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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35 thoughts on “Undule: Malawi without donor aid is a disaster”

  1. Kulibe kantu says:

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

  2. zachabe says:

    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 pack and return to base till they reopen aid taps. They are continuing to cheat masses out there that they are present in Malawi and they are assisting Malawi and yet all they are doing is drink coffee in Lilongwe while holding on to money meant for the poor. If they have decided to abandon us let them leave Malawi for they have no relevance.

  3. SALIMA BOYS says:

    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.

  4. Njalayamalamuchiuno says:

    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.

  5. mtumbuka1 says:

    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 at trumpeting frustration on social network but not at a voting station we have no one with balls to stand tall against these useless presidents . If it’s not the patriotic tumbukas to spark a revolution then that’s pretty much it. How I wish one could pluck a leaf from the books of the Orton chirwas, kanyama chiume, the Levi mumbas, the chisiza brothers, the chihanas and many other patriotic sons of men who loved their country. We have people in the southern region to blame since they hold the key to whatever change we may dream of due to their numerical advantage but guess what,they all have watermelon brains. They keep voting crooks in power just because they are fucking southerners. Wake up you idiots and learn that if things don’t go right you go left. The country has gone to the dogs and nobody seems to give a fuck. You people of the south needs some strange gospel preached to you to understand maybe someone must pull your ears to hear.

  6. GOGO says:

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

  7. Mzee says:

    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 service is not well liked in uk where they believe it is not performing yet the UK is doing well on account of the private sector. Of course uk uses stolen money from Africa and Arab thieves. We all know about ICT is Malawi’s failure to develop games and applications like twitter, facebook etc due to government buteaucracy? Does bureaucracy get into private citizens heads. I have also never seen a country that thrives on jealousy like Malawi. While cashgate and any theft is evil surely a country cannot dwell on this “small theft” (by Kenyan standards where people steal more than a billion dollars) to the point of believing that any Malawian who has property is a thief. How much of your money is illegally externalised to UK by your Amwenyes? Has the British govt offered to track this money and give it back? You are spending too much time brooding on a lost cause. Tighten the systems and move on dont invest your time on nothing. No counyry has ever eliminated theft and corruption form the public sector not USA, not Sungapore not UK where even DFID is a gravy train for theives. At least they examine their systems and improve them and theft is not institutionalised.

  8. Chenkumbi says:

    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.

  9. chindere says:

    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.

  10. Adzatitola Pitala Mukhomeniz says:

    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.

  11. George phiri says:

    Donors will come the day we say yes to kutombana kumbuyo. Dont you think so Undule??? Yakumbuyo ikatheka chuma chibwera.

  12. Teams says:

    Cashgate has revealed the realities of how poor this country is with its limited resource base. With the current controls in government expenditure plus maximized revenue collection through MRA and road traffic yet we continue to push blame on cashgate. The truth is that if only we had enough resources we should have by stopped blaming cashgate on all our failures. The reality as of now is that unless we drastically change some of the things we do this country still needs foreign aid. Why should we in the current circumstances still maintain a 193 member Parliament,introducing subsidies which only benefit a handful of citizens instead of using the same money to invest in projects which can benefit a lot more citizens. I agree that unless one President comes up with a revolution and drastically change things without fearing for the consequences at the polls,this country is going nowhere in the next 20 years.

  13. mwalawapangodya says:

    Undule,wabonadi eti!Osamangonyoza asogoleri a dziko.Malembo akuti olamula aliyense amasankhidwa ndi Mulungu.zoti anacita rig akudziwa ndi enawo.koma ife tinavotera profesor.ngati amene mumafuna kumuika pampando analephera,just accept.democracy ndi ‘majority rule’.A undule,mwabadwadi mwasopano,utumbuka usiye wodana ndi kusankhana mitundu.lalikila uthenga wabwino kwa atumbuka amzako:kunena za zero aid,God cares 4 the birds,He ll care 4 us too.Ndiye osamatukwana APM,tonse tikudziwa vuto layamba kukula ndi cashgate,nthawi ya ulamuliro wa amai.

  14. Mseu Waboma says:

    Undule, do not blame the donors or CSO’s. APM and his party know what they should do to bring back donor confidence: Speedily investigate ALL cashgate cases (not just those committed by PP, but even the ones before that) tighten public finance management and spend wisely. Unfortunately APM seems incapable of making and implementing tough decisions.

    It takes a lot of effort and time to make, say a hundred million kwacha. Lutepo says he was a billionnaire before PP came to power, and no one seems interested in how he was able to make these billions?

    And speaking of spending wisely, Undule should ask APM why his convoy has more VXs than that of Shinzo Abe and more Mercedes’s than that of Angela Merkel. At least his vice has listened to criticism and has halved his convoy. APM should also explain why he sees it fit to spend billions on state residencies when he spends a total of less than 2 weeks per year in some of them (most developed nations have one main official residence and one holiday retreat).

    In life it is always advisable to concentrate on the things YOU can change and not on what others can change – and there’s a lot that APM and his government can change to mitigate reduced donor inflows. APM should focus on improving civil service productivity, cutting drastically on executive waste, and not being selective when it comes to prosecuting cashgate. APM needs to show leadership…

  15. maganizo wa maganizo says:

    George Kamanga,

  16. Dalitso says:

    Those who trust in the Lord can never perish. Malawi does not need donors but rather wisdom and guidance from God. If I am persuaded to honor and respect government of the day despite my disagreements with them; I Will do that because bible instruct us to honor those in authority despite their characters. As for donors, let them go, no way can we progress with the mentality of believing that donors hold the keys to our future. The sooner we realize that the better. We Will be begging til Christ comes back if our mentallity cannot change and unfortunately when passing through such paths to better life,others die on the road. Many Israelites who left Egypt did not see the promised land.

    1. George Kamanga says:

      Dalitso God in His Uprightness, Purity, Holiness & Perfect Ways He will never and never back evil no matter the position you hold in the society. Did Prophet Elijah support King Ahab with the devilish type of leadership?? Talk of Prophet Micaiah, Prophet Jeremiah did they support evil leaders??? The answer is s very big “BIG NO”.

      They fought for truth & Justice even in times where they were exposed to difficult situations like jailing them, beating them to death. Jeremiah was put into a pit full of mud but in all He stood for the Truth & Justice.

      As for me my stand is APM & hid DPP is evil. One thing you have to know is there are two types of leadership, one is Ordained by The Almighty God in His Perfect Will & the other is ordained by the devil in his evil ways. APM with his DPP government is devil ordained type of government whether you like it or not. Only the false prophets will call APM leadership is from God.

      You wait and see that who is speaking God’s Mind. Poor Innocent Malawians look to God in truth you will overcome the evils from this devilish type of leadership you have now

    2. George Kamanga says:

      Did Prophet Elijah & Elishah support the devilish type of leadership of King Ahab?? What they opposed they stood for it & God accomplished in His own Best time.

      Did Prophet Jeremiah yield to devilish type of leadership even though he was greatly tortured???

      Did Prophet Micaiah yield to the devilish type of leadership of King Ahab even though he was slapped by false prophets???

      Elijah, Elishah & Jeremiah the true Prophets of God stood for Truth & Justice till God fulfilled His Word upon evil leaders.

      Ad God freed Malawians from the evil bingu so shall be in this times also.

      The truth is APM & DPP leadership was not ordained by God but by the devil Satan himself.
      Only false prophets will back APM devilish type of leadership because in them is darkness. Many false prophets & priests backed evil leaders & they received their rewards in God’s destined time & it will be the same in this land.

      Innocent Malawians look to God without falling from His Grace for He will make you overcomers in Christ Jesud name thru the Holy Ghost Power to God’s Glory & Honor. Amen

  17. chimwemwe says:

    Donors have a moral responsibility to help countries in need, when politicians makes mistakes they punish the whole country with freeze of donor aid, they should understand the impact of this as small countries like Malawi need help as if a country fails, people from here will start going to Europe and America as migrants, refugees, so it will be a bigger problem for them. So we request donors to understand and differentiate that when certain politicians makes mistakes dont freeze aid for the whole country. as most of the people who will suffer are innocent.

  18. GRM says:

    Mr Ibu who told you donors’ preconditions are clear? No one knows what they want. As for APM and his bunch of government they also do not know what they should be doing because they are clueless. The so called donors are busy stealing there own money through Malawian NGOs. Government should examine the NGOs and they will find out that Cashgate was started by the donors who infected NGOs who later recruited civil servants who perfected the skill of stealing.

  19. pasimaro says:

    Mmmmmmh……… I reserve my comment. Tomorrow I Will open my mouth very loud. Honestly, things are not well in out country.

  20. Franco says:

    George kamanga you are a very stupid person

  21. Boniface Chisale says:

    Anthu amene Ali ndi mapepala abwino ndi zaka zosaposa 40 thawani mudziko lamabvutolo. Otherwise salary sizikwana muzingothandiza wena. Iwo amene Ali 45 above khalani komweko muzovutika ndi kumapereka misonkho yowawitsa

  22. Zanako says:

    God help us

  23. zoona says:

    Undule,you have to understand that with the current sectionalist,tribalist and seperatist dpp gvt,AID does not benefit all malawians,but only those sharing a common origin with the president and ministers,donors are not stupid like some malawians who voted this stupid party back to power,they use reasoning,donots send aid and someones daughter is prevented from enrolling at a public secondary and university due to their district or origin and tribe,do you think that aid is put into good use undule? Undule you claim to be civilized but you fail to acknowledge the gravity of psychological trauma created by dpp on innocent malawians in the name of quota system and uneven distribution of state and donor funded developments,this is a basic human right violation issue,so next time before you campaign for complex himan right issues like homosexuality and arbortion,make sure the basics are enforced,like the right to life (violated by gvt in form of underpaying heath workers and acute shortage of drugs which affects service delivery substantially in return),right to dignity,education,economic rights abused by dpp on other citizens who dont come from the presidents southern region,start on these first,dont jump into useless “rights” of same sex marriages,thus asinine,and for tour information,the overall solution to malawi is booting out the dpp gvt,this will solve a great deal of problems,trust ne on this one.

  24. maya says:

    Thats nonsence undule

  25. Calling from Abroad says:

    Malawi is in a sleep mode like polar bears during winter……..zzzzzzxzz.Hello Malawian citizen.Is any anybody awake there?

  26. kazeze says:

    Undule, it is the Law Society that is the big fish to blame for this country’s dysfunctional performance and non development. The law Society arrogantly turns a blind eye and ear to all that we and sundry can see and hear. For example, we all can see that most of our laws are outdated and require review or updating. Does it take a cashgate to see that our court sentencing regime is out of step with reality? The Lutepo case is a case in point here, 11 years for the crime? What about our Legislature? Why should it be a judge, jury and plaintif on matters of remuneration of itself? Don’t tell us that that is the way it is all over the world, no. We could be different here for the sake of delivering transparency, fairness and justice. The section 65 issue was intended to ensure MPs remained in the Party they stood for elections for its policies. Why should a technicality or interpretation be bigger than the whole and carry the day? Is the law weak or unenforceable? If so, why have it? The national budget, why do we have it if controlling officers wont adhere to it to the letter? MPs will have spent a lot of money deliberating on the budget only for the controlling officers to trash it? The Chief controlling officer (the President of the country) is every year entrusted with custody of our national coffers. When all the systems break down to the extent that every Jim and Jack can freely solola cash from the central treasury and not one of the key controlling officers raises an alarm, who is the big fish that is stealing? and the long arm of the law is not long enough to get the big fish? Why then have such inefficient and ineffective laws LS? Is it not high time to consider both that one is innocent till proved guilty or one is guilty on overwhelming circumstantial evidence till he/she proves himself/herself innocent? The constitution of Malawi and MEC Act, need urgent review and mainstreaming, we all know this and what is the LS DOING ABOUT THIS, NOTHING? Come on, be an innovative and progressive LS please. In summary, many of our laws are outdated or too general and open to too much manipulation, what are you LS going to do about this once and for all? Secondly, we know that you know that some of our laws are not enforced and/or unenforceable, what will you do about this? You are at present turning a blind eye to these laws hoping they will somehow work and they are
    not. The country is fast degenerating into a lawlessness entity. Where the law is decisively enforced it is selectively done (on political lines and the ordinary people suffer ) and sentencing unfairly applied on the principle of some people are more equal than others. To me it is the LS that has brought this country to where it is today by its mediocre development or non-development of enforceable laws in this country. Some how the LS has cunningly relinquished its roles to the media, civil society, NGOs and the general public to sort out the mess created by the LS, NOT ACCEPTABLE AT ALL. I believe the LS is becoming irrelevant. Please LS correct all the above and become relevant again. The downward falling of the country’s Democracy and Development squarely begins with you and not the state (Executive, Judiciary or Legislature).

  27. George Kamanga says:

    Undule why are you nailing yourself with six inch nail.

    God in His Everlasting Mercies will see Innocent Malawians pass through thick and thin. But I pray that let donors not support the government which is led by criminals, robbers, monsters & murderers in DPP parties.

    It seems Undule you want to be favoured by these dogs in DPP led government. Don’t buy favour by sympasising with these curl heartless human beings in DPP.

    Undule just go to Kenyata Nyirenda & Maxon Mbendera who are the most foolish people in Judicial system. They sold the government for their selfish reasons. Ask these two idiots to find solutions to help this mad professor to run the government.

    God will never support any plan initiated through evil ways. DPP didn’t win the election but rigged through foolish people like Mbendera & Kenyata.

    I believe the western government are not fools to support idiots like APM & his dogs in DPP.

    1. kadamanja says:

      Kamanga you are right, i hope Vundule and the professor Idiot APM see your comment. Malawians never benefit from these donations. God will punish these people but poor Malawians will go thru.

  28. matako a pusi says:

    In the bingu’ zero deficit budget we managed to fo without donors. Ee can always do without donors if you look carefully most of the donar money goes back to the donar look at the conditions they give for example the japanese engage the home contractors to fo fo projects in Malawi at the end we have a building whose half of the project goes back to japan donars are clever surely we can do without them look mose anayambira kutipasa ndalama we sre dtill poor something must be wrong with them

  29. vuvuzela says:

    when donors freeze their aid, they don’t punish the President, they punish us poor Malawians! I wonder how a sensible person would celebrate the suffering of his or her nation for the sake of his or her political affiliation! bravo undule, now you are talking, keep the fire burning

  30. nachisale says:

    Undule, you are a hypocrite. First, you and your NGO colleagues are the ones who went to donors and told them to stop giving aid to Malawi. You `mainly` did this because you hated late President Bingu wa Mutharika but also to have donors fund your NGOs. Your agenda to put in power someone favourable to NGOs and Western donors backfire due to cashgate. Now that President Peter Mutharika has gone to China, it has dawned on you that Malawi needs aid from `Western donors.Probably you have forgotten that, thanks to your loudmouth and self-serving interests, poor Malawians have been suffering since 2011 without budgetary aid (except for token aid during President Joyce Banda`s reign). Malawi needs to be strong like Asia`s Tiger economies which learnt to be independent and assertive after the 1980s economic crisis. The West pretends to give us aid, but they take back twice as much through exploitative trade and contracts. Go to Paladins Kayerekera in Karonga and see with your own eyes. If you are talking about the west advancing democracy and human rights, then look around the world and see that the west is hypocritical and always eager to just pursue selfish interests.

  31. Mr Ibu says:

    donors have given a pre-condition that 92 billion cashgate money have to be investigated first before any funds disbursement . this is a straight forward issue and I don’t know why government is reluctant. may they good answer on this one.

  32. ... says:

    I once agree with John Kapito.
    Malawi is a buried state

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