President Arthur Peter Mutharika has good intentions for Malawi. That we can all agree and he is deliberate in decision making. Most of times he acts after being informed and checking facts. Malawians want sometimes politically quick decisions.
Today, almost three years since he was sworn in on June 1, 2014, President Mutharika can walk with mdidi. He has done it. The confidence in Malawi Government financial systems has been restored. This is an important milestone, any Malawian who loves Malawi should celebrate.
Let’s forget politics. Malawians elected Government to deliver their aspirations. The President, who has only travelled less than 15 times in three years, making him the less travelled leader for our frequent flyers since Kamuzu Banda, has shown that patience and discipline can change the course of our nation.
He has been patient to walk his promises. A lean Cabinet, he has walked it. He has been patient about reforms, he walked them, of course until Dr. Soulosi Chilima was fired from them after some sharp tongues convinced him he was brewing some mischief. I would argue the President to restore Chilima to reforms, the achievements of reforms will be attributed to President Mutharika nobody else.
The same with Goodall Gondwe. We all agree he has aged and needs to rest. But here we are again celebrating the old man again for steering the treasury to where we are today. Goodall needs someone to understudy him now. The old man of Kacheche has served his country well, and twice saved us from economic collapse. Again kudos go to the President for having confidence in his Minister of Finance and allowing him to have a free hand to whip those that would not want to listen.
President Mutharika, I can confidently say was the right man for the job. Our economy on its knees after the 2013 cashgate scandals and run without donor money for 36 straight months, indicates a serious man in charge, who knows, contrary to popular opinion, what he is doing.
Mutharika has shown great leadership in allowing his Ministers to lead without much of political party interference. The other confident Ministers delivering include Trade Minister Joseph Mwamvenkha, Health Minister Dr. Kampalume, Home Affairs Minister Grace Obama Chiume and even the sacked Chaponda- who left us enough maize for this season. Akweni Patricia Kaliati too was an advocate and practical woman, Nicholasi Dausi has always been the right person for media, Francis Kasaila fits well at Foreign Affairs he is a natural born diplomat, Henry Mussa is the right politician and Tembenu at Justice is doing a commendable job. Atupele Muluzi at Lands and Housing has also been a performer.
Serious challenges remain at Transport and Education sectors. We might need to shake a few heads to improve service delivery, find solutions for colleges and bring them at par with the rest.
Why am I all praise and happy about Mutharika presidency. For once I would disregard for politicians and call him by Joseph Nkasa’s name “Yoswa.” But for APM the journey has not yet started. He might need to think this as the foundation of a legacy, Mutharikas, both him and Late Bingu can build for generations. By restoring confidence of the donors- we say thank your Mr. President.
But there are a few things that can speed up our fight against poverty and make the brand Mutharika loved for the next generation. Here are some of the random thoughts:
Tourism: Let us have a five-year plan for tourism development. I would argue we relocate 30 billion kwacha from subsidy and invest in tourism. We already have a beautiful country. All we need is to improve service, visas systems and marketing of the country. Malawi High Commission in UK has led in massive marketing of Malawi- I would encourage you visit their facebook page and hire the chaps there to do a national plan. They know their stuff very well. Mr. President, one million tourists coming to Malawi each spending one thousand dollars is one billion dollars. This is income which combines tobacco, tea and sugar export earnings. Let us invest in tourism now.
Agro-processing; Malawians currently produce crops using hoes. This must stop. Farm mechanisation and irrigation should become a national programme. Not the tractors that end up with rich public officials. Let us invite tractor manufacturer plants from countries like Japan or order 1,000 tractors for all wards to be managed at local level. By mechanising farm systems, we will have more hectarage, more production and means more food crops for exports. Let the Government support new graduates to set up export oriented companies in agro-processing industries. We can feed the whole region and export some crops to Asia and Middle east where our legumes are fetching high prices. Lets say we export 600 million dollars of produce annually, the farmers directly will share at least 300 million dollars.
Mining and other mineral resources; Let us change our laws system, make it more transparent and make sure all mining ventures Government retains 40 percent shares. If Malawi Government wants to borrow or guarantee money for such mining ventures, we can all agree if we hold 40 percent of the mine and make sure we are open about it. This alone can add another 500 million dollars to the national economy.
Infrastructure and services: Mr President, there are a few projects we need to consider quickly. We can do solar farms quickly which will make sure we have electricity in the afternoon. Let us do tarmarc roads to Zoa Falls, Livingstonia, Nkhotakota Game Reserve, Lake Chilwa, Nyika national park and Kasungu national park. Let explore the Ntwara development corridor. Lets have the Neno Tsangano road, Ntchisi Malomo, Ntchisi Mwamsambo via Kasakula and lets us develop stairs up to Dziwe la Nkhalamba. All these Your Excellency will add value to our economy quickly. Include in your next plan possibility of the Lilongwe Lusaka and Blantyre-Harare rail line. Let us propose these to the Chinese under their one belt one road project.
The last element Your Excellency, have a proper financial, trade and foreign affairs negotiating teams. The people you send to represent you should have skills and knowledge to know where they want to take Malawi.
Malawi can have industrial parks for ICT, food processing and mineral processing in the SADC region, but these can be done from visionary and capable people. At Malawi Investment and Trade Centre bring in marketers who have ideas what the modern marketing of a country requires.
The same with our core departments officials in Trade, Immigration and Foreign Affairs who meet officials from outside Malawi. It is time we moved on in modern technology, aggressively market Malawi and enjoy the beauty the God created Malawi as a wonder in the world.
As we celebrate your third anniversary with your remarkable achievement, let us make it the beginning of a new journey for Malawi. An end of poverty, an end to mediocrity and a let history make it as the day we started seriously eradicating poverty.
Only four areas Your Excellency- Tourism, agro-processing, mining and minerals and infrastructure- the Mutharika legacy could be like those of Lee Kaun Yew of Singapore- a man who redefined Singapore future as President Paul Kagame is redefining Rwanda.
Dzuka Malawi, ReBoot Malawi, let us walk a new journey!
Ends.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :