One of the obvious reasons for Malawi’s fight for democracy was for people to get back their freedoms which were denied by Dr Kamuzu Banda’s dictatorship. As it were, of more important is the freedom of expression through which alternative views for running the country can be offered.
To start with it must be mentioned that for the alternative views equation to be complete, those in authority must be prepared to listen and respond accordingly to the views of other players. In fact, freedom of expression is a two way process.
So far, it has already been exhaustively said somewhere else that Malawians are faced with the worst ever economic crisis because President Bingu wa Mutharika and his government seem to have neither listened nor taken on board suggestions from other people. This makes the President and his government as a problem to Malawi.
Surprisingly, on his return from the recent African Union meeting in Ethiopia, President Mutharika defended himself at a press conference that despite the economic problems in the country, he is not the problem With all due respect, the President should know better that he is the problem. This is for the simple reason that he is the Head of State and that it is his faulty policies that he uses to rule this country.
It is even very unfair and a mockery to the suffering Malawians that at the same press conference the President reveled that he knows where Malawi forex goes. The obvious question is, ‘if he knows why can’t he get the forex back or institute control measures to avoid forex going into wrong hands?
Meanwhile, President Mutharika should know better that as Malawians experience excruciating suffering under his rule, macho speeches from him are the last things they want to hear. Instead he must offer solutions to the problems. Full stop.
Most likely, the President is talking tough as a way of defending his regime. This is why at every opportunity he narrates all the past achievements. Fair enough. But cataloguing past achievements amidst countless life threatening problems does not make much sense. This is just like telling a terminally sick person that though he cannot access medicine at the time, the hospital used to have a lot of medicines in the past. Who can appreciate such meaningless information?
It is no exaggeration that based on the current economic situation, the Mutharika regime can hardly be defended. Some of his supporters might say that those who are critical of the President’s performance are simply jealousy of him and hate him personally. This is shallow thinking. People with such retrogressive mind set must know that regardless of who is in power, Malawians will never take suffering while lying down just to please government. If what we have is a government for the people, then it goes without saying that people have the right to criticize it.
In fact it can be said without fear of contradiction that the Mutharika regime cannot give any justification as to why it has subjected Malawians to such torturous suffering. The regime performance leaves a lot to be desired. Indeed, defending such a regime can be a tall order and this is why government critics are facing all sorts of threats so as to shut them up.
*EMILY MKAMANGA. Email [email protected] co uk