In his address to the nation on 6th July 2015, Malawi’s President Peter Muthalika outlined three major solutions to the nation’s social, political and economic challenges and these being; patriotism, integrity and hard work. The President’s call came at a time when as a nation we are witnessing the dwindling level of patriotism.
Now what forced the President to come up with these three comprehensive principles for the nation’s economic success? What about patriotism, integrity and hard-work? Why must people be patriotic? What makes people more or less patriotic? What must be done to restore the former glory of a patriotic nation? And finally where does patriotism start from? However patriotism means the peoples’ love and commitment to fulfilling specified nation agenda. This also means loyalty; being faithful and devoted to the soul of the nation.
In patriotism, the underlining word is unconditionally supporting the nation’s set agenda. In this write up I have put down some six points to discuss patriotism in relation to Malawi’s political economy as follows:
Patriotism must be a collective effort
True patriotism is a collective effort in support and love for our country. We are all equal as citizens and there is no one or group of people that is more Malawians than others hence when it comes to love and patriotism, we all must equally love and care for our country. In this regard, the message of patriotism must be shared in all the campaign meetings and rallies nationwide.
This means that the DPP, MCP, UDF, PP and all political parties must jointly show to the nation that they are patriotic to the nation where in all their political activist, their party activism must not override the nation’s agenda. This is about promoting Malawi more than our political parties or any groupings we belong to. The demands of our parties or social groupings must not rise above the concerns of our country. We shall achieve great things if we work as a unit with the patriotic fire burning in us all.
Patriotic leaders produce patriotic followers
True patriotism starts from those in leadership and patriotic leadership produces patriotic followers. Patriotic leaders are those who sacrifice their heart and soul to the social economic development and empowerment of their people. Such leaders put the concerns and need of the country and people a priority and do little to enrich themselves. Any leader who makes the soul of his or her pocket a priority is a danger to true nationhood.
To be a patriotic leader means you become a servant leader. However research has shown that levels of patriotism grow faster in a nation where servant leadership is practiced. Citizens get encouraged when their leaders put on a servant Jacket unless when they are into too much of a boss.
To be patriotic is to sacrifice for all
Patriotism is the sacrifice that citizens give to the nation. To achieve high levels of patriotism, we must all sacrifice more. Leadership sacrifice encourages people to emulate and do more for the nation. It is a known fact that the eyes of the citizens are sharper that they see and know when their leaders are not patriotic. We are talking of the type of sacrifice where leaders rise above their tribal, regional or social economic boundaries and begin to treat all people equal. On the same we must mention that it is difficult for people to be patriotic when access to social, economic and political opportunities depends on their places of origin or religion.
In Malawi ordinary citizens fail to sacrifice because politicians are self centered and care less about the nation and the people. Research has shown that majority of our politicians goal is self accumulation and care less about the affairs of their people. Unless citizens see a shift and a change we may wait for the next million years for ordinary citizens to be patriotic to the nation again.
To be patriotic is to have good followership
Patriotism demand patriotic followership which is born when leaders sacrifices for the sake of all. When leaders are seen sacrificing for the sake of the nation then followers do the same. Good followership depends on good servant patriotic leadership. You cannot expect citizens to be good followers when leaders are not walking the talk in terms of them being good servant leaders. Just like their leaders who would use dubiously means to accumulate wealth, citizenry would use the same formula to access quick prosperity.
Cash-Gate is the reflection of such a weak system in terms of lack of leadership patriotism. Patriotic followership is born when there is evidence of patriotic leadership. This is something that comes out as a result of clear evidence of patriotic leadership. If we have to have patriotic followership then we must have patriotic servant leaders whose main goal must be to serve and promote equality amongst citizenry.
To be patriotic is to fight bad politics
Levels of patriotism have gone down due to the bad politics in Malawi since 1994. From the days of colonialism, independence to multiparty democracy, patriotism was one of the key features in the nation’s social, economic and political history. It was due to high levels of nationalism and patriotism that our grandfathers and fathers took up arms to break the back of colonialism and ushered this nation to independence. Their love and commitment to this nation was big that some of them died in the course of demonstrating their royalty, love and political charisma to the course of nation’s freedom. It was due to patriotic mindset that in 1992-94 we jointly pushed for a change in the political system from a single party to a multiparty democracy. In 1994 some of us put our lives on line for the love of this nation.
However the levels of patriotism since 1994 have gone down due to politics of tribalism, divisions and self accumulation by the few who are politically connected. For as long as we continue to practice bad politics no one will ever show their love for this nation.
To be patriotic is to demonstrate inclusiveness
Inclusiveness is key in the promotion of patriotism in any political system. This is to making sure that in any form of development all people in a country are equally provided for. Since 1994 there has been uneven distribution of the national cake which automatically pushes some sector of society not to be patriotic. The gap between the few rich elite and the majority poor has greatly widened. Now how do we expect the poor who are in majority to be patriotic to the nation when each day they suffer and cant access opportunities to support their suffering families? How do we expect to see a change when in every development project funded it’s the administrators, officials and implementers of such activities who get empowered more than the very poor in communities?
Patriotism is born when equality in all is exercised in a nation where the national cake and other opportunities are equally distributed. This is born when the gates and the walls of tribalism, regionalism, religious and social divisions are broken down. For Malawi patriotism demands that leaders must rise above the needs of their political parties and instead demonstrate their unconditional love and care for the nation.
- Dr Qeko Jele is Systematic Theologian, Educationist and a Social Development scientist and an alumni of the University of Fort Hare and he writes this in his personal capacity as a specialist in Democracy, Religion, State and Development[email protected]
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :