Performances are not always what we would like them or expect them to be, but simply put; our ministers have lost the plot. They lack common sense and consistency.
Their actions have betrayed them; they make Malawians believe that they live in Paris, not Malawi. They have chosen not to listen to people’s problems, qualifying them as politicians who do not understand the local languages but only communicate in French.
What has gone wrong?
In this lean cabinet of no more than 20 ministers, 10 of them worked with late Bingu wa Mutharika during his first term, during which time the country transformed in a short period. Malawi was feeding itself and above all, exporting maize. What has gone wrong now? Bingu was not working alone; it was these same ministers doing their job right.
The Sunday Times has made a comprehensive assessment of the cabinet, with most of the ministers getting below average marks. Though critics have expressed doubt on the Times assessment procedures, our public officer’s performance has led them to the skimpy assessment trap. Ben Kaluwa, an economics professor at Chancellor College, gave the cabinet 1 out of 10. The Consumer association head, John Kapito, gave the cabinet 4 out of 10. Both Kaluwa and Kapito said that the cabinet has not met people’s expectations. I totally agree; in my dreamland, the ministers live in Paris and speak French. The ministers are detached from local Malawians.
Ministers in Paris
The reason why in my dreamland ministers live in Paris is because they seem to know nothing about what is going on in Malawi. Instead of advancing, the country is moving backwards. Weaknesses are outnumbering strengths. Our Ministers speak French because they cannot understand the local languages. People are complaining about the price rise of essential commodities, frequent electricity blackouts, poor medical standards, corruption, security problems and low salaries, amongst many; these problems relate to ministries, but because the ministers are in Paris and speak French they cannot understand these problems.
Take the minister of Education for example; he went to Paris long time ago, a primary school in Dedza has got one teacher, a school in Nsanje, students learn under trees and there is no school block. Can the minister of Education come back from Paris please, and tell us why girls in the North do not have bursaries like their sisters in other regions? Tell us why the primary school feeding programme is only in parts of Mzuzu, and yet it is all over in other regions.
This cabinet has failed to understand people’s needs. Of course, Malawians enjoy Bright Msaka, minister of Energy’s, folktales on electricity, but a proactive cabinet knows what the people want. All what our ministers are saying is that Malawi is developing fast, and yet people world overare laughing at us when they browse through our statistics as presented by world bodies on their websites.
President Peter Mutharika has repeatedly said that we should not wash dirty linen in public; “defend your country,” he cries. How can we defend our country when world statistics are there for the world to see? Okay, Mr President, here is some good news. Malawi does not appear amongst countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world; however, our GDP per capita in 2016 was £929. Almost 75% of the population earns $1.25 per day. Are our ministers happy about this?
World health organisation is claiming that our health services are the poorest in the world. Unicef is saying that our children are the most starved. Unless our ministers come back from Paris and start speaking local languages, World statistics on Malawi will never change.
There is too much pressure now on the President who is trying to defend these non-performing ministers.
Pressure on President Mutharika
Ministers are putting too much pressure on the President. At every rally the President is trying to prove to Malawians that his government is performing. He is now becoming a better commentator than our football commentator Steve Liwewe Banda, the difference being that the President is a projects commentator; “My government will construct new universities, we have introduced technical colleges, we are constructing roads, hospitals, you will not starve, freedom of the press…” The President is labouring himself like this because Ministers are in Paris. Bingu was not a projects commentator, he was simply saying this, “Let the works of my hands speak for me”. Why? Ministers were performing. First president of Malawi, Dr Kamuzu Banda, never took any nonsense. He was firing non-performing ministers no matter how close a minister was to him.
Fire non-performing ministers
The President should send a strong message to ministers, particularly to underperformers. Our ministers have led to the embarrassment of the government and party. As far as I am concerned, a reshuffle might see the cut of some underperformers, as the government wants to focus mainly on its development agenda ahead of the 2019 elections.
Mr President! How will keeping deadwood help you? Are you telling me that out of 17 million Malawians, the only people you can see are these 18 ministers who are in Paris?
Mr President! Our ministers have lost the plot. They lack common sense and consistency. No one should be fired because of gossip but the actions of this lot have surpassed gossip.
- The cabinet has been accused of not offering hope to a nation in dire straits.
- The cabinet has been accused of not meeting people’s expectations.
- The cabinet has been accused of corruption.
And WHY are you still clinging to them?
I will not defend you Mr President if people start calling you a weak leader. I will write another article specifically for you if some ministers are not dropped in the nearest future.