Malawi leader needs consultative leadership, not declarations to tackle Covid-19

So, the High Court in Lilongwe has, through an injunction by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), stopped government’s move to effect a lockdown starting Saturday midnight after they  argued that more consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society.

A butcher cuts meat at his shop on the streets of an open-air market on the outskirts of Lilongwe. The government is looking to implement a 21-day coronavirus lockdown, which would close the country’s large markets.-Photo by AFP

My immediate reaction, of course, was to worry. In fact, I am worried.

I am worried because, though not 100 percent, lockdown is a preventive and mitigative measure we need now, as a country, to stop this steady spread of the virus.

This virus rides on mobility of the people. If we limit, not stop, human mobility, it becomes easy to contain its rapid spread.

Because of this, I was one of the people that supported President Peter Mutharika’s government when they announced the lockdown on Tuesday.

My argument was clear: Government must effect this lockdown; but, at the same time, they should put in place mechanisms that the poorest of the poor, who survives on daily hustles, must be protected and cushioned from the shocks resulting from the lockdown.

It’s clear that my argument was shared by many though not everybody was certain that government has, indeed, come up with measures to cushion the poor.

This is the reasoning at the heart of the decision by HRDC to seek an injunction stopping government from effecting the lockdown.

At the heart of this—something well reflected in mass demonstrations we have seen on Friday, is the fear that government will take a heavy hand to contain everybody, in fact, even tramping on those trying to survive.

It’s not easy to challenge this perspective because, we know, Mutharika’s government has been  a total disaster when it comes to winning public trust.

But I argue that we are in this continues fighting mood not because HRDC and opposition hates government; rather, the Peter Mutharika government continue to lead alone even at a time when we need all stakeholders in this fight.

Look at it this way.

When South African government officially went public to wage war against this pandemic, President Ramaphosa didn’t go alone.

He was franked by all opposition leaders and that was symbolic—its symbolizes unity of purpose among politicians.

It underlined that, in this challenge, we are together; we have a common sense of purpose. That is why, though most hit, South Africa is doing quite well, especially, with politicians coming together.

Not in Malawi. President Mutharika has been all alone in this fight. Chakwera and Chilima have also been all alone. Different messages, different approaches—not coordination. The fight against COVID-19 is not a DPP issue and neither is it an opposition or an HRDC issue. It’s a national issue.

And in this nation, we have one leader: President Mutharika. He should have been the first talking a consultative leadership approach in this fight by ensuring that every political leader is on board.

Mutharika’s quest of running a secluded leadership style is breeding suspicions and doubts. That is why we have these unnecessary court injunctions.

The good thing is that the court has granted a 7-Day injunction and I am sure it is deliberate by the courts to give Mutharika a chance to bring the entire nation into this challenge.

In these 7 days, Mutharika must prove his leadership mettle by ensuring that all key stakeholders are involved in this fight. We must all move together.

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Mtete
Mtete
10 months ago

Too militant and undiplomatic this APM. Poor fellow can’t see the writing on the wall.
A nowhere man living in his nowhere land making out his nowhere plans for nobody.

richard mwandira
richard mwandira
10 months ago

wide clear and understandable

Nyekhwe
Nyekhwe
10 months ago

We need to understand that APM would not be president if it were not for his surname. He does not like making decisions, just like some people we may know from our work places, churches and families. Remember the Chancoll freedom saga? Instead of making a decision he went AWOL for a whole two months. The issue dragged on for almost a year. And he was the Minister of Education. Real power in this regime is in the hands of the ministers. While APM derives a lot of pleasure from BEING president, the ministers see their main objective as being… Read more »

Chiga
Chiga
10 months ago
Reply to  Nyekhwe

Mau mau! Unfortunately Malawi has a very unpopular leadership style at the moment where as long as all is well for the ruling elite and close relatives and die-hard DPP supporters, it is business as usual whatever happens to the rest of the citizenry! Lord have mercy!

Dumerang
Dumerang
10 months ago
Reply to  Nyekhwe

Well articulated

The SNIPER
The SNIPER
10 months ago
Reply to  Nyekhwe

Great!

Junior citizen
Junior citizen
10 months ago

Let Who have 👂 hear cry 💔😢 for the beloved country Malawi.

kaukonde
kaukonde
10 months ago

At the heart of all this is money because DPP are known to be very greedy when issue are involving money. They dont want to share but eat among themselves. There is a video clip making round attacking Chisale but if you go deep you will find that the bottom line is money where Chisale is seen as being possessive of the president and accumulating wealth for himself. Chisale is one of the richest civil servants seconded by Munkhitho. Chisale has over 100 town houses, top of the range motor vehicles and he is able to donate millions to churches.

Munthu
Munthu
10 months ago

Peter thinks he and janeare the smartest lawyers in the land. Let them harvest fruits of their arrogance!
Malawians have been reduced to tenants on the extended Mutharika Estate.
Any estate manager knows that you need reliable capitaos to be successful, not the likes of : Mchacha, Dausi, Ben Phiri, Vuwa, Ntaba,etc.
I’m afraid things will not end well for peter and his jane….

Ida
Ida
10 months ago

Well written article.

The SNIPER
The SNIPER
10 months ago

Mr Fiko, stop being so low like this Wawa, I don’t think your statement by saying the President was all alone fighting this pandemic is true and you have the Chakwera and Chilima in different, meaning they were having different direction but the same message. The President of this Country if at all we have, was supposed to be the one to ask for the other Political Leaders to join him, but what happened? It was the Leaders of the other Parties who started taking part in fighting of Covid19, do you know why? The President doesn’t know if he… Read more »

Bwai
10 months ago
Reply to  The SNIPER

U dnt knw what u r saying

Thyolo Thava Boy
10 months ago

I see wisdom in this article. Well articulated facts. God bless Malawi

Asyene lyosi
Asyene lyosi
10 months ago

Asyene lyosi says truth have been said here unless the President did try to speak to opposition and business people and non governmental organizations and they were giving him the middle finger

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