Undule: Malawi without donor aid is a disaster

For the past month I have been debating within myself on the behaviour of donors towards our country. The debate has been centered on why are some donors reluctant to fully support the developmental efforts of the current government. I know some will question me why I am talking on this, they will rebuke me because they always want to see the current government of Democratic Progressive Party collapse. But the fact of the matter is whether we agree with President Peter Mutharika, DPP or not we have to wish our country well.



We know donors have always given conditions to their aid and have questioned and raised issues in relation to accountability, governance, human rights and rule of law as a condition to their aid. Though no donor can run away from the same areas as these are the areas which needs ongoing support and building from the same donors.

Many have also argued that continued aid to Africa has made the poor poorer and the growth slower. They claim this insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt laden, more inflation prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher quality investment. But the obvious criticism of aid is its links to rampant corruption. Aid flow destined to help the people end up supporting bureaucracies in the form of poor country government programmes.

But to advance our country economic prospects away from donor aid then we need efficient civil service. But civil service is naturally prone to bureaucracy, and there is always incipient danger of self-serving cronyism and desire to bind citizens in endless, time consuming red tape. And this helps to tell why doing business across Africa is a nightmare. Africa is never in a hurry.

We can debate this and that but our country need donor aid. We cannot pretend that we will move on our own as that is disaster. We are already experiencing negative effects towards that such as unreliable power supply ,people dying due to shortage of drugs in our hospitals contrary from what used to be in Kamuzu’s times, high taxation on citizens, and late payment of government workers salaries just to mention few.

Civil society as actors in development must be urged to join in engaging donors for the interest of suffering Malawians. Civil society is a key sector in shaping policy and national development agenda including protecting the vulnerable. But it is so unfortunate to note that civil society is failing to meet its own responsibility of guiding the nation, civil society seem struggling to adjust and reposition in current environment to deal with national issues.

Let civil society prioritize issues of national concerns such as inflation, hunger, shortage of drugs, insecurity rather than focusing on issues which will bring minimal impact on the lives of Malawians. Right now we need less talk on abortion or homosexuality issues, we need collective efforts to restore our nation. Donors need to be questioned whether they are punishing the current President and his government or aim at punishing already poor and suffering Malawians. The nation need answers!

  • Undule Mwakasungula, the former director of Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and now a human rights columnist on Nyasa Times
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Kulibe kantu

Malawi can do without donors. The problem is that there is a lot of corruption and theft in government. There is money in Malawi.

I dont agree with you entirely Undule. Malawi can do without donors but probably not immediately but in the reasonable 5 to 10 years. Donors are aware that we are not ready and yet they are deliberately frustrating this government by holding on to their money. The question is do we need to continue keeping and harbouring them in the country while they are contributing nothing? They came here to give us aid. They established their offices on the pretext that they were going to help the impoverished country. Now that they are unable to honour the same they must… Read more »

Kodi mukuti ma Donor anayamba liti kutithandiza??nanga tapangapo chani ndi chithandizo chawocho??ngati dziko tiyeni tivomeleze ndi kugwilana manja tonse,malawi akhoza kudzakhala bwino popanda kuthandizidwa ndi Angelezi amenewa..bola osamasolola.


It is more disheartening to note that donors are more concerned about their aid reaching the suffering rural masses than the politians and their collaborators in the public service who have their own stomachs to think about. There is nothing that proves this point more than the rotten system that has been tamed and led to the massive abuse of funds starting way beyond 2005 only to be unearthed in 2013! It is high time we stop pointing our fingers at Donors and start concentrating at putting our house in order.

We are not a serious country altogether. We continue to make the same silly mistakes for example you voted for peter mutharika and now you are regretting but come 2019 you will still vote for him and you expect the world to feel sorry for you I sometimes go to places where you have to explain where Malawi is on the world map and we are better known as garden boys as that is an insult to some of us. The president is better known as an African leader who speaks with a waffle in the mouth. We are good… Read more »

A fool is a fool in words only your the same undule who made all this worse

Am a Kenyan working in Malawi. I dont understand Malawi’s fixation with donor aid. The problem i have seen is a non functioning private sector that relies on government to succeed. The Kenyan civil service is not different from the Malawian one but Kenya has a vibrant private sector. If Malawi’s private sector is better than your Malawi civil service why is it that 50 years down the line tobacco still temains the mainstay of your economy? The private sector in Malawi is moribund. Take Press corporation. What has it done to spearhead economic growth? Mind you the British public… Read more »

None of your comments is holding water. God will always bless the one giving. Malawians forget depending on other people. Change your mind set. zaulele sizidalitsa, we have resources here in Malawi, but we are still looking for donors. Tiyeni tipange zathu, pang’onopang’ono we will reach there . Kuzolowera zaulele is also a problem. free medical services,free fertilizer, handouts, free food, free education, free women, how can the country develop in that way. The government will be spending heavily.It is noly Malawi in Africa where there are free things. How then do we help the government? Please change.


Lazy Malawians with mobideas depending on the political dispensation to survive and thus ultimately dependent on donors. Very sad. Wake up and stop looking for wmployment and a free gravy train. Look at your friends in Asia- everyone starts their own businesses and dont give a damn about govt largesse. Jesus wept.

Adzatitola Pitala Mukhomeniz
Adzatitola Pitala Mukhomeniz

Maybe Peter needs reminding that the nation as well as all donors fell in love with his brother because of the first impressions. He made Lilongwe his base not Sanjika, there by cutting operational costs. He stopped graft. He unified the nation. There was no lomwe or Ntumbuka, or mchawa under Mutharika’s first term of office.

What has Peter done to show economic prudence in the 2yrs he has been in government. What has he done to prevent session talk in other regions of the country.

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