CSOs tip Malawi govt on transformational leadership: ‘Don’t be afraid to burn your fingers’

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Malawi have advised the government to embrace transformational leadership if it is to truly realize the aspirations of the newly adopted African Union’s development Agenda 2063.

Makhumbo Munthali: It’s high time our leaders’ embraced transformational leadership

The Agenda 2063  is a framework reflecting African solutions to its spearheaded by the African Union and adopted by member states.

Speaking during a highly powered panel discussion held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe recenlty organised by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Malawi Human Rights Commission to debate government’s implementation of the newly adopted Agenda 2063, a local governance activist Makhumbo Munthali advised government that transformational leadership was key towards Malawi’s realization of all the 7 aspirations of the agenda 2063.

“If truth be told, the key to Malawi’s realization of these aspirations is our ability to do away with certain elements of our political culture which inhibits progress in development, and most importantly embrace transformational leadership in both the political and administrative arms of the public sector,” he said.

Mutharika said elements of Malawi’s culture which include prevalence of patronage and clientelism; opportunism corruption; excessive deference to authority; fear, docility and suspicion “do not provide a conducive environment for inclusive growth and sustainable development for the country as envisaged in the agenda 2063.

Addded Munthali, who is also the National Secretary of the Ethics, Peace and Justice Commission of Evangelical Association of Malawi: “It’s high time our leaders’ embraced transformational leadership if we are truly achieve this African dream. By transformational leadership, I mean a kind of leadership that is not afraid to burn its fingers when spearheading economic, social, political or cultural reforms.

“In fact, transformational leadership must be understood in contrast with transactional leadership. Transactional leadership essentially operates within the status quo and does not attempt to change it. Under transactional leadership its business as usual.  Transformational leadership, on the other hand, brings about fundamental change in the political, social and economic realm of societyby often destroying the old way of doing things and making away for a new one.

“Transformation leaders emphasize a collective vision and earn respect and trust from their subjects or followers; are inspirational to their followers or subjects as they motivate them to achieve the best; are able to challenge the status quo towards real change. This is the kind of leadership that we need not only in government but also in other sectors in order to achieve agenda 2063,” argued Munthali.

Vocal youth and children’s rights activist Leon Matanda observed that only when the youths are liberated from what he called “a conspiracy by the old generations against the youths” Malawi would be assured of economic and democratic transformation considering the fact that the old generations that were entrusted with leadership were visionless, as they only focused on short term development aspirations that would benefit them in their lifetime at the expense of longtime, transformative goals.

He also cautioned against politicizing the development agenda.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Programmes Manager Patson Gondwe observed that as long as African governments would stick to their current attempts aimed at closing up the civic space of Civil Society Organisations through politically-motivated regulations and policies the Agenda 2063 will remain a dream rather than a reality.

Government’s Chief State Advocate Pacharo Kayira SC said the Malawi government was committed to realizing the aspirations of Africa by 2063 as enshrined in Agenda 2063

“For Malawi, as a member of African Union, we have the obligation to realize these aspirations, and as government we are committed to them. Our desire is for Africa to move together, and as a country we cannot afford to be left behind in as far as attaining the said inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“ Yes, the primarily responsibility to implement the Agenda 2063 lies with government. However, government cannot successfully implement this alone. There is need for a joint effort from all of us as Malawians. This requires us to own and believe in the Agenda 2063. Let’s believe that we can do better. Let’s believe in Malawi”, said Kayira, taking his turn in the panel discussion moderated by Zodiak Broadcasting Station’s Joab Chakadza and attended by government, constitutional bodies and civil society groups.

However, while acknowledging the commitment and some efforts that government had already demonstrated towards attaining the AU’s agenda 2063

The panel discussion, which focused on aspiration number 3 (An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and rule of law), was also part of a series of activities which the Malawi government through the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs  had lined up to commemorate 30 years of African Charter.

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