Malawi’s crisis like a sinking Titanic
In Malawi, the late President Bingu wa Mutharika grew increasingly arrogant months leading to his sudden death in April 2012. He told Malawi’s traditional Western donors, including the British, to “go to hell” for questioning some of his emerging undemocratic tendencies.
The Malawi economy plunged to all time low during that time. Donors decided to withhold aid; two million people had no food; there was no fuel and no forex for import cover. Many companies had retrenched workers owing to a deteriorating economy. On July 20, 2011, Malawians took to the streets to protest against perceived poor economic management and poor governance by President Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). 18 deaths, 98 serious injuries and 275 arrests had been reported.
Three years after his death, Bingu’s younger brother is Head of State. He is fondly referred to by his supporters as ‘Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika’. He is accused of repeating his late brother’s arrogance. He theatrically tells starving Malawians that he “personally does not have any problems; those that have problems, it is their funeral”.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) US (German-born) physicist is credited for coining the adage “Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results”. President Mutharika must desist from repeating his brother’s mistakes at all cost. If he does, President Mutharika risks the same resentment that the late Bingu faced during his last days in office.
Malawi is currently in a crisis. The economy is rapidly going downhill. There is an impending hunger situation. There is deep-seated frustration and desperation among the population. You can see that, conspicuously, on their faces.
Instead of inspiring something positive in Malawians, President Mutharika is boasting he has no ‘problems’. His Vice, Saulos Klaus Chilima is reported to have called “idiots” Malawians who attempt to ask the leadership where it is steering the country to, politically, socially and economically.
What the leadership ought to know is that Malawians are keeping a close watch on their government as to how it will save the nation from sinking further. The leadership ought to realize that Malawians are not a daft lot; they will always hold leaders accountable for their misrule. It is just a matter of time.
It is not an understatement to suggest that the DPP government, under the leadership of the Professor, has wreaked the economy. Just under two years ago, the economy was ticking and the leaders that time had restored Malawi’s relations with her cooperating partners. Those governing that time assertively demonstrated that they were seriously pursuing macroeconomic policies that were intended to spur growth and development. Today, our rulers seem completely lost.
President Mutharika should, as a matter of urgency, rethink his ‘Ndilibe Problem’ stance and start siding with the vulnerable. The crops in the field are wilting because of adverse weather conditions. The future looks bleak for families that depend on agriculture for food and income.
Peter Mutharika should be standing in the maize fields across the country to assess the extent to which the weather has impacted on the crop. This will help him to plan ahead in the light of an impending hunger situation.
Instead of making useless and politically-induced jokes, the President should visit a few ADMARC depots to appreciate the suffering that women with babies on the back endure in the light of shortage of maize.
Instead of promising to construct a state-of-the-art sports complex in Blantyre, the President should be meeting small and medium entrepreneurs to discuss how best his government can help them sustain and grow their businesses in the light of the economically debilitating effect of high taxes on their businesses.
PAC must represent the people
It is now slightly over a week since the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) convened a 5th All-Inclusive Stakeholder’s Conference at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre from the 17th to the 18th February, 2016 with a theme “Defining Solutions to Economic and Political Direction of Malawi”. On 25th February, PAC released a communiqué on that meeting.
According to the communiqué, PAC acknowledges that demands for the current administration to step down coming against the backdrop of a stunted economic growth and deteriorating living standards dominated the two-day meeting.
PAC urges the DPP government “to seriously take note of the pain and frustrations of Malawians; to seriously consider the proposals made by the delegates to the 5th All Inclusive Stakeholders Conference as honest recommendations by representatives of Malawian society”.
The communiqué concludes: “Finally, as PAC, we stand for the voiceless and the poor. In expressing our observations, we read the mood of Malawians and offer our views”.
PAC, people’s views are that the President and the DPP government have failed them and they must go!”
But who comes in? What type of a government can be formed post-Mutharika era, is a puzzle as of now.
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“We need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around.”- Donald Trump
very good observation…. Malawi can never indeed develop only unless you people stop taking a party as a country….. as said Malawi is not Dpp, Mcp,Pp etc Let Malawi be Malawi…. people Come nd work as one…. go listen to songs in the 90’s akukamba zanjala…admac chani chani was there Dpp? Amalawi vuto Lathu ndilokhalo sitifuna kugwila ntchito limodzi…. as for you Pac is that wat u wea assignd to do…?
More lies than truths for the sake of self satisfaction, inherent greed and hatred, all these combined make the whole group of opposition and the so called PAC together with the writer’s sentiments. Here are the facts: Firstly the PAC is a big mouthed organisation that delivers nothing to the people but has been harvesting from the citizenry since the birth of the Malawi nation. I wasn’t born yesterday but I still remember many years of abject poverty passed by during the reign of Dr KB and hundreds were sleeping at Admarc markets and Grain and Milling waiting to buy… Read more »
Bentry Smart, am 100% agreeing to your synopsis. Can you make it available to govt, you have good ideas.
Peter is far from Bingu. Peter is too democratic for development to happen. For Africa to prosper we need some sort of dictatorship. Uncontrolled democracy has never developed a country. Democracy is imposed by the West to bring chaos and disorganization so that they benefit from that. As for you Thom you are not qualified to speak for Malawi. You pay your taxes and allegiance to Her Majesty’s government. You pay nothing to Malawi government. So leave Malawi government issues to us taxpayers here.
Chambe: Donors know that cashgate started with Bingu,rip, they are not as daft as us. They still waiting for action to be taken. They know GG is having sleepless nights trying to doctor it, which will ruin his reputation. Anyway, GG was a total failure from day one.
Rather the headline was supposed to be “Malawi journalism like a sinking titanic. Let me school you Thom, to say Peter and Bingu have similarities is a complete phalacy unless if you are telling a baby who was born only yesterday. Peter and Bingu are quite different. Peter is more accommodative to criticism than the later. To say things were better two years ago is being too hypocritical. We are having stable fuel and commodity prices now that two years ago. If you are a true Malawian, you were supposed to realise that the worst government in the history of… Read more »
A COMBINATION OF JOYCE
BANDA AND KHUMBO KACHALI
THOUGH SOME EVIL MINDED
PEOPLE CALLED THEM KAMABEDI AND WAMANDASI
WAS FAR MUCH BETTER THAN
WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING
FRANKLY SPEAKING IF KHUMBO
AND JOYCE WERE LEADING
ALL THESE PROBLEMS WOULDNT
HAVE BEEN THERE
I PERSONALLY SALUTE THESE TWO LADS FOR JOB WELL DONE
WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE
GOD BLESS YOU GUYS !!!
Gaffment is serious business,there is no leader in Malawi who has never encountered problems,what I see is that the two major opposition parties are two hungry for power,on top of that they failed to accept election results,there is no one who is going to come out clean regards to Malawi leadership,lets just accept our position instead of endless bickering.
The events that lead to Bingu’s downfall are totally different from what is happening today. There was no fuel and forex then, a situation that made life so painful.The restoration of the Donor countries’ relations with Malawi and resuming of Budget Aid was easier then than it would be now. This is because the previous suspension of aid was for the reasons as you Thom has explained; poor governance and the chasing away of the British envoy. The suspension of aid this time around under JB was Theft of the budget aid – cash gate. Now the two circumstances are… Read more »
Guys you are all waiting government to give you jobs to feed you to buy you medicine. What are you in turn or will you do to your government?