Peter Mutharika still not inspiring confidence: One year as Malawi President

You know the progress rate of a nation, sometimes, from what dominates their public debates.

President Mutharika clocks one year as Malawi leader

President Mutharika clocks one year as Malawi leader

What are people often talking about in public spaces—say the media, social networks, academic gatherings, public squares, social unions, etc? And what are their discussions telling us about their level of maturity or immaturity as a nation?

You see, real development—not the Bingu wa Mutharika’s second to Qatar propaganda we were smeared with—begins when a leader unites a nation and leads it to common constructive debates about progress.

In the 1960s, while poor, dirty and stuck like Malawi today, South Korea, began its development journey when strongman Park Chung-Hee, their leader, bulldozed his people to a discussion on how they should industrialise.

In the first two years of his leadership, every South Korean understood the industrialisation anthem and national debates—from top government official to ‘peasant’ in the countryside— was on how to industrialise. This, fellow Malawians, is a mark of visionary leadership. Osati zinazi.

What Park achieved in just a year when he reunited the nation toward a common development discussion, represents what in development studies is known as a ‘critical juncture’. A critical juncture is a moment when a nation takes advantage of a situation to correct their previous wrongs and chart a new, progressive way forward.

Park saw a critical juncture in the 1960s to reorganise his nation towards a purposive movement. He isolated the intelligent few and exported them to developed kitchens of the West to learn and steal their ways of progress.

He selected a group of entrepreneurs and companies, eased their ways of manufacturing, gave them access to international loans and set production targets for them. He could arrest them for failing to meet agreed targets. In schools, and all other social gatherings, he encouraged through threats and arrests sometimes, the spirit of hardwork and discipline. Thousands of parents, not idling children, were arrested and detained without trial for keeping their children idling, not in schools. Mwamva?

We should not be surprised, today, that South Korea is not investing all its energy, like here in Africa, blaming the IMF, World Bank, the West and the EU for neocolonialism.

Malawi, just like South Korea in the 1960s, was poor, dirty and stuck. The stark reality of development differences between these two countries, today, is a testimony of Malawi’s leadership failure.

Trust me.

Do not, even for a moment, believe visionless and power hungry dictators when, in defence of their excess, tells us we are poor because of the so-called neocolonial policies by western agents such as IMF, World Bank, EU and all that.

If this were true, then we could not have seen the rise of countries such as India, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Guatemala, Mauritius and all these are fast growing economies. For none of these was spared from the same policies that, here in Africa, we cannot stop getting excuses from.

We are poor, today, because we have failed to utilise every critical juncture we have had since 1964. The granting of independence in 1964, the return of multiparty democracy in 1994, the rise of Bingu wa Mutharika in 2005, the return of lost governance sense by Joyce Banda in 2012 and the current spate with Peter Mutharika represents lost critical junctures that, with sensible leadership, Malawi could have taken advantage of.

In all these junctures, you can agree with me, we have witnessed leaders riding on their predecessors’ failure, making rosy promises which, with days, sink with the setting sun.

  • The article appeared in the Weekend Nation newspaper
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24 thoughts on “Peter Mutharika still not inspiring confidence: One year as Malawi President”


    Nyondo Ukufuna Adzigawa Ndalama Just For U To Be Inspired! Chendere Chakufikapo Nyondo.

  2. Alinafe Mzungu; do you know that leadership is given by God? Were you a ware that Bingu would die in 2012? How sure are you that APM will rule us beyond 2019? Becareful when expressing your views much as we have freedom of expression, tommorrow belongs to God and who will rule us only God knows not Alinafe Mzungu.

  3. nachama says:

    lets just make this nyondo guy president! He can rule better!kkkkk. Iv been with people with such surnames as a graduate heath worker aaa ambiri mwaiwo makhalidwe awo ndi omwewa a anyondowa.

  4. Alinafe Mzungu says:

    Much as I respect people’s rights and writings, I beg to differ. My argument reflects on what Gerald Viola has written on Malawi Government Official website, he has clarified the One year of APM administration nicely . Yes he works for APM and he has to pat APM for his bread but Malawians, we should sometimes accept reality. A lot of us are just full of hate. We hate our leaders and we commend foreign leaders. It is us who kicked Amayi out of Office,opting for APM and today, APM is bad others suggesting Chakwera would be an Angel, alas! Leadership especially political leadership, is miles away from Church leadership where there is no time for question time. We can waste time writing trash about APM and whosoever but mark my words APM will get landslide victory come 2019 elections, trust me guys. If we say up to now that he rigged the 20 May 2014 Elections when we were all outside ruling, what will happen in 2019 that he is on the driving seat. Ant way, read what this boy of APM Gerald has written in MANA on-line and in other Government pages.

  5. Umphawi S.I. Wabwino says:

    Aptly expressed mate! Lackluster leadership is truly a lingering and haunting refrain. But how do we begin to transition towards meaningful progress? Are we resigned to fate? Is this the curse of a plurality?

  6. Cymru says:

    The example of South Korea and her leadership approach to development or industrialization when used in Malawi by any leader is likely to raise a lot of outcries. Human rights are the centre of everything done in Malawi. Many will agree with me that even investors are of recent reluctant to invest in Malawi because of unwarranted criticism that they receive. Look at the mining sector, Kayelekera for example, Paladin has been at the centre of criticism and no space to breathe. Recently, Mota Engil proposal to build a modern international tourist attraction facility in Mangochi, people have vehemently encouraged the locals to resist this development to the extent that the developer suspended the plans. There so many example that I don’t want to labour you reading. However, in these few examples how can Malawi develop? Any proposal by government or investor is subjected to criticism. I’m not saying rights of people should be ignored but it is important to use civilized way of sorting out problems associated with any proposed development. It is very hard to get something that is 100 percent perfect. My English teacher used to say 100 percent mark is for God, 90 percent was for him and anything below that was for us students. I feel instead of criticizing our leaders everyday, let us invest our thinking on writing something that can influence them to change and take us where we want to go. If the leadership is not inspiring now, what do you think is the cause, is it his governance approach, character, economic status of the country or what have you? I like Chipapwiche (comment 1) that SWOT analysis is good to improve things. I believe every leader coming will have strength, weakness, opportunity and threats in spite of which party. Everybody I believe wishes to see a better Malawi which can be achieved not by entrusting in one person. I believe this is the time to change our thinking. I don’t think one person in the name of president can change Malawi to great heights. Yes he might lead us but our contribution is very vital.

  7. Nzavias says:

    nothing, the leader of opposition is just like the president!

  8. uhuru says:

    The things said here are wise though those that support the system wont agree. However, I would have loved if mr Nyondo would have also translated his article into our venecular langauge so as those locals in the uneducated should also be able to grab something from the things said,for they are the ones most fooled by politicians.

  9. Malawi @ my heart says:

    Nice article and thumbs up… luck of vision ally leadership and unproductive citizens is a major drawback to our economic advancement

  10. Kandapako says:

    To our leaders; please read such articles. They are food for thought even if you may not agree with.

  11. Kanyimbi says:

    APM is better than all the presidents that we had. He is the only president managing the country without donor support. Malawians lets learn to give credit where it is due. Anyway sometimes if the presidents are not criticised they grow wings. KKKKKKKK Bravo APM.

  12. Mufungwe says:

    Even though there’s a saying that”half a loaf of bread is better than none” equally”half baked truth is dangerous”. I feel the author does not understand well the stages of development in economics. Basing on that you seem to focus much on demolishing your own country. Too negative in your. Writing please choose the neutral contributions to make impact in the national agendas.

  13. chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa says:

    In my case I am seeing things changing if you can find out what has been done as part of reforms then you will know some of us have confidence in him. APM continue playing it cool and don’t start arguing with these they are aimed at destructing your plans.

  14. BigMan says:

    Democracy is what is failing Malawi and other similar poor countries. There are two many empty characters and quaks masquerading as human rights activists etc.. whose job is purely to frustrate and decampaign sitting governments. If Peter was to even try and put any such plans into action that ‘force’ people to behave in a way that contributes to the economic and social transformation of our nation, the newspapers, lecturers, gay rights campaigners and opposition cadres would spend sleepless nights attacking him for his “poor human rights record”.

    Besides, why in the world does any patriotic hard working citizen require the president to “inspire” him / her? Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!!!!!!

  15. ujeni says:

    Dull president ever

  16. Mafikizolo says:

    In 2004, after only a few months into his first term as president, the late Bingu was able to win over even some of his most ardent critics . People suddenly realised that they had a “performer” at State House . Now, over one whole year into his presidency, no sane Malawian, apart from the some brainwashed sycophants, is convinced that we have got a capable person at State House .
    Catherine Gotani put it very well at some function in Goliati, Thyolo the other day: “The fact that one person in a family is a medical doctor does not mean that his brothers can also treat patients”.

  17. Jelbin mk says:

    Should we really believe with all our energy and conscience that Malawi was at any time economically developing second to only one country in the world above China,United Arad Emirates,India and others you may choose to mention and after two to three years then the Same country is on the bottom most in terms of poverty??????? How does that justify that claim of economic boom???? Am not an economist but I own common sense which governs all human beings with normal thinking capacity hence my refusal to accept this crap.

  18. makito says:

    Good article Ephraim, you have just called a spade by its name. Very objective in my view: Kamuzu failed to use his dictatorship to grow the country instead he used it to terrorise people and consolidate his power. Muluzi gave us a wrong definition of democracy and the rest you know. Bravo Ephraim. You love Malawi as I do. It doesn’t mean condoning mediocrity.

  19. Jelbin mk says:

    I can’t see Ephraim’s emotions here unless someone doesn’t know the exact meaning of the word emotion. Ephraim has hit a nail on its head we are really lacking leadership guidance when approaching matters of national interest leaders are busy institutionalising corruption and tribalism.

  20. George Lihoma. says:

    Give us your talent and not your emotions together with your political affiliations. We need mature non partisan Journalism. Hahahahahaha.

  21. Sapitwa says:

    Ephraim ngati ulibe cholemba, kalere ana.

  22. Patriot says:

    His gouvernment is a TOTAL FAILURE.
    The white man reads malawian Newspapers as well, and when they read about one MP involved in corrupt practices like smuggleling timber and paying less taxes, and goes unpunished by MG1 office, they say to themselves “corruption not yet over in Malawi, keep the break pedal down”

  23. BBC says:

    In other ways you are saying the government should start arresting and detaining its citizens as one way of encouraging them to contribute positively to the economy..

  24. Chipapwiche says:

    It is unfortunate that our papers are carrying out articles that lack objectivity and are too emotional. Ephraim has failed to connect the contents of his article to the current leadership. There are lots of incongruencies in his comparisons. A better analysis could have been SWOT and not just saying somebody has failed with no alternatives. Our writers should realize that they play a critical role in the development of our country and should be able to give constructive criticism. The use of vernacular to emphasize your points,Ephraim,clearly demonstrates you were driven by emotions when writing the article. We realise not all can love the leader,but all should love Malawi. Leaders come and go,but our Malawi remains and we want it to move forward. You are talking about our donor dependence… Advise government on how best we can come out of this,Ephraim.

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