The Bankers Association of Malawi in its analysis of the Malawi’s economy in 2013/14, said that “we are too disorganized to progress”. Let me add that we seem to be“too divided to progress”. Probably we were not ready for democracy or we totally misunderstood the whole concept of democracy. As a result, we are too divided to progress forward as a united nation.
The challenge with our current political settlement is that it has left us too divided to progress. We have an opposition that is bent on obstructing economic development “lest the government succeeds”. We have a government that will ignore any wise contributions from anyone in opposition “lest they look wiser than us.” We have political governments that abandon any developmental programs started by the previous regimes “lest they be seen as continuing what someone started”.
I have said this more than ten times: We need a national long-term developmental vision and strategy that spans at least thirty years. Fifty would be much better. We need to go a step further and protect this national vision with appropriate laws. No political party should impose its own development agendas that are not in line with the national developmental vision.
The national development vision must be the unifying thing that pulls all of us together in one direction, regardless our political colours. We cannot attain sustainable socioeconomic development using five-year political party manifestos that are framed without a direct reference to a national long-term national vision. We have tried it for two decades and it has not worked.
The national vision must become the doctrine we sing, think, talk and act upon. Every child in kindergarten, primary and secondary school must know this agenda. It must become part of our learning curriculum. Courses taught in schools, colleges and universities much directly or indirectly contribute to shaping our young people to become patriotic citizens that are moulded into selfless individuals who will view themselves as instruments for progressive socioeconomic change. In colleges and universities, students must be challenged to come up with projects that can help the nation achieve our developmental goals using the most cost-effective and socially enriching methods.
The national budget must be formulated to direct resources towards the achievement of our socioeconomic development vision and goals. We must be disciplined enough to spend our limited resources on key priority areas that make economic sense even when they might be viewed to be expensive politically.
Let us not waste money on programs that only make political sense but have little or no economic gains. Surely, for a country where some school kids learn under trees, it makes no sense for the government to be spending money building houses for individuals,.
We must also realize that if Malawi is to register sustainable socioeconomic development, everyone must be willing to sacrifice in the short term. We must forgo certain things for the sake of building our country. The person in the village must be willing to contribute towards health services. The person in the city must be willing to pay his/her city rates. The politician must be willing to earn less. The President must be willing to let go some of the State Residences, opulence, comfort and splendour. Without sacrifice, there is no redemption for Malawi’s failing economy.