THE EXPERTISE.

  9. cnkhuto says:

    To the writer: do you think Chinese could come here and farm for your so called grandma? You think coal power station will not benefit Malawians? What is energy? We need power to drive our irrigation machine and if you grandma doesn’t have one, buy her. Cancer center, BT district hospital, Chileka Airport will bring employment and if your grandfather is too old to work then you should work on their behalf, get money and buy them food, drugs, house and groceries he need. Vuto lako ukuyang’ana zotheka kale. Ukufuna wina akubweretsere chakudya, madzi, mankhwala iwe uli pheee pakhonde lachisakasa chako and you will say you have been met. Stupid thinking and blind looking at things. When will we stat looking at issues in a broader picture, Malawians? Foolish and ngati uli ulesi ufa ndithu.

  10. Dickson says:

    Mr Layson Goodwin Sibande, you are a shame to the media fraternity if indeed you are one of them.
    1st you have shown to the the page readers that you fail to understand the compact given to the Malawi government and it’s benefits.
    2nd, you have shown that you are a very bad citizen who want to see your country continue suffering.
    3rd, you have clearly shown to the readers the party you belong to hence the failing to appreciate the effort being explored by the government to ease the challenges Malawi is going through.
    You mean you don’t even know that the job creation you are mentioning here can be eased by having the infrastructure projects that will create jobs you are mentioning here, iwe nd I mbuli ya mtolankhani ndithu…
    You mean you can’t understand this simple mathematics of having a new cancer hospital in Blantyre that will give an employment to the doctors and nurses who are currently in colleges?
    You mean you can’t understand the impact of having an international airport that will improve the tourism sector in the south by having more visitors that will land here in Blantyre and spend their night in our hotels and lodges around? Did you go school koma and which school??????
    You mean you don’t understand that good road network is the very crucial in developing the nation by having farmers transporting their farming produce to the market where they will fetch for good prices??????
    What kind of creature are you??????? Shame to you and whoever sent you to write this rubish that promotes hatred……

  11. Father says:

    ADADA SIBANDE NDI KUKUNVESANI. NTUMBUKA NDI CHIFUKWA CHAKE MUKUSALIDWA ANTHU ANASIYA KUKUKHULUPILILANI, NSANJE TOO MUCH. NDIYE INE NDI KUKUNVESA NDI WUTUMBUKA WAKOWO. KOMA CHIMENE UKUYENELA KUZIWA NDI CHAKUTI MLOMWE SIWOSEWELA NAYE AKUMALIZANI ZAKA ZAKE NDIZIMENEZI TIYENI NAZONI.

    1. Za mitundu apa ayi ukudziwa bwanji kuti uyuyu ndi mtumbuka?Mwina wango zitchulapo Sibande.Koma ineyo ndine northerner.You know nthawi zonse amene akudya bwino amaona enawo ngati wopusa, koma ndimathokoza Mulungu kuti nthawi yimabwera ndipo wochenjeretsa amazatheka kuzindikira mavuto mmene amakhalira, ndipo ubwino wake yankho limakhala pakamwa pakepo.Time will tell Mulungu ndi Mulungu you shall experience it.Just learn from Palestinians how Israel yikukhalira nawo ndipo ndi boma lobwera mmbuyo poyambapo amadyerera ndiwo ma Jews akuvutika mmtima.Ndiye dont let things reach such hatred.Mnzako akamalira mutonthoze and make friendship with him by sharing whatever is in the plate.Umbombo/kuzikonda sibwino let love lead us as one nation.You are the people to make corrections today not 2morrow.Mark my words.

  12. Pat says:

    Karonga, Chitipa and Sibande can wait for amayi. She will soon return with development projects for you. Akungompatsa maudindo ankhaninkhani azungu kunjaku, ndiye poti munamvotera, akamabwera ndalama sidzakhala nkhani.

  13. Babayaro Nyirenda says:

    Do you people know that a Cancer Centre will be built in Lilongwe and it was already agreed in the last Parliament kapena mungoziwa kukamba zopanda pake. This will be the second Cancer Center in Malawi and after that another one will be built in Mzuzu. Kumafunsa kaye. And Mr. Writer these deals were never stricken by Joice Banda. What happened when she came? Did she tell anybody? Was there any information. Mmene amakhalira JB akanabisa nkhani yokoma ngati iyi? hahahahahahaha koma Amalawi timakhaladi ndi nsanje. No wonder when JB was opening the Karonga – Chitipa road she also wanted to cheat the whole world that it was her initiative ahem!!!!!!

  14. nobel says:

    Don’t blame the author please becoz the se projects will not be similar to projects as funded by Western countries. Chinese use their own casual labourers, just imagine! It could have impacted more youths graduating from colleges if it was western donors but with the Chinese funding, forget about local empowerment

  15. mbina says:

    kumva mothamanga amalawi eeeeish problem. the cancer hospital for Lilongwe is still on and nothing has changed. since dpp really wanted one in the south, asova through this Chinese grant basi, no nkhani.

  16. Kakha uErutu says:

    Mr. Lyson Goodwin Sibande, your article tells a lot about your ignorance of how development works. In the spirit of love, I am advising you to consult professionals in the field before you write about things you don’t understand.

    I will not go into telling you where you got it wrong but I can only advise you to consult the experts before you go public.

    Ignorance is not a sin but it destroys (The Holy Bible, Hosea 4:6). Do not let your profession go to waste.

  17. william says:

    This so project I doudt if it will help us malawians, there’s no proper road in the North, am frm kanjuchi mabilabo side, to tell u the truth we nomaly use kasungu hospital in our area mzimba is too far, and we don’t have proper road sometime we just die in a disease that could have cured. In southern there’s so many hospital and prive clinic when we have ziro, how’s that ? We demand that its time to look at in the rural area we need those facilitys, not all of us can stays in Town.

  18. Please, can someone point out one so called CHINESE PROJECT ear mark for the North…! how many in the Central n South ??????

  19. jk says:

    Mmmh! Lets assume we have enough nurses, well paid & drugs in the country. Will the people at Kameza get these services under a tree. D u know how quality ggets compromised with congestion of service seekers be it in education etc. This article seem not to present the point u intend to raise, which z No no work done by APM. This is either becoz of tribal or political reasons!

  20. Captain Mediocrity says:

    GBI (Green Belt Initiative) which began in the Bingu administration is an initiative aimed at food security, that is supposed to take care of long term issues of food security, so it is actually about the 85% who live in the rural areas who are the most affected by the “annual hunger monster”

    I believe the southern region is the most densely populated region in Malawi so I would assume that having the referral hospital in the southern region makes sense in that aspect at least. The problem with us as Malawians is that we are looking at short term solutions to long term goals. Simply putting medicine in a hospital does not fix what is actually wrong with our health system. We should be adding to the debate and keeping ourselves abreast of all the projects and policies being implemented, otherwise the time to make meaningful contribution will pass us by…..Vuto la amalawi we always discuss things in retrospect

  21. No Laughing Matter says:

    This writer knows exactly what he taking about. Everything that government does must be interlinked so it achieves desired results. Mr writer brilliant may be ask for a job in government so you can help them. Too many of them are educated but aren’t creative. They need people like you.Our government does not have problem solvers

  22. Nasimba Novirhikana says:

    kodi ma MP mesa munagwilizana kuto khansa chipatala chimangidwe pamchombo. Kodi iwowa akuthawitsa ndani.
    Kodi kapena ndiza kampeni.

  23. The real ujeni says:

    Well articulated. Now let dull people disagree and insult the writer. How can a cancer Hospital be built at a corner of a country as if we already have one at the centre. How accessible will it be for people of Karonga and Chitipa?

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