All we want is a good Malawi: Letter from Sapitwa

In the Holy Bible on 2 Timothy 4 verse 7, states “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Today we say to Her Excellency the President Dr. Joyce Banda, we write to Mr. Atupele Muluzi, we write to Professor Peter Mutharika and we write to Reverend Dr. Lazarous Chakwera, you have fought a good fight, we are about to finish the race.

May the best person win? Who is Sapitwa? We know that is the question, many want us to insult you, many have taken and personalised the writings, many have accused us of all horrible things. We are a group of Malawians, that all we want is a better Malawi.

Today, from the mountain top, as we prepare to come down the mountain and cast our vote, we want to share our dreams and aspirations for Malawi. We want to share you our manifesto, fears and faith of our motherland.

Malawi presidential hopefuls: Atupele, JB, Chakwera and Mutharika
Malawi presidential hopefuls: Atupele, JB, Chakwera and Mutharika

Together, you and us, we have no other country but Malawi. No other land inspires emotions in us, than the land of Malawi. The Warm Heart of Africa. Whenever God blesses to fly out of the country, we can’t help but sing always from the sky or be it from the road view around Villa Ulongwe we sing always…….Nedson Mapira’s Kaphiri ka Kwathu, kakuonekera.

When we sing about Malawi, we don’t sing as a Lhomwe, Tumbuka, Yao or Chewa or Nyakusya or Ngoni. We sing as Malawians. We sing for mother Malawi. This is what brings tears in our eyes. When our Flames or Queens do better, we smile and shout and sing Lucius Banda’s “azatinva”. We hope, pray and aspire for a Malawi, where our tribe, language or name add to the beauty of diversity, not the curse of not getting a job or a University place.

Today we write to Her Excellency the President, to Ung’ono ung’ono Atu, to Tate Professor and to Abusa Dr. Laz, we are proud to have locked 20 years as a democracy, with its imperfections, we have
journeyed on. We owe it to freedom fighters, those died for our freedom to make their legacy, dreams and aspirations for a free and democratic Malawi work.

From the Catholic Bishops letter, to Chakufwa Chihana’s statement….if I die, my blood shall be the fuel for the engine of democracy. To giant men who fought against the third term, to the freedom fighters that died on July 20, for speaking against excesses. To Robert Chasowa who was murdered for having a voice, we at Sapitwa we say never, never should we as a nation experience such horrible experiences again.

Each regime of the MCP, UDF, DPP and PP has had its good and it’s bad. As the late Bingu wa Mutharika used to say, “it is a relay race, if one runs, give the baton to others.” We hope we all have a spirit of fair play.

We give credit to Dr. Joyce Banda, she is the first President to have run a fair campaign. No opposition has been denied venues, nor state sponsored terrorism reported. That is Madam, the political environment Malawi has aspired for the last four elections. We are glad you made it happen.

Five years ago, on 19th May, 2009, we the plebeians queued and gave mandate to Late Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, Vice President Joyce Banda and elected a further 192 people as our representatives in Parliament. We did not vote to be killed or insulted by politicians nor that Vice President should become a pariah of political systems, we voted for a better Malawi.

Unfortunately at the end of 5 years, we have very little to show of the promises and lies that we were told will happen to Malawi. 5 years down the line, we are still being promised the moon, that we have never had for the past 50 years of independence. Today we submit our aspirations for the next 5 years and hope our voice will enrich the beautiful dreams that our leaders have over Malawi.

We aspire, that from 21st of May, 2014, winners should sit down with losers. Let’s have thanks giving prayers, thanking God for an almost peaceful election (save for Goliati incident). Our supporters should see that we are not enemies but people of the same nation, who answer
to the name Malawi with pride.

When Parliament convenes, let the House vote for someone with high integrity as a Speaker. Each party could put up a candidate and let each candidate be allowed to address all party caucuses, assuring everyone that they will be neutral. The best candidate should emerge to lead the country’s third arm of Government.

Committee Chairmen and Women should be elected on basis of qualification not partisanship. We ask those that are elected independent to remain as such. Do not cross over to parties, it defeats the purpose of balance of power. Let this Parliament have no section 65 hullabaloo.

We aspire that our first post-50years of independence budget will not include subsidy. Let us not subsidise consumption. The majority that get coupons sale it to the rich in their areas for K1, 000.00 only.

Very few use the fertiliser. Actually some unscrupulous companies go around villages buying coupons from the poor farmers. Instead, from the K60 billions of subsidy, let’s take K20 billion and
do contract farming for maize. Ask farmers to produce up to 3 million tonnes, enough for consumption and Government will buy from them. This is faster, cheaper and less money consumption.

For areas like Lower Shire, Balaka and other flood or drought prone, let them not grow maize, but cash crops. Let us use the K20 billion for dams to do water harvesting, so that communities can grow maize and other crops twice a year through basic irrigation.

On education, let us revert to GSCE syllabus for education system. Ours has been a massive failure and we can’t measure it against anything in the World. Primary schools should end at Standard seven or six, secondary up to form 5. Parents should make a contribution of K1000.00 so that they show some sense of responsibility for their primary school children. Many don’t care since it is a free service.

Option of Form should be made available. University Degree should be reduced to three years, we can’t be spending money to teach A level English at a University.

Each district could have a technical or a teachers or nursing college. We should encourage arts as well as sciences. Music, theatre and many aspects of arts can be easily exported. Let us celebrate our rich history by launching the Museum of Southern Africa, where legacies of David Livingstone, Mandelas, Kamuzus, Kaundas, Nyereres and others can be compiled in one place and linked for tourism and academic purposes.

For Health, let all referral hospital be fee paying. Only cases referred from Health Centres and District Hospitals should be treated on Government cost. Treatment for fractures, scanning, dental and other specialists not referred from a District Hospital or a Health Centre, just like maternity should be fee paying. A hospital that fails to deliver, should have its administration sacked, that simple.

Let us reinvest in tourism and financial services. With mining and oil explorations, gas discoveries in Mozambique, Kenya, Angola, huge mineral deposits in Tanzania, DR Congo, we are centrally located as a place people can do banking and trade services at better tax rate.

Fire and revamp MRA, Immigration and Road traffic. The best way is to introduce an electronic identity card which will look like a phone sim card, but has all identity details of each Malawian. We will no longer have to register for elections not have a driver’s license all over printed and costing us more. We need to adapt our technology the way we have adapted cell phones for banking or sending news.

Finally retire most of the Civil Servants. They are old and can’t change or adapt to new technologies. Capital Hill should have been online real time, documents should be processed electronically, information shared quickly and approvals done in seconds. There are too many PSs without even personal emails or they can’t change a damn mind about technology. Many of them too are stuck in feeling self-importance mode than service delivery. Government can do Skype conferencing for its officials without travelling for two days to Mangochi to talk of things they know. In short we need a new Malawi, with technologically complaint Civil Service, which can be monitored and with less corruption to issue documents like Police reports, driver’s licenses or passports.

To the end, we pray for a God fearing leader. Someone who thinks life is precious, humble and works for us the poor Malawians.

Our writings are for the good of the nation, we chose to scrutinise the opposition leaders, as they are the ones we do not really know, they need to be subjected to rigorous scrutiny. JB had 11 candidates doing that for Malawians.

It takes 3 days to come down from the mountain, our free internet does not work in most parts of Malawi, but we speak for many, that all we want, all our musings and writings are that we want a better life, a better country. There would not be another great place for us to live in, there would not be another generation we wish to associate with Malawi.

After the people’s verdict on May 20, 2014, we are sure, we will write again, and we wish you all a happy, peaceful and victorious election. Long live democracy.

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