When people are desperately in need of something, they usually refer to a statement which says that half a loaf is better than none. This statement is suitable for less important situations but not matters of the State. Running a country efficiently calls for total commitment, no half-measures and, above all, no sugar-coating of failure.
Having said the above, one of the priority areas for development in Malawi is the road infrastructure. Every government in power tries to do something on upgrading of roads. While this is appreciated, there is a tendency of working on a small part of the road instead of the whole road. For example, it seems only 16 kilometres will be done of the Jenda–Edingeni Road, which is 53 kilimetres long.
The same was the case with the Ekwendeni–Mzimba Road via Kafukule, which is over 100 kilometres and only 18 kilometres were done. Such piece-meal type of work is just cosmetic and may be fit for campaign purposes, which is the likely hidden agenda for such half-measures. Malawians are being cheated with such type of development.
Malawians are also cheated on the access of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), which is a public station. The more it is said to be independent, the more it remains controlled by government as its mouth piece and that for the ruling party. Anyone perceived to be an opposition party sympathiser, let alone opposition party leaders, can only be beamed on MBCtv when they are being disgraced for one reason or another.
Recently, MBC introduced a programme called ‘Talk to the President’. Without doubt most people thought it would be live with people phoning in and talking live and direct to President Peter Mutharika about matters of their concern. Unfortunately, the programme is pre-recorded with questions from people.
The questions might be edited and scrutinised to suit what both MBC and the President want to hear. With all due respect, what has been covered so far is what people already know. There is need for more challenging questions. If people cannot be allowed to talk directly to the President then, alternatively, it can be better if the President can talk to people through their representatives in Parliament. This would be more beneficial. Serious issues such as insecurity and land concerns can be addressed with follow ups. Malawi can borrow a leaf from South Africa, where President Jacob Zuma faces parliamentarians.
The other point on which Malawians have been short-changed is on the promise that the President made during his campaign, that he was going to reduce his powers. What came out was just some restructuring of various departments under his office into relevant ministries.
For example, the department of HIV and Aids and Nutrition and Safe Motherhood Initiative was relocated to Ministry of Health. This style of reducing presidential powers was just cosmetic. On reducing powers, it is likely most people were looking forward that the President will no longer be appointing people into boards of parastatal organisations as well as appointing all sorts of special assistants and advisers. Such appointments are usually seen as for appeasement purposes. This is one of the reasons that some parastatals perform poorly.
At the moment, the opening of rural technical colleges which are planned for every district has created a lot of excitement among youths. While the move seems to be in the right direction, but on its own it will not mean much.
To start with, in the absence of job creation by government, the trained youths will just end up joining the qualified job seekers already flooding the streets. If the idea is for trained youths to be self-employed, they will need capital to start businesses. It is common knowledge that if the source of capital will be from organisations of the likes of Mardef or Yedef, then the businesses will be non-starters. Such organisations have been lending a mockery. No one can make a meaningful business with such a tiny capital.
Celebrations about rural technical colleges are premature unless first and foremost the DPP-led government creates jobs or engages lending organisations which can provide meaningful capital.
What is stated here is a tip of the iceberg on things that the government and its leadership is short-changing Malawians on. It is up to the people of Malawi to say no to half-measures and any form of cheating on national issues that affect their lives.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :