Malawians paying highly for tolerating bad governance

Ralph Mawera's 'Point of Order' cartoon published in The Nation newspaper

To say that life in Malawi is unbearable is indeed an understatement. The daily price rises of essential commodities makes them unaffordable. It is pathetic that even maize price has gone up and the little there is at Admarc markets is being rationed to the perceived needy people.

It must be emphasized to the Bingu wa Mutharika government that the majority of Malawians are desperately in need of maize. Therefore segregation in buying maize makes no sense at all.

As Malawians face food shortages, the obvious question to ask is, ‘ what has happened to the food security the President and his government have been bragging so much about?’ Just like with other things, the half truths about food security has caught up with them sooner than later.

In fact, the countless problems that people are facing have attracted all manner of questions. The most common question is, ‘how has Malawi which has known no war, ended up with such unprecedented level of economic chaos equal to countries in the war zones? The other question originates from the fact that the current Head of State, President Mutharika is an economist who is working with so many economists in his government. Then, what has gone wrong  that the country now lacks everything ranging from fuel to panadol in government hospitals?

Malawians are well aware that the problems they are facing did not come overnight. They have been taking root gradually. So many commentators have been raising concerns and President Mutharika is aware of this. Unfortunately, the government seem to have deliberately looked the other way. Hence the current economic mess.

Meanwhile, regrettably, all along Malawians have been tolerating the poor performance of the Mutharika administration. Apart from intimidation, the other reason for such tolerance is probably the assurances from the President that he is capable of solving the people’s concerns. Unfortunately, the assurances have been empty.

The Mutharika regime has given people so many lessons to learn from. A major lesson is that by tolerating bad governance, Malawians have to pay a very high price. Which includes losing their lives. For example, the 19 people who died during the 20th July 2011 demonstrations were not to die.

It is very sad that during the launch of National Forestry Season in Zomba recently, President Mutharika had to mock  suffering Malawians  that they are crying needlessly like chickens. For goodness sake, when a woman cries that she has lost a child due to lack of medicines at a government hospital, is this needless? Is complaining about failure to access forex to urgently seek medical attention outside the country not genuine? Is complaining about job losses not necessary? The list goes on. Give Malawians a break Mr. President.

One wonders if at all President Mutharika knows that the same people he calls chickens had to brave the hot sun for hours, standing on the line to vote for him into power. Malawian might be poor but they are definitely not chickens  Mr. President. They deserve respect even from a Head of State.

It is undeniable that the Mutharika regime has brought the country to its knees. Undoubtedly, the situation is forcing people to think that the best solution is for the government to stand down. The gravity of suffering makes people care very little about who takes over. As long as they are free from the shackles of the DPP led government, all is well.

The only worrisome thing after the change of government is that the current economic chaos has gone too deep and therefore it will ripple into the next government and delay the turn around of the Malawi economy.

The appeal to Malawians is to stop and never again tolerate bad governance. Tolerating leaders who are impervious to advice should be the last thing. It is high time that the Malawi Constitution must have a provision for dealing with know- it- all leaders who make people suffer.

It is no use splitting hairs in denying the fact that Malawians have suffered in tolerating bad governance under President Mutharika. Lastly, it is time Malawians refrain from the layback attitude, instead must have a fighting spirit against any  present and future government which is incompatible with peoples aspirations and expectations.

Emily Mkamanga. Email [email protected]

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