Kachaje: One more night with frogs

Picture this: Your house and the entire town has been invaded by frogs. They are everywhere, in your bedroom, in your bathtub, in you lounge, in the kitchen, on your veranda, on your favourite relaxing couch… frogs everywhere! You are frying some tender chunks of T-bone steak, and alas, three frogs jump into the frying pan and now you have a mixture of beef and frogs. Imagine something that disgusting.



Then comes a person offering a solution; “I leave to you the honour of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs.” What would be your response? If it was me, I would tell this  God-sent prophet that please pray now nownow! But guess the response from this person who had the authority over an entire kingdom -“Tomorrow”, Pharaoh said.

In other words, “I and my people desire to live with the frogs one more night. How crazy and what a ridiculous choice! Moses, the man who had offered to pray and rid of the frogs replied, “It will be as you say.”(Exodus 8:9 & 10). Moses left, and the king and his entire kingdom spent another night with the frogs. The End.

Unfortunately it is not. The story continues more than four thousand years later in a country called Malawi. Bakili Muluzi, then president, when launching Vision 2020 acknowledged that “in the absence of long term shared vision, it will be very difficult to make meaningful progress.” That was 1998. One would think there would be a sense of urgency and progress in aligning all our national policies, actions and efforts towards this long-term shared vision. Sadly,  no. We discarded the vision and preferred a few more nights with frogs.

All the succession governments have preferred petty projects like distributing cows, goats, building houses for individuals, distributing cement and iron sheets, distributing cheap fertilizer expensively – or any short-term projects with no long term sustainability mechanisms. In other words, our leaders and we, the followers still prefer “one more night with frogs”.

The Green Belt Initiative – a brilliant dream shared by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika. “We will not only feed ourselves, but also become the bread basket of Southern Africa”, he challenged us. very possible, quite an  achievable dream. But sadly, we still preferred one more night with the frogs of hunger as we prioritized FISP over a long term solution – irrigation farming.

During the May 2014 presidential campaign, all the candidates looked were very wise. The DPP manifesto even promised to set up a long-term planning council. Two years down the line, we are still consulting on “how to set up a national planning council”. No sense of urgency – one more night with the frogs of mediocrity, vision-less direction and of course, short-term projects.

“We will reform the public sector to make it more efficient and effective. This will be one of our key priorities”, we were promised. Almost two years down the line, “learning trips” have been made far and wide, a beautiful report produced. Very  little progress on the ground. One more night with the frogs.

We have been offered help several times to get rid of our frogs, and we know they are a nuisance, they are derailing our economic progress. They have left us hungry again, most ADMARC depots are dry – yet we know had we heavily invested in the Green Belt Initiative ten years ago, had we made the public service reforms two decades ago, had we decisively dealt with corruption roots ruthlessly, had we diversified our export base, we wouldn’t be panicking today. The economy wouldn’t be in such a sorry state. But no, we did not, and might not take any action. We are comfortable with “one more night with the frogs”. What a poor choice.

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25 thoughts on “Kachaje: One more night with frogs”

  1. Mzati Noxie says:

    Usiku umodzi,ndi achule.The Malawis scenario.

  2. Kaka T says:

    keep on opening our mind

  3. Mswachi says:

    Unfortunately we Malawians are resigned to sleep with frogs one more night. Reason; lack of patriotism. Blind political loyalties based pn regionalistic tendencies. Is Chakwera really capable of overthrowing a government let alone a democratically elected one? Failure of the intelligence services.

  4. Samson Chinula says:

    Thumbs up bwana.Am becoming your disciple.

  5. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    If life gives you frogs, make cuisses de grenouille a la Provencale.

  6. dorobuchi says:

    One other problem is the observation that every new Govt in Malawi inherits a collapsing economy. We first try to mend the ailing economy before we embark on strategising for the long term. By the time we start thinking long term, it is campaign time once again, and how we enjoy politicking! In the second term we throw any inroads of the first term to the dogs and abuse voters’ mandate.

  7. Sailota says:

    Achuledi enieni. Enawanso, ndi ananthese.

  8. bmwebmwe says:

    a Kachaje ndinu munthu wa nzeru mwamva.

  9. Phaghlani Vwavwa says:

    The fat mother of all the frogs that Kachaje is talking about is TRIBALISM. Soon or later civil strife due to tribalism will strike this country and the little development that people see around will vanish. Be afraid.

  10. Charlie Hebdo says:

    Mr Kachaje please buy a book that was launched recently about Malawi Lost years, you are just talking the languaje of the book going into government is an entiltlement to plunder public resources

  11. Charlie Hebdo says:

    Thumbs up, Mr Kachaje. This is a wonderful piece. Straight from Cashgate, still experiencing the ills of it to the extent that it is being blamed for the problems we are currently experiencing by our president, we are still treating corruption with kids gloves. “One night with frogs” indeed.

  12. Apao Kugola says:

    Kachaje as a practicing economist knows what he writes. Enanu abwampini mumangotsutsa zili zonse due to blind towing on party lines. If you don’t understand economics why not just SHUT UP? Leave the conversation to those of us who can follow the story line.

    Shaaa anthu anthu opanda nzeru pa nyasatimes pano.

    The Fearless Samurai

  13. Jongwe says:

    @1 Thom Mpinganjira does not produce anything. He does not even have a farm.
    The economy is not about owning a bank.

  14. Area 43 says:

    Too many frogs indeed starting with the big frog at Kamuzu Palace.

  15. 2016 welcome says:

    @1 If you have personal issues with Kachaje that’s another thing. But what he has written here has substance. Why do you want to throw bath water with the baby? In fact what Kachaje has shared with us here could be what the Thom Mpinganjira you are touting does in terms of decision making.

  16. kukhala says:


  17. So what’s the solution Mr Kachaje? are you saying the move taken by your President Chakwera [to overthrow the democratically elected government] is the solution in order not to stay with the frogs one more night?
    If yes, then I better stay with the Frogs one more night..

  18. So what’s the solution Mr Kachaje? are you saying the move taken by your President Chakwera [to overthrow the democratically elected government] is the solution in order not to stay with the frogs one more night?
    If yes, then I better stay with the Frogs one more night.

  19. So what’s the solution Mr Kachaje? are you saying the move taken by your President Chakwera [to overthrow the democratically elected government] is the solution in order not to stay with the frogs one more night?
    If yes, then I better stay with the Frogs one more night

    1. Charlie Hebdo says:

      Did you read the article? Had you read, you wouldn’t be asking this silly question. Mr Kachaje has provided or proposed solutions right in the article.

  20. levelheaded says:

    The most painful thing I endure of being a Malawian is of even failing on agriculture which we claim to be the backbone of our economy. We could fail in mining, tourism and industry and not agriculture to the extent of beging food from the countries which dont prioritise it.
    Is being an agro based industry just a song? Then if we are failing at everything,what are we good at?

  21. Aningo says:

    Poor Wids, divorce theory and “practical” at your own peril, boy.

  22. ZALEWA says:

    No no no!

    Zatonyanya !!

    Mbwiyache !@
    Mapeyala kuno

  23. Thitherward 'wendo says:

    #1, why do you comment on the supposed nature of the messenger and ignore his message? He suggests a practical solution to our problem – irrigation farming. Recently, two comments on this issue went unnoticed – one from Ted Crampton of Micro-Well on a promising bore-hole project, and one from me on hydraulic ram-pumps.

    There is nothing theoretical about either of these suggestions.

  24. wids says:

    Kachanje is more of a theory man than practical. issues of economy can best be talked by the likes of thom Mpinganjira.

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