Politics brought us here: Idriss Ali Nassah

If, as projected, the population of this country hits 30 million in 2030, we desperately need a fresh new way of looking at things or we will end up in one big sinkhole, all of us.

Ending gang and youth violence

Ending gang and youth violence

The need to change our ways has been evident for many years now. Each year, well-meaning economists have given a doom-and-gloom prognosis of Malawi, worse than the one the year before. And each year we are confronted by the evidence of that; there are more crooks today than there were yesterday, for example. More armed robberies, more prostitutes on the streets, more cynics in our midst, more break-ups of marriage and, generally speaking, more mayhem in society.

You read of husbands battering their wives and mothers murdering their newly-born babies more than you did before.

The people who went on a rampage in Chilomoni the other day and set fire to a police station were probably good people last year; they went to church every Sunday and scolded their children for playing violent games.

So how did they come to this?

Firstly, it is because Malawians—on the whole—cannot have a difference of opinion without resorting to vitriol, tribalism, name-calling and, ultimately, violence. Well, with the freedom to think comes the freedom to think differently. Difference of thought, alone, is no reason to take out the daggers. Malawi has to find a way to disagree with and within itself, but without being disagreeable.

Perhaps the government needs to educate its people that they have every right to protest but to do so without being unruly and destructive. Civil society and opposition parties could do this job too, but we all know they would soon be suspected of subterfuge.

People should know that they can protest the sell of MSB, but without wanting to burn the MSB buildings down. Frankly, Malawians sometime express their anger in the most senseless and asinine of ways. PTC not only sells goods to you at quite reasonable prices compared to the others, it also pays hefty taxes to government and those taxes pay to fix your roads, pay your teachers and nurses and buy drugs in public hospitals.

But above all, it is politics that has brought us to this tragic situation.

There was a time in Malawi when differences were turned into physical fights because politicians used “rented crowds” to achieve their objectives. They drew from gullible, undisciplined, desperate and unemployed youths to instill fear in anyone who dared to disagree with their greediness for power. After that, we were on a sliding slope and the country has not really recovered from that modus operandi to this day.

Governance, for our politicians, meant staying in power, at whatever cost, even at the cost of the lives of citizens who were forced to give up hope because there was nothing for them to eat, no jobs to work, nowhere for them to live and—even more tragically—nothing for them to live for.

As this happened, politicians amassed staggering wealth for themselves and lived like kings while the ordinary people scrounged for food in dustbins. These people are frustrated and feel cheated by their government because they were promised the moon, only to get zilch.

Little was delivered to the people because of political parties’ preoccupation with remaining in power until kingdom come. All programmes which could end poverty and usher tangible transformation were postponed, indefinitely.

Maybe now, in 2015, we can start rebuilding Malawi by starting to tell each other the truth.

The truth is known to everyone. Politicians know the truth, just as the church leaders do, but they have not had the stomach for it. The truth is that until the people are given viable options and start to live the kind of life promised them at every election time, we are sitting on a simmering powder keg. There are going to be 30 million Malawians in 15 years and no politician can possibly bamboozle all of them will false promises.

Government must start to truthfully tell the people what challenges there are, what it is doing to end their poverty, to create jobs for them, to give their children a decent education and health services far better than those they have been receiving to date.

The truth, not to put too fine a point to it, is that successive governments through propaganda vehicles like the hapless MBC and the hollow MBC TV, relentlessly tried to conceal the truth from the people—and assumed that the people were willing to be duped.

While Malawi has potential for success, the truth is that success will not come without sacrifices. Or else, brace yourself for impact this year or in 2030.

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12 thoughts on “Politics brought us here: Idriss Ali Nassah”

  1. cholopi says:

    Ur story is too long but let me coment. For education is not only government but parents as well.
    Second we nid to invest in agriculture serious by cutting the money going to fisp into two. 20 billion kagulireni fertilizayo koma another 20 billion Tilembe achinyamata mamidzimu and ma extestion workers adziwayendera adzipanga organic manure kumagawira anthu lyk fisp programme, government wil use 5 billion kumawalipira achinyamata ameme akapanga organic manure. Tisamangolimbana ndi fertiliza i tel u thakayi ikuguga at one tym feteleze sadzagwiranso ntchito lets use organic manure n titakhala serious tithakumaononga 5 billion kugulitsaagriculture. Education tiyikemo practical agriculture ana adzilimadi plus enterprinueship at primary school level coz ana apa malawi amangofuna kulembedwa ntchito. Nasfam 2019 boma. One dy i will be MP one dy i wil be Minister of youth One dy i wil be president of this nation……

  2. kwake nkuluma says:

    Strange That Sense Is Coming From Nasser. I Hope This Is The End Of Mercenary Journalism 4 Him.

  3. Zagwa says:

    I will try as much as possible to avoid ridiculing the author for his confessed preference of the current ‘backdoor’ leadership due to my patriotism. Before anything else, I want to wholeheartedly agree with the author on the dangerous path the country is treading in terms of population growth. It doesn’t take a genius to see that citizens are reproducing unsustainably and unnecessarily. I however wish to address this toxic and catastrophic state by looking at the root having talked to several culprits. It would seem ignorance resulting from the lack of education coupled with laziness and the absence of employment has created this ticking time bomb. With the dawn of multipartism, urbanization and illiteracy soared. People believe living in urban areas is better even if they are to sell imported toothpicks. Farming is considered very hard work. Township/location favorite pastimes are watching incorrectly adapted Chichewa movies, drinking cheap liquor and sexual intercourse. There is excessive greed at leadership level with wrong motivations for joining politics, that is why we don’t have a clear national development roadmap. There is the Vision 2020, MGDS, there was the ERP now there are Reforms and Malata subsidy etc. All this not promising as we are a net consuming nation. Maybe there are too many theoretical intellectuals for a small economy.

  4. Chinyanga says:

    Its unfortunate that none of our leaders seem to care about 75% of my fellows who live on $2 per day. It seems they feel great when they hear that Malawi tops the rank as a world’s poorest nation on UN development index. For sure they feel good when they see malawians swimming in dire poverty, scrambling for much needed maize in ADMARC depots…As a nation we dont have tangible long term plans. Each reigning political party tend to have 5 to 10 years plan that benefits their parties & few grassroot followers not the nation as a whole. At times am conviced to the best of my knowledge that Malawi runs herself without leader(s) & leadership..sometimes these so-called leaders contributes to her failure. SO PAINFUL!!!!!!!!

  5. Umäja says:

    Umodzi party has an answer to these issues. Remember Education for all and Employment for All. I get worried when people have power by vote yet they can not use it .

  6. clement says:

    Nassah has this time around talked some sense. He is a privileged fellow by associating with Mw presidents. I hope u hv sent this article to APM. It is him who needs it more than us coz he has to formulate anti-population boom policies. I’ve noticed that u hv not praised APM on his Zambian state visit the way u did with his SA trip. Do not feel shy

  7. Jwa Mjimpi says:

    I really don’t understand why Idriss seems to be concerned. According to his recent writings, all the bad things that were happening in Malawi were due to Joyce Banda. However, with the coming of APM everything is rosy for Malawi. What has changed – isn’t the ‘great’ APM still President?

    In Development Economics 101 we learn that as long as people are poor and uneducated, they will also have many children. The reason is that the ‘pension’ for a poor, uneducated person is his offspring. As Micheal Todaro aptly put it in his textbook “The rich get richer, the poor get children”. Keeping rural Malawian girls in school even just up to the level of Standard 8 can make a big dent in the rate of population growth in Malawi.

    Since we have an outstanding President in APM (as Idriss would like us to believe) the twin evils of poverty and lack ignorance are going to be tackled. In addition, since we have 9 more years of this great leader (he never wastes an opportunity to tell us that he will win the 2019 elections) it means we have ample time to significantly reduce poverty and ignorance levels…APM may not be around in 2030, but it would appear that when he retires in 2024 he would have made sure that we get to 2030 in fine form!

  8. jimbo says:

    How can the government realistically plan for the future when there is no national registration of births, marriages and deaths? It is impossible. The health, education, transport and agricultural systems depend on knowing what the projected population will be so that they can meet its needs. Unfortunately it seems to be a cultural failing that Malawians are unable to plan for the future, whether it be for today’s ndiwo, tomorrow’s school fees, next year’s harvest, or the future needs of the country as a whole. Malawi is still stuck in the past while the rest of the world has moved on into the 21st. century. The majority of people in the country have no idea what is going on in the rest of the world or how the other half lives. The standard of living ‘enjoyed’ by the majority of villagers is roughly what was to be found in European countries in the 16th., 17th. and 18th centuries – home-made houses, no in-door running water, no gas or electricity, no in-door bathrooms or toilets, no paved roads or footpaths, no proper local councils organising society, etc. etc. etc. Belief in witchcraft and African medicine is also an anachronism that should long ago have died out as a result of a good solid education. What is the answer? After 51 years of independence things have hardly changed since the country was Nyasaland. There was more progress in the country during the colonial period than there has been since. So much needs to be done, but unfortunately the politicians of today are either unwilling to tackle the problems, or they simply don’t know how to. Perhaps those Malawians who could make a difference have decided to use their talents elsewhere and have moved abroad to take advantage of the prospects on offer there. Whatever the reasons, Malawi is stuck in a time-warp and the future looks bleak.

  9. Professor Dr. James Napwiri Phiri says:

    Idrissa, siuja umayamikira Pitala

  10. Brian Mungomo says:

    Mr. Nassa, I could not agree with you more. Considering your proximity with the powers that be, I can only hope that you are able to advance this sort of prophecy to those who really need to hear it. I need not be precise as to who I hope you are able to share this with, suffice to say that you recently shared with us your privileged position with the occupant of Plot number 1.
    I can only hope and trust that there is still room to reinvent ourselves…otherwise your prophecy will engulf us much sooner than the 2030 you allude to!

  11. Yusuf Hofmally says:

    Nkhani walemba bwino but was expecting you to exert more energy on this population boom. Amalawi. Kusowa chochita manyumba taonani kuchulukana kwakeko. Few resources but kuswana too much. Andale simukulankhulapo at kuopa kubetsa mavoti.

  12. The real ujeni says:

    Frankly speaking, Malawians are dull, and not civilised, a lot of things happen on global stage and sprinkling a bit in Malawi, is too much and overtaking our way of life. Malawi life is about spending 90% of the time doing witchcraft, magule, and tribalism. The society is full of uncivilised people. Government need to go on full scale civic education.

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