Staring catastrophe in the face: Malawi needs fail-safe measures

For some of us, travelling across Malawi is often associated with beautiful memories of undulating hills as far as the eye can see. The rivers, valleys and the green vegetation have always conspired to give the countryside some magical and breathtaking scenery of natural beauty.Loose cannon

This is the combination that might obviously have tempted others to call Malawi the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. The ‘warmth’ seems to have now disappeared. The beautiful green countryside has been replaced by wilting vegetation and dangerously drying crops.

Except for a few districts in the central and northern regions, many parts of the country, especially in the south, have not received any rains this year. People planted their crops with what appeared to be the ‘first rains’. It is almost over two weeks now after the ‘first rains’ and there are no follow-up drops coming.

All the crops are drying out. It is even doubtful if the crops will resurrect even if it would rain the whole of this week. Maize fields can now be mistaken for a vast farm of onions. If the situation persists, it means the possibility of Malawians facing another year of hunger is very likely and real.

Weather experts have said the southern part of Africa might be experiencing the El Nino phenomenon as a result of climate change. Later day prophets have warned that the southern part of Africa, where Malawi is located, will face drought as a result of some transgressions the citizens have committed against God, the creator. They have urged for a serious prayer and repentance.

Whatever our motivations or convictions, it seems the moral of the situation or centre of confluence of what is currently happening is that we have a serious problem on our lap; and we cannot afford to romanticize this problem.

This dry spell in Malawi could therefore mean a catastrophic double-whammy of biblical proportion if tangible measures would not be put in place to mitigate the situation.

The question is: How prepared are we? It is not enough to congregate for a united prayer, praying for rains. What if God can choose to waive that request? After all, He gave us a whole fresh water lake replete with rivers and valleys suitable for irrigation. We choose to do nothing about it.

Utterances from the Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza that “we have put measures in place to deal with the situation” are also not good enough. After all, he has said the same thing about Farm Input Subsidy or FISP countless times but the shambolic manner in which he has managed this year’s FISIP leaves us with no inspiration.

Malawi obviously needs fail-safe measures in the face of these tell-tale signs of a disaster. It calls for meticulous planning and networking to pull together all stakeholders for a common purpose. It is disheartening, however, to notice that we continue to be a people living in utter denial and proceeding on a ‘business as usual’ path.

Catholic Bishops have set a very good precedent in rejecting the 50,000 Kwacha blue envelop freebies handed to them at State House. Their advice (for government to channel that money for the purchase of hospital meals) sets a moral motion for government to step up to the plate and do likewise.

For example, the K65 million that has been senselessly blown on a motor home for our dear President should have been re-directed for the cause as pronounced by the good Bishops. It makes more sense that way Mr. President.

Surely, there should have been other alternatives, and the President does not travel that much to blow such kind of money. How many hospitals would have benefited with three meals a day for a good period with that K65 million?

A woman died at Mponela because the ambulance that was supposed to take her to the hospital had no fuel. Yet we continue to think the President is the most important person than all of us, and that he deserves all the luxury even if the rest of the country is erupting in impoverishment.

If we are to successfully plan and prepare for the impeding food disaster, this is exactly the type of mentality to leave behind. The President should show leadership by being at the receiving end of some of the austerity measures that he is actually preaching. That is the theory of equilibrium, and we are not asking him to be a pauper. After all, he told the nation he was already rich before he became Malawi leader.

This is only a time of sacrifices and getting our priorities right. Having national prayers is perfectly okay. Faith is bedrock of hope, which is important as it brings about the balance that our societies need at this moment. But we also cannot be a nation that is always steeped in abstract mythology. We need a competent consultative assembly comprising various stakeholders, to help dialogue for solutions on how we can deal with the impending hunger.

Our relief efforts during the flooding disaster last year faced teething logistical problems. Many times, victims went to bed without eating even when food was available in warehouses. Some items and money were diverted for the benefit of some government selfish fat cats.

We need some comprehensive scenario planning this time to ensure these challenges are eradicated or kept to a bare minimum. Sometimes, leadership is about seeing what others don’t see. Is there anything that you, Mr. President, see that some of us can’t see? We have a disaster coming.

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.” –Margaret Thatcher

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9 thoughts on “Staring catastrophe in the face: Malawi needs fail-safe measures”

  1. John Black says:

    for more info read my blog: motherlandfatherland.wordpress.com

  2. rute says:

    kodi when are you going to compile our 2015 zeroes comments and publish an article?

  3. Tan'gatan'ga says:

    The famous K65m vehicle Peter has bought is to ensure that when cardiac arrest hits, all the necessary equipment is at hand to save him. But what about all the Malawians who need such equipment but it is not available in Govt. Hospitals. He should however know that when time is due, there is no escaping. Stop being selfish Peter. Every body deserves to live.

  4. jjjjjj says:

    Kodi iwe Thom, when are you going to compile our comments and write a story on 2015 zeroes? We already know that the biggest zero is Peter at statehouse

  5. Chigawaneni says:

    Someone has realy done his/her homework perfectly well here. I wish Mr President read this article soberly, otherwise, the ship he is captaining is submerging.

  6. smartsfox says:

    The problem is that the president himself promised to sell the souls of malawians to the devil if they make him president. Now he is introducing gays and lesbians to malawians and evryone is quiet as if nothing is happening

  7. Ngilinginde ngongongo.. says:

    I ONCE SAT WITH ALAN CHIYEBEKEZA IN A MEETING …THE GUY IS AS USELESS AS THEY COME..HE HAS NO CLUE WHATSOEVER…MALAWI IS DOOMED WITH SUCH IDIOTS

  8. The Analyst says:

    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..O
    That Malawi’s disaster management programmes are shambolic is very true.
    Sadly, its not just about disaster, even when we are working on a no-disaster situation, we are always higgledy-piggledy in our work. This said . . .

    To say that the woman at Mponela died singularly because the ambulance that was supposed to take her to the hospital had no fuel, may not be true. The truth is the woman was to undergo Caesar; now . . .
    . . . At what point in time did the nurses realise the woman needed Caesarean Section? They realised late. This gross incompetence, negligence, absolute carelessness and unkindness, was the beginning and main cause of trouble!
    . . . Ok, after getting the no-fuel response, what did the hospital do as an alternative? let alone the never-mentioned-hence-absent husband? Nothing!
    . . . Should we lie to each other that in their nothingness, they watched for over an hour as the woman struggled to death? I can tell you, not even 20 minutes passed between the time the nurses called for an ambulance and the moment the woman’s eye lids forever hugged each other.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    If these nurses were competent, they would know the woman needed Caesar and could have found an alternative; even the husband could have done something. Truth is, they did not have the time and the baby had already started becoming unkind hence the rapture of the uterus and the death. You cant want to imagine the pain this woman went through in meeting her death. I can imagine it for you and bet that it was terrible!

    Thus, the causes are sequential, and the weight we can attach to the no-fuel response is significantly less than the weight we can attach to the nurses’ negligence.
    O………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O

  9. kukhala says:

    PETER MUTHALIKA A CLUELESS PRESIDENT WHO ONLY USED APPROPRIATE STRATEGY TO RIGG AND BE A PRESIDENT USING CASHGATE FUNDS LOOTED BY HIS LAKE BROTHER BINGU.

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