Malawi’s crisis like a sinking Titanic

In Malawi, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika grew increasingly arrogant months leading to his sudden death in April 2012. He told Malawi’s traditional Western donors, including the British, to “go to hell” for questioning some of his emerging undemocratic tendencies.Loose cannon

The Malawi economy plunged to all time low during that time. Donors decided to withhold aid; two million people had no food; there was no fuel and no forex for import cover. Many companies had retrenched workers owing to a deteriorating economy. On July 20, 2011, Malawians took to the streets to protest against perceived poor economic management and poor governance by President Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). 18 deaths, 98 serious injuries and 275 arrests had been reported.

Three years after his death, Bingu’s younger brother is Head of State. He is fondly referred to by his supporters as ‘Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’. He is accused of repeating his late brother’s arrogance. He theatrically tells starving Malawians that he “personally does not have any problems; those that have problems, it is their funeral”.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) US (German-born) physicist is credited for coining the adage “Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results”. President Mutharika must desist from repeating his brother’s mistakes at all cost. If he does, President Mutharika risks the same resentment that the late Bingu faced during his last days in office.

Malawi is currently in a crisis. The economy is rapidly going downhill. There is an impending hunger situation. There is deep-seated frustration and desperation among the population. You can see that, conspicuously, on their faces.

Instead of inspiring something positive in Malawians, President Mutharika is boasting he has no ‘problems’. His Vice, Saulos Klaus Chilima is reported to have called “idiots” Malawians who attempt to ask the leadership where it is steering the country to, politically, socially and economically.

What the leadership ought to know is that Malawians are keeping a close watch on their government as to how it will save the nation from sinking further. The leadership ought to realize that Malawians are not a daft lot; they will always hold leaders accountable for their misrule. It is just a matter of time.

It is not an understatement to suggest that the DPP government, under the leadership of the Professor, has wreaked the economy. Just under two years ago, the economy was ticking and the leaders that time had restored Malawi’s relations with her cooperating partners. Those governing that time assertively demonstrated that they were seriously pursuing macroeconomic policies that were intended to spur growth and development. Today, our rulers seem completely lost.

President Mutharika should, as a matter of urgency, rethink his ‘Ndilibe Problem’ stance and start siding with the vulnerable. The crops in the field are wilting because of adverse weather conditions. The future looks bleak for families that depend on agriculture for food and income.

Peter Mutharika should be standing in the maize fields across the country to assess the extent to which the weather has impacted on the crop. This will help him to plan ahead in the light of an impending hunger situation.

Instead of making useless and politically-induced jokes, the President should visit a few ADMARC depots to appreciate the suffering that women with babies on the back endure in the light of shortage of maize.

Instead of promising to construct a state-of-the-art sports complex in Blantyre, the President should be meeting small and medium entrepreneurs to discuss how best his government can help them sustain and grow their businesses in the light of the economically debilitating effect of high taxes on their businesses.

PAC must represent the people

It is now slightly over a week since the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) convened a 5th All-Inclusive Stakeholder’s Conference at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre from the 17th to the 18th February, 2016 with a theme “Defining Solutions to Economic and Political Direction of Malawi”. On 25th February, PAC released a communiqué on that meeting.

According to the communiqué, PAC acknowledges that demands for the current administration to step down coming against the backdrop of a stunted economic growth and deteriorating living standards dominated the two-day meeting.

PAC urges the DPP government “to seriously take note of the pain and frustrations of Malawians; to seriously consider the proposals made by the delegates to the 5th All Inclusive Stakeholders Conference as honest recommendations by representatives of Malawian society”.

The communiqué concludes: “Finally, as PAC, we stand for the voiceless and the poor. In expressing our observations, we read the mood of Malawians and offer our views”.

PAC, people’s views are that the President and the DPP government have failed them and they must go!”

But who comes in? What type of a government can be formed post-Mutharika era, is a puzzle as of now.

We need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around.”- Donald Trump

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14 thoughts on “Malawi’s crisis like a sinking Titanic”

  1. Jerome says:

    very good observation…. Malawi can never indeed develop only unless you people stop taking a party as a country….. as said Malawi is not Dpp, Mcp,Pp etc Let Malawi be Malawi…. people Come nd work as one…. go listen to songs in the 90’s akukamba zanjala…admac chani chani was there Dpp? Amalawi vuto Lathu ndilokhalo sitifuna kugwila ntchito limodzi…. as for you Pac is that wat u wea assignd to do…?

  2. Phwitika says:

    More lies than truths for the sake of self satisfaction, inherent greed and hatred, all these combined make the whole group of opposition and the so called PAC together with the writer’s sentiments.
    Here are the facts:
    Firstly the PAC is a big mouthed organisation that delivers nothing to the people but has been harvesting from the citizenry since the birth of the Malawi nation. I wasn’t born yesterday but I still remember many years of abject poverty passed by during the reign of Dr KB and hundreds were sleeping at Admarc markets and Grain and Milling waiting to buy a 10kg bag or a bag of brine and the population was only four million by then.
    Poor strategic planning by the past governments have all led to this. Instead of working together to find lasting solutions, you are busy tearing one another apart, the truth is that no winner will emerge,all will be losers. How much money do churches have? Who audits their accounts. What have they done to assist the government in rendering humanitarian services.A simple mathematical calculation can reveal the hidden truth.How many people pay income tax? All the churches in Malawi( how many christians give out money on every sunday or saturday?)
    Can the money that come from christians be ploughed back in time of need like this one? Yes! but where does the finance go? Lots of maladministration. So it is time for the PAC to shut up and do what is required by the Almighty, the duty of securing the Lord’s sheep(Shepherds) other than wasting time in joining a band wagon of calling the govt to resign. You have also failed in you duties. Give to Caezar what belongs to him and to the Almighty likewise.

    As for you the Opposition you are a bunch of pathetic losers that have no political will and direction to run the Country with financial independence. You want to fly the whole world with a begging bowl in your hand, very miserable.Malawi is not DPP nor MCP. Malawi is Malawi.
    Stop your political differences, find solutions to the problems of Malawi. Together you can do it.Malawi will never develop if this inherent attitude continues.No party is better than the other, after all you are all Malawians in Malawi bury your hatred and start working together.

    As for you the writer bipartisan journalism breeds contempt, do not incite violence , strict yourself to the codes and ethics of good journalism.

  3. Zikunikhudza Kwambiri says:

    Bentry Smart, am 100% agreeing to your synopsis. Can you make it available to govt, you have good ideas.

  4. Songazaudzu says:

    Peter is far from Bingu. Peter is too democratic for development to happen. For Africa to prosper we need some sort of dictatorship. Uncontrolled democracy has never developed a country. Democracy is imposed by the West to bring chaos and disorganization so that they benefit from that. As for you Thom you are not qualified to speak for Malawi. You pay your taxes and allegiance to Her Majesty’s government. You pay nothing to Malawi government. So leave Malawi government issues to us taxpayers here.

  5. mike says:

    Chambe: Donors know that cashgate started with Bingu,rip, they are not as daft as us. They still waiting for action to be taken. They know GG is having sleepless nights trying to doctor it, which will ruin his reputation. Anyway, GG was a total failure from day one.

  6. levelheaded says:

    Rather the headline was supposed to be “Malawi journalism like a sinking titanic.

    Let me school you Thom, to say Peter and Bingu have similarities is a complete phalacy unless if you are telling a baby who was born only yesterday. Peter and Bingu are quite different. Peter is more accommodative to criticism than the later.

    To say things were better two years ago is being too hypocritical. We are having stable fuel and commodity prices now that two years ago.

    If you are a true Malawian, you were supposed to realise that the worst government in the history of Malawi is the one you are referring to be there some 2 years ago.
    For your own information may be you are far away, Malawi has a lot of maize, you can witness that in our markets, you find it everywhere, the problem is reedy Malawian traders who are selling the commodity at a very high price.
    Just recently Egypt decided to better buy the commodity from outside because they still find it cheaper including transportation than buying it locally.

  7. achopwicho says:





  8. Tombolombo says:

    Gaffment is serious business,there is no leader in Malawi who has never encountered problems,what I see is that the two major opposition parties are two hungry for power,on top of that they failed to accept election results,there is no one who is going to come out clean regards to Malawi leadership,lets just accept our position instead of endless bickering.

  9. Chambe says:

    The events that lead to Bingu’s downfall are totally different from what is happening today. There was no fuel and forex then, a situation that made life so painful.The restoration of the Donor countries’ relations with Malawi and resuming of Budget Aid was easier then than it would be now. This is because the previous suspension of aid was for the reasons as you Thom has explained; poor governance and the chasing away of the British envoy. The suspension of aid this time around under JB was Theft of the budget aid – cash gate. Now the two circumstances are totally different to expect APM to win Donors back easily to a nation whose people were declared “Thieves” by the Donor Nations. Note the word THEFT. No one can easily trust thieves thats why Malawians are suffering because they are thieves and as thieves, who would listen to their cries? You need to be convinced and gain the trust of a thief before you can start assisting him.This is the crux of the issue that Malawians are taking it for granted. Look at theft of drugs in our hospitals, theft of maize by ADMARC employees and other thefts reported on Nyasa Times and do you think Donors don’t read this?
    And the rain? Do you expect that if APM visits fields,then it will easily rain? Even in a sinking ship, passengers need to help to scoop water from the ship back to the sea.What are Malawians doing to assist the Captain of the ship? And what will the next Captain do to rescue the sinking ship whose passengers are not assisting in scooping the water? Very hard to win back trust if you are a thief!

  10. chipolopolo says:

    Guys you are all waiting government to give you jobs to feed you to buy you medicine. What are you in turn or will you do to your government?
    Lazy Malawians

  11. Cigadula says:

    There is this incident that I read in one of a foreign country’s most circulated newspaper that somehow some dangerous criminals had broken into a police station and managed to steal some very powerful and sophisticated weapons which they intended to use in armed robbery. There was one specialized automatic weapon which required special training for handling.As for most of the other stolen weapons, the thieves were unable to use them. All these guns were not pre-loaded and the ammunition was stored in a different location. The whole weapons catch proved useless and ended up being dumped close to the police station where the weapons had been stolen from. This story sounds to me very much what is happening now with the DPP led government. Any sane and informed Malawian is most probably aware that the DPP acted as a gang of dangerous thieves when they stole the people’s power to chose a government of the people.Now what DPP failed to appreciate was that when you try to use ‘STOLEN POWER’ for which you have received no mandate from the people, you find yourselves with stolen ‘GUNS’ and no ammunition.Look at Bob just across in Zimbabwe, his ZANU PF has now become a serial Vote Rigging specialist party. The rewards? almost a failed state and wrecked economy that abandoned the use of its own local currency. Where is the national pride of what was once known as the food basket of SADCC? Stolen power is not sustainable!!!

  12. achopwicho says:

    mungovutikatu aloose cannon ,malawians especially women are very stupid.despite all the misery they face at ADmarc, they wont stop clap hands for him. I laughed my lungs out, on saturday when some women were scrambling for bananas while coming from official openning of Chipembere highway, on foot ,in dpp attire ,in limbe. . Isaid to my heart (poor women why. !?) amalawi sazatheka. Asiyeni azolowera umphawi

  13. bentry smart says:

    Here is my solution to our national self-indulgent poverty, government spent money on MBC TV AND RADIO STATIONS, ON SPORTS MINISTRY, ON CHIEFS, ON ADVISORS, AND EVEN ON PRISON even though they don’t have to. let me explain this, mbctv and radios if they are allowed to operate professionally and without political interfearance,they can marvel and make their own funds to cater for salaries and logistics as ZBS AND TIMES TV and radio do. but now mbc they fail because they spent all their time on political affairs. on sports if government can utilise sports infrastractures and avenues they can make a lot of money, do you know how many chiefs do we have in Malawi? we have more than 200 T/As about 10,000 group villagers all on govt payroll for no work done, how much do govt loses on chiefs ? goverment spent money buying food for prison while they can feed themselves. Government spend billions on fertiliser subsidy during farming season, and during dry season they even spend more than billions buying maize for the very same people. What if government invites large companies similar to Illovo and make them grow maize and use the same money government is using now for subsidy to buy maize and sell to public on cheaper prices, have u thought about that? How much can govt save? How many job created? How much folex earned

  14. lipenga says:

    Great article to read full of wisdom ! he that ears let him hear

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