Without doubt most Malawians must be wondering as to how the Mutharika government has landed this country into such unprecedented economic mess. The majority of the problems the country is facing were not to be. After all, in 2004 election campaign, President Bingu wa Mutharika campaigned on the premise that he is an economic engineer. He backed this claim by saying that he was well travelled and that he had been an economic advisor for more than ten African countries.
Rightly so, such a massive economic experience begs a question, ‘What has gone wrong with the economic engineer? Why has he failed to stop the downward spiral of the Malawi economy?’ There are more question than answers. Experience has shown that even the government has no clue about saving the Malawi economy.
Indeed Malawians have been cheated with the fallacy of the so called economic engineering qualities which President Mutharika was said to have.
Malawians have developed a lay back attitude on the assumption that President Mutharika is controlling the economy. They have had so much trust in government. Worse still, even those that work with government no longer bother to check and expose economic anomalies. They likely fear reprisals after being perceived to be enemies of government. This is the reason why malpractices in government are never checked. Officials can freely drain the much needed forex by excessive external travel and nobody would dare point an accusing finger.
During his first term President Mutharika used to blame the opposition parties that they were frustrating his development programmes. In this regard, they were being blamed for delaying passing the national budget. In fact, the government painted a picture that once the budget was passed it was supposed to be smooth sailing. The government should know better that passing a budget on its own means nothing. It has to be carefully implemented in order to achieve the desired results. Even the idea of coming up with flamboyant budget titles literally means nothing. The national budget was once known as pro poor. Did it ever solve problems of the poor? The answer is anybody’s guess.
Meanwhile, Malawians have been cheated by the current Zero Deficit budget. People have been told that with such a budget, Malawi can stand on its own without help from foreign donors. Surprisingly, barely three months into the budget, the Minister of Finance Hon Ken Lipenga and the Foreign Affairs minister Hon Peter Mutharika have gone back to the donors to beg them to release the withheld aid. So, what has happened to the expected magic from the Zero Deficit budget?
What is clear is that Malawi cannot do without foreign aid. President Mutharika’s tough talking with which he went as far as saying that donors were stupid, has just proved to be lack of foresight. It is so shameful that after giving donors a hiding, the government has gone back begging under the guise of trying to strengthen relationship with the donor nations and organisations.
There are countless things that the government has cheated people with. Once again at the beginning of his era President Mutharika had promised that the University colleges will not be closed any how as was the case during Muluzi’s time. To prove him wrong, Chancellor College of the University of Malawi has been closed indefinitely. The situation would not have come to this level had the government been serious with education. The leadership seem not to care because it is the sons and daughters of poor Malawians who go to that college. Therefore those in power do not feel the pain.
The DPP led government has brought Malawi to its knees because people have tolerated cheating by government. The current problems in Malawi are a wake up call that Malawians must always question statements from leaders including the State President. They must avoid being carried away by statements which sound too good to be true. In this way no government can be given a chance to cheat people.
President Mutharika and his team should be mindful of the adage which says, ‘what goes around comes around. Their arrogance to aid donors has caught up with them. This is what it means to govern by cheating.
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* Emily Mkamanga Email [email protected]