Short memory a stumbling block to progress in Malawi

Any sensible person should know that the past, whether good or bad, is a reference point for the present and future. Therefore, it goes without saying that it is necessary to first look at the performance of the Bingu wa Mutharika government so as to objectively comment about President Joyce Banda’s government.

Politics aside, no matter how one can try to sugar coat the facts, very few people if any had any clue as to where the Mutharika administration was taking this country. Nothing seemed to run properly as the economy was on unstoppable downward spiral.

Believe it or not defending the performance of the Mutharika administration  was the most difficult thing. People could even openly sympathize with the would be successor for such a government. Every sector of government  was in a desperate mode and therefore a priority.

Malawians took to the streets to [protests against Bingu wa Mutharika's economic poor performance - it should not be forgotten

Malawians took to the streets to [protests against Bingu wa Mutharika’s economic poor performance – it should not be forgotten

The  government could show that it had ideas for correct the economy but without forex and fuel  nothing could be achieved. Sadly, for the sake of politics some Malawians have forgotten the hopeless situation Malawians were in, a year ago.

It is no exaggeration to say that it had to take a courageous  and patriotic Malawian to take over from where Mutharika left this country. So far President Dr Joyce Banda has proved to be that person. She had no choice but to travel extensively to meet donors and not forgetting neighbouring countries to come and rescue Malawi from total destruction. It would have made no sense for her  to just seat at home and  brood about Malawi’s dire straits and expect some good Samaritans to fall like manna from heaven.

Meanwhile it is true that Malawians are still suffering mostly because of devaluation. Amongst other things the rising prices of commodities is a very big concern. As it were this is caused by the high price of fuel.

Some people make comparisons and say that during Mutharika’s era the price was low. Fair enough, but some people deliberately forget that despite the low price, fuel was not available which made the low price not helpful.

It has already been said elsewhere that the Malawi Kwacha devaluation was long overdue. President Dr Joyce Banda had no choice because there was no obvious alternative. President Joyce Banda has also been blamed in the media for making  Malawi a puppet to donors. For goodness sake it does not need a genius to know that Malawi does not produce enough exports so as to be self reliant to make it self reliant. In fact no sovereign state like Malawi  would wish to be a puppet.

It can also be mentioned that it is naive to expect  President Banda to have turned around the economy within one year. Even to say she has done nothing because she is a mandasi woman is a senseless argument to say the least. In fact it is an  insult to Malawian women most of whom survive on  mandasi business. Malawians can remember so well that late President Mutharika was an economist. But in all fairness, what is there to show for the renowned economist?  If he had improved the economy beyond recognition as he wanted people to believe, then why should a strong economy just crumble within a year that President Banda has been in power?

By remembering where Malawians are coming from, naturally, there will be more productive comments about improving the economy. For this to work people must avoid defending failed governments just for the sake of politics. Remembering the past can also help voters to make the rightful decisions in 2014 elections. Some candidates might have done completely nothing to help people in their constituencies. It is bizarre for such people to claim that they have a magic wand to bring unprecedented development. They must be rejected outright.

Malawians should be mindful that politicians can take advantage of their short memory. For the Malawi economy to improve all the bad past must be remembered so that never again should this country face the hopeless situation which was brought by the Mutharika regime.

*Emily Mkamanga

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