Malawi is a poor nation of losers- Idriss Nassah

Just the other day,  Prophet Shepard Bushiri threw a good K44 million of his own money down the drain. He donated it to the Football Association of Malawi, ostensibly to assist those perennial losers called The Flames, the men’s national soccer team.

President Mutharika with Idriss Ali Nassah

President Mutharika with Idriss Ali Nassah

If it’s wining that Bushiri was after, he may have to wait for a very long time.

I feel sorry for Malawians, who have to keep on supporting the Flames because they are Malawian, it is the patriotic thing to do, and have no other choice.  Maybe Bushiri was moved to throw his money down the pit because some of the players in that team seem like they are genuinely trying to win so there is always a bit of sympathy for them.

But the sorry state of Malawi’s national soccer team doesn’t inspire much confidence, even to its most fervent supporters. Often, the team goes into matches without adequate preparations yet hope to win. Walter Nyamilandu, the perpetual president of the Football Association of Malawi told the team before their last game against Guinea in March to “pray to God for spiritual guidance”. Malawi lost the game.

Algernon Sidney was probably right, “God helps those who help themselves”.

Somewhere I heard of a pastor who sold “anointed pens” to students who were about to write national examinations, promising that they will pass excellently regardless of their preparations.

That’s the Malawian disease; love for handouts and miracles.

It’s a national malaise discernible in our politics, in the workplace, the civil service and eventhe educational system.

The paradox is that Malawi is a nation that survives on handouts but has leaders who live like kings.

Peter Mutharika has refused to reduce his presidential powers, and with that, effectively refused to reduce his many perks.

Mutharika has state residences in Blantyre, Mangochi, Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Zomba and even Nsanje. That’s six. Which means the taxpayer is paying for six of everything; so there are six presidential beds, six stoves, six big flatscreen TVs, six of household furniture and the list of sixes goes on and on.  Maintaining this largess is hurting the poor people of Malawi but I don’t know if the president understands any of this, or even cares.

It should be obvious, you would think, that poor Malawi doesn’t actually need six state houses for a president who spends most of his time in Lilongwe, anyways.

When I met Mutharika last July, he told me he was in it for the public good and that he was not going to live large and have a shindig at taxpayers’ expense.

If he is honest, Mr. president will know that a turn-around wont come without sacrifices. One sacrificehe needs to make is to let go of the extravagance of unfettered power.

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) met with Mutharika three weeks ago, for what was billed as a bare-knuckle discussion about the direction the country was taking.

From the moment I learnt that the meeting was live on television, I knew it was going to be just hot air. TV is a contaminating variable, especially in a context where people are meant to be brutally honest to each other. On live TV, people tend to pander to the whims of the viewing public and play to the gallery.

Peter Mutharika played that well, stating in front of the TV cameras that he was the president who doesn’t take deadlines from anyone, effectively elevating his status to that above everyone else. PAC should have insisted on a discussion that wasn’t live on TV unless, of course, members of PAC also wanted their proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

That was yet another opportunity lost.

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17 thoughts on “Malawi is a poor nation of losers- Idriss Nassah”

  1. Mjomba says:

    Pena zeru zanu zopusazi ndizomwe zikupangitsa ma donor kuthawa malawi, who built all presidential Residences, and who is supposed to sell them. ukufuna mawa udzalembenso kuti boma DPP ndi President Munthalika lagulitsa ma nyumba a boma, sindine wachipani koma tiyeni malawi tidzilemba zinthu zomwe zitha kutukula malwi. monga zomwe walembazio zilipom zimange malawi. ukanalemba zoti wayambitsa ulimi wa bowa ndiyue boma silikukugula inali nkhani ina.

  2. Kholowa mkabudula says:

    How can the nation prosper with this kind of pipo like you Iddris who have even no clue of what you want to report to the nation? You are busy filling pipo’s heads with shit, do you expect them to think wisely? Shame on you!

  3. zukulu says:

    sour news tellers.check History of Republic of Malawi. Has Peter built all those palaces yu say? or they were built yrs ago? which thus means that all his predecessors used those infrastructures. nde uyu walakwa chan kut He as yu suggest leave the state houses? akulu sukulu yake iti yomwe imakuphunzitsani inu kut mukalembe diz illogical hear says? yu even fail to see that u lack dat story telin skill such dat yo news iz incoherent…ngat mwatopa kazigonani osati muzilemba zopusaz ayi. dont think kut we can simply recive that giberish yu av writen, we av minds to think n eyes to see n thus judge.. SO YU CALL THIS FREEDOM OF SPEECH? Koma Zamanyaz ndithu

  4. Health and Food Organisation says:

    Just like ntata, job seekers just repeating what others have already talked about! Do you think thid repetition will yield anything?

  5. Kamuzu says:

    Useless piece of writing.

    Nomwenu mukamba za Bushiri, Flames kenako Peter. Why trying to coordinate unrelated things. This is exactly the Malawian thinking using a running nose.

    Ku treasury kwadzadza ndi atumbuka akuba ndalama. Close those State Houses, you think the money will be used for what? Buying medicine? My foot.

    just accept you are a Malawian, and your country is the poorest nation in Southern Africa and it’s on the brink of becoming the poorest country in the world….. accept it and you’ll stop worrying.

  6. Jelbin Mk says:

    The other thing that baffles me everyday is the issue of allowances, why do we give too much allowances to the President and other government officials while at the same time they are pocketing huge salaries. For example, the President and his vice get a good salary but we pay for their groceries, clothing yes even under wears and they don’t pay tax, custom as well as school fees for their own children and even nefews. Some one will tell me that this happens everywhere in the world, but are our problems the same as those of other countries? South Africa is far richer than Malawi which could afford exempting some top government officials from paying tax but all its citizens pay tax including Zuma so where is our sanity? We say we are poor but we spend more than the really rich nations. The same SA has only Union building as the state house and when the President travels to cape town for Parliament sitting he sleeps in a hotel. Are we better than them? Lets think and grow rich as Napoleon Hill said in his book.

  7. Jelbin Mk says:

    It is unfortunate that there are still some people in this 21st century tvat believe that the President and his administration should not be held responsible for the failures that arises during their tenure of office. And we still have people within the boarders of malawi that still think that it will do us good to repeat the same processes and come up with different results. History has proven that the statusquo of power concentration in the presidency will not help us and has failed us. I personally agree with the writer that our state houses are worhty nothing while the President resides in one house at a time. I do believe that we are not poor but that the plan poorly and that we have our priorities upside down. Look how much is being squandered in our embassies, one embassy has squandered 293 million kwach and i believe this is not the highest figure looted in our embassies. There are alot of lootings in some other embassies including South African embassy of ours and USA but these two can not be mentioned because it is where top government officials including Peter have channels transferring money into their hidden accounts. Remember what our president said after writing an 8 million dollar wealth declaration he said he could give the consent to the media to verify his claim that he owned cash worthy 8 million dollars, did he do that? Why???????. After noting that it was going to be very hard to explain this wealth he changed tune and reduced the figure saying it was a handwriting error, really??. He did realise that once you score a million dollar in the US you are being listed among millionaires in your community but this dude evaded that list why??. We can’t go forward with leaders of this high level of dishonest thus why we are in this mess now.

  8. Travellor man says:

    What you describe here is the problems with black people all over the world in general. They consume and live a lifestyle beyond their means, and they believe they are entitled. And they do not produce, even when there is arable land, river near by and good weather, and lots of un employed youths including graduates from agriculture universities. I was in Angola recently from Lusaka. African in these countries are buying and eating Chinese grown vegetables and raised chickens. Can you imagine, young chinise travelling half a cross the globe to grow food stupid Africans who are always starving among plenty! Our leaders are as stupid as the people who elect them. LOOSERS INDEED!

  9. chodziwadziwa, BSc Engineering (Poly), Msc, PhD (Oxon) says:

    I do not think this article was written by Idriss Ali Nassah. The flair and articulation of English in the article is not up to the standard that I am used to read from the young revered journalist. He has a good command of the language. If this piece is his product then I say he should work on it again. There are many mistakes.

  10. Harry says:



  11. Wankulu says:

    And we call this guy a journalist!! what a joke! there is no state house in Nsanje bro! You guys are busy criticizing the president while the people responsible (civil service) are left untouched. what a shame!!!

  12. Mzozodo says:

    Makweya, do what you have harnessed from this article is something to do with power? I don’t think that is the main issue here, the main issue in Mr. Nasser’s article is about saving costs. I believe the only reason you have not tackled this one about costs is because you don’t have any facts pro your God APM

  13. Makweya says:

    Che Idriss, you allege to want a president without power? Like seriously?
    People campaign and compete vigorously for State House and end up without power? Where does that happen?
    Even the Queen of England has power inspite of having a powerful Prime Minister who can send British troops to war. The Queen has influence in her country, is that not power?
    The president appoints people into various positions but are vetted by parliament, is that absolute power where checks and balances exist?
    With the kind of Opposition playing dribbles like they do, would it be healthy to have a powerless Head of State?
    Akatulambusya wawo, perhaps you are eying a favour from the 1st Citizen! We shall never have a powerless leader and we don’t want one.

  14. Makweya says:

    Che Idriss, there’s no president without power! Otherwise, why sacrifice and compete strenuously for a national position without power?
    1st Citizen powerless? Are you talking about a stooge? A figurehead?
    Even the Queen of England has power inspite of having a powerful Prime Minister who can send their British troops to war. The Queen has influence, too.
    If the Opposition plays politics of dribbles like they do, what if there’s a powerless Head of State? Can he/she survive the onslaught?
    What presidential powers worry you? I see the President appoints people into various positions but are vetted by parliament before taking up office, is that not checks and balances? Does that imply the president has absolute powers?
    Aleche kutulambusha wawo, perhaps you’re eying a favour somewhere!

  15. cashgate says:

    Good article Mr. Nassa. Zovuta zedi! The problem on the palaces is our problem as Malawians not to let go of what we have in excess. However, I think it is not the occupant of the state house but parliament that could liaise with tge executive on the need to do away with some presidential houses.
    As for the PAC meeting, I still feel that PAC has no right to give deadlines to a Head of State who was elected on a five year term mandate. The president can only be removed through the ballot or parliament through impeachment if there are good grounds for that, osati PAC.
    Talking about economic problems, we all know why we are sailing in this stormy weather. You cannot attribute it to one person, the President. That is laughable. If there is a President who is trying not to plunder government coffers, it is this one. He rarely travels as opposed to the previous three. By the way, achipani akumudandaula popeza iwo amafuna president aziyendayenda kuti adzidya bwino, not with APM.

  16. Mpwenkhi says:

    The presidential residence in Nsanje is occupied by GOAL Malawi, a humanitiarian NGO. Do your research.

  17. Kambani says:

    When your Uncle Muluzi was also maintain these houses including ujeni sumalemba bwanji? Not long ago you were worshipping this man but why the sudden change? Akumana chani? There is another giu who has just gone pa jinni nkhani ya ma disk that pomps whenever milandu ikayamba…….fwetseki

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