Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.–Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Og Mandino, writes in his The Greatest Miracle in World that most humans, in varying degrees, are already dead. Most men in one way or another have lost their dreams, their ambitions, their desire for a better life. They have surrendered their fight for self-esteem and they have compromised their great potential. They have settled for a life of mediocrity, days of despair and nights of tears.
At times it makes me think that in these musings, Og Mandino had Malawi in his mind. Malawi is truly one of those men that are already dead and resigned to their fate. I say we need to be resurrected from such a sorry condition. I have said it before, and I need to say it again, Malawians are people so defeated by their own pain. Yet we need not remain in that state. We can be resurrected from this sorry condition. We can perform the greatest miracle in the world. We can come back from the dead.
Again, Malawi is one country that seem to thrive on mediocrity and enjoys it. The question which boggles the mind is what is the root of our problem? Is it us the people who are at fault? Is it probably out of our orientation? Or should we put all the blame on our leaders? Questions I really don’t have straight answers. However, most schools of thought suggest that the root cause of failure of any society is its leadership. And with the perpetual sorry state of our affairs, I am tempted to agree with this line of thought. If a society is led by a mediocre leader, the end result is that such mediocrity goes down to all levels of society and slowly it becomes the core of how such a society operates.
Before, we go into salient issues let me talk about Japan, a country where one Bentry Namasasu is to represent our country as the Deputy Ambassador. Japan is one of the top economies of the world and if you don’t know although Japan is one of the largest exporting countries, it is one country that needs imports to keep itself fed. Although Japan is rated highly in food self-sufficiency, the self-sufficiency rate only takes on board rice, eggs, whale meat and mandarin oranges, however, the rate for essential ingredients for other food needs, including soy beans, is a mere five percent, and just 13 percent for daily necessities like cooking oil. Even, half of the meat products consumed in Japan is imported.
Until just after the Second World War, Japanese mainly ate rice, some fish, vegetables and miso soup. But as their income increased during the rapid postwar economic growth, a great variety of Western food became available for average consumers. These changes substantially lowered the nation’s food self-sufficiency because it reduced rice consumption. Recent data show the annual consumption of rice per capita, at 126.2 kg in 1960, declining to 67.4 kg in 2006. Instead of rice, Japanese started eating more meat—for which the nation relied more and more on imports over the years—and consumed more oil, especially vegetable oil, whose ingredients are largely imported. In recent times Japan has also seen an increase in imports of livestock feed.
This is just to show that for any rightful thinking and serious government, Japan is not where a country sends diplomats who are there just to be on a vacation but serious diplomats who have what it takes to exploit the available opportunities and advise their sending countries accordingly.
I really doubt if Namasasu can achieve anything out of Japan. My worry is that diplomatic posts are supposed to be done on merit. Diplomats are supposed to represent Malawians (and not DPP) abroad, and it is important that we appoint people with exceptional capabilities. Any sense of civility would know that Namasasu is someone who does not stand up to that billing.
To begin with: the available information out there, Namasasu’s only known achievement so far, is managing to thief his way into the Honourable House of Parliament and fraudulently managing to pocket hefty sums of money in allowances for two and a half years from the National Assembly and get away with it (Parliament openly said that despite being booted out of the House by the courts, he would not be forced to give back the loot).
Probably, the other credential, was his fooling around the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to believe that the fire at its warehouses in Lilongwe, where some ballot papers were destroyed as his closest rival in the elections Ulemu Msungama was pushing for the same ballots to be recounted, was just some natural occurrence without any ill hand involved. Remember Namasasu won the seat by 98 votes to Msungama, the second-placed candidate from the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Yes, his other (latest) achievement is this one whereby he has successfully ‘threatened’ his way to a diplomatic post after he failed to win a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket to defend his ‘stolen’ seat. I am told that after losing the primaries, he told the DPP that he will contest as an independent, and the DPP fearing a split of votes opted to gift him a diplomatic post.
Japan, is not only a potential trading partner with us gaining big on the exports front if we strategize properly, it is also a key development partner.
This appointment also shows how arrogant and disrespectful the DPP is towards the electorate of Lilongwe City South East constituency who woke up so early to cast their votes, and then be subjected to endure a dubious representation in Parliament for two and half years, only to have the thief, who was supposed to be sent to jail for his action, be rewarded with a diplomatic post. This is a sign that the DPP was indeed in cohort with Namasasu to steal the votes. And no remorse to whatever happened.
Unfortunately, in all this, the bulk ends at the door of our leadership. Our problem starts at political leadership level where even President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika seems not to have real developmental agenda or an idea on how things are supposed to be done to bring change in this country. Through, this appointment, the message Mutharika is sending to Malawians is really difficult to comprehend. However, if you’re a leader who thrives on mediocrity then I don’t think you can see the advantages of moving away from mediocre way of doing things.
Unfortunately, mediocrity is a threat to success. Mediocrity, may be driven by political correctness, some misguided policies or just a lack of awareness but whatever the reason, it is a recipe for disaster. If you’re a leader without the courage to stand up and make a difference you should know that you are slowly killing your society and turning your followers into dead people. The hard truth is that you’re not helping anything or anyone by avoiding the reality and keep on perpetuating the evil.
I have to say it, if a leader allows and promote mediocrity then it’s possible that he or she just might be mediocre. The good thing with us Malawians though, is that most often we react to symptoms and not to the root cause of our problems. Like today, the whole President stoops so low to nod to this crazy DPP deal with Namasasu and some are clapping hands while others are just quite but when other countries, even our neighbors, like Zambia and Mozambique are showing signs of developing we start complaining on how underdevelopment we are.
If one wants to strategically position himself to achieve something there are small, and usually overlooked issues that matter. What we should know as a country is that political parties can write a very good manifesto, but unless they stop being mediocre we will always remain the least developed country and the poorest nation on earth.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :