Malawi is referred to as “the warm heart” of Africa because of its hospitable and peaceful environment. In most instances, the country which has peace is likely to develop because people are committed to development other than solving conflicts.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with our mother land. We have been for many years living in peace but still languishing in abject poverty. Why? Where do we go wrong that even those countries involved in conflicts are better than us when it comes to development? Talk of Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and others. These countries are never short of conflicts and bomb blasts but they are way better than we are. I would like to share with you what I have observed and believed are some things which are letting us down in development.
We have recycled political leaders as if we don’t have some brains who can replace these people to bring new ideas in development. Most of these people are the ones who created problems and can not solve the problems they created. The only thing they can do is to defend or justify the righteousness of those evils. Some people still stick to politics not to serve the country but to escape jail for the evils they have done while some are there for self enrichment. Some of them are forced to be in politics by their sympathisers while they don’t have a passion to serve the country as a result, they don’t give their best. Young minds are being blackballed and threatened from taking part in politics.
We also have creation of gratuitous foundations and organisations which are counter development where few individuals benefit not communities intended. Most foundations established by our leaders and their spouses do not serve citizens but as a loophole to deviate funds. It is better for the president and his/her spouse not to form any foundation until they retire except for the one they have been running before ascending to office. Our leaders also, look at every criticism negatively instead of working on their weaknesses. Our leaders have wrong advisors who intend to gain favour not for the good of the country (advisors are not honest). They cheat the president that s/he is doing awesome even when they know s/he is groping.
We have many hands clappers, who believe the only way to survive is to sing praise songs to the leaders. Many people, especially women are busy forming presidential dance groups instead of venturing into profitable business. We have wasted time making gods instead of leaders. This has contributed to the delay of development. During Kamuzu’s time, when he had a rally, people were forced to stop doing whatever they were doing to go and be “maluwa a Kamuzu” (flowers of Kamuzu). Schools and shops could be closed for just a rally. Our chiefs have also been used for political mileage, including their elevation instead of development. They are campaign tools for the political elites.
Our leaders have been for a long time shifting blames, wasting time and tax payers’ money in rallies just to cite how the former administration failed instead of facing the reality, outlining and implementing development policies. Malawi will not develop by blaming the dead of ex-presidents but formulating and implementing right policies. Martin Luther King Junior once said, “There is always time to do what is right”. Let’s stop poring on what went wrong but to do what is right.
Some organisations are busy promoting immorality such as abortion, commercial sex workers’ rights and homosexuality. More money is being spent in promoting evil instead of real issues which will bring development. It is high time to ostracise commercial sex and help those involved to venture into ethical and profitable business. These people can contribute to development in an ethical way other than shortening their and clients’ lives. This is brain wasting.
We have compromised security. Some police officers work along side criminals providing them with fire arms. Malawi is a country where thieves don’t measure what to steal. They can even steal a pot of nsima from one’s kitchen. How can one survive that way? One can’t do just a small business for daily food without thieves coming to steal. How can we develop? We have protected evil people and put to death or snub the innocence. When people kill a murderer, we say, that’s violating his/her (murderer’s) right to life. What about the innocent person who has been murdered? I am not promoting mob justice but justice has to be measured by justice.
Most bank loans are available to the rich not the poor to help alleviate their poverty. Most national development projects are being abandoned by the succeeding leaders for political reasons instead of working towards the good of the nation. Examples are Nsanje port, delayed Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and others.
More money is wasted by following up corruption cases instead of dealing with such cases within the specified time. I wonder if we have not wasted close to Mk1.7 billion on Muluzi’s alleged corruption case of Mk1.7 billion. These cases delay because they are used for political gain not justice.
Governing parties concentrate much on campaign instead of development. Malawi parties do not distinguish time for development from time for political campaign as a result they keep on campaigning even soon after elections instead of fulfilling their promises. Unfortunately we don’t notice.
Cabinet ministers are not appointed on merit but to protect the interest of the president. Most of them are not qualified for the position but they are retained because they are like king/queen makers. They are retained because they are gifted in insulting opposition party leaders while they don’t know what to do as a cabinet minister for the development of our country. In addition, most people go into politics when they are poor, as a result, when we put them in office they work on alleviating their poverty. Poverty leads them to amassing of funds unlawfully.
Our leaders are not visionary; they waste resources giving people hand-outs for political gain instead of giving them hooks to fish for themselves. Our poverty is a campaign tool for our leaders. When a hungry person is given Mk500 for a plate of ufa (flour), he/she looses reasoning to vote for the right person but the crooked Mk500 giver. We are short minded. We don’t see far.
For along time, Malawi has depended much on aid instead of encouraging citizens to use available resources for development. “The bible says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Countries which have been helping us are getting richer and richer while we are getting poorer. It is difficult to use free things wisely since you have not laboured for. This is why those who have laboured for what we get give us with more strings. Malawi has created more job seekers than job creators which is counter-productive.
Note that peace alone cannot bring development but initiatives, real patriotism and creative ideas will. Unless we work on the areas above, we will remain the poorest country in the world or even just SADC. What we have achieved in 49 years is not enough. We can do much better. I know that, I have not exhausted all areas which need attention, and I believe some of you know much better than I do. Let’s advise our leaders in the way we can with a hope for positive change. I welcome all positive criticisms on what I have said.
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