It is a fact that the Northern Regional has been denied development ever since attainment of Independence. The central and southern regions have and are continuously enjoying development from every regime of the day. Most of the districts in the Southern and Central regions have good infrastructure, road networks and government projects being implemented in them compared to the northern region. To a large extent we cannot run away from the fact that tribalism has contributed to such unfair distribution of public wealth by the government itself.
In as much as the north has been denied development due to negligence of the government by omitting its obligation of fairy distributing public wealth, I view federation not to be a way out from this un balanced state of development. I appreciate the concern raised by my fellow northerners that indeed the north has been shunned from its constitutional right to development by the government but federation is not an alternative in this case.
It is wise to have ideas on how to bring about balanced development in all the three regions but let these ideas not be utopia or white elephants in our functioning brains. Federalism in this case as it is being advocated by the pro-federalist, I understand it to be based on political power hunger backed up by true facts of the state of underdevelopment of the region.
It is power hunger in the sense that some of the advocators for federalism were in the government during the regime of former president Joyce Banda but never ever in any way raised such a point of federalism. Why should they now raise such a matter? In this case should we not conclude that these are greedy hearts which if not carefully reasoning with them will infect others with the regressive mentality of under developing this country by dividing it.
I would like to reason with the pro-federalist supporters more especially PP provincial governor Christopher Mzomera Ngwira who seems to be so obsessed with the idea. My questions to him would be has he come to understand that since adoption of democracy up to date, Malawi as a nation has not yet embraced the practicality of the concept of democracy? Now to bring in federalism will it not only complicate things than ever before? In his mind, is he aware that federalism is so expensive and involving than the current system of government we have? That is to say does Malawi have the capacity to function as a federal state?
Further, to what extent does Malawi in this case qualify to be a federal state that is by looking at the influencing factors that validates a country or nation to form a federal state. Geographic wise Malawi is a small state. In addition, there are no intense cultural or ethnic differences in Malawi compared to the most of the existing federal states today. It is interesting to know that Malawi as a nation ever since has been a heterogeneous state in terms of culture and ethnicity.
With such a background of cultural and ethnic differences there has never been any conflict or violence caused by these differences compared to other African states. Why then should we embrace an idea that can both in short and long run bring about violent ethnic differences.
It is instructive at the same time to note that some of the infrastructure development that is in the central and southern region has not been done by the government. Foreign investors and other local investors, many of which are the northerners, have spear headed such development. Most of big mansions in Blantyre and Lilongwe are owned by northerners. I am meant to believe that some of these mansions are for the same pro-federalist advocators. With such truth, i am of the view that in as much as it is the responsibility of the government to equally distribute public wealth, let us also sit down as northerners and encourage each to start expanding investment in north rather than advocating for an alternative that may lead to secession.
In addition, since such political leaders as Christopher Mzomera Ngwira are much concerned with the underdevelopment of the region, why don’t they lobby with the government and even foreign investors to explore the possibilities of investing in the region? Otherwise, federalism in this case is a propaganda advancing one’s own political interest and frustration.
Quoting Prof Chiwoza Bandawe in his “Life Tool” column a piece titled “The Mind – body connection” where he stated that “the unfortunate thing is that we spend much energy wasted on thoughts that will not be of the benefit to us as individuals, as families, communities and as the nation of Malawi”. This is to tell us that let us spend our energy on possible and practical ways of uniting the nation as one and moving with the concept of “The Malawian Dream” and not the utopia idea for Malawi “Federalism”.