Renowned economic expert Henry Kachaje has said Malawians are 40 percent poorer today than they were a year ago and blamed the citizens for their silence when the economic situation is worsening.
Kachaje, who is also president of Economists Association of Malawi, said this during a debate on Monday in Lilongwe organised by Oxfam to discuss the widening gap in Malawi between the rich and the poor.
He said Malawians are too timid to demand right directions for their country.
“We think they (leaders) are wiser, we think one man is wiser than all of us, we think a group of people is wiser than all Malawians,” he said.
Professor Chijere Chirwa of Chancellor College, a constituent of the University of Malawi, said unless Malawians stop taking their leaders as Messiahs, Malawians will always be impoverished.
He said Malawians should always demand good services from their leaders, make their leaders transparent and accountable instead of hero worshipping them or being perpetual hand clappers.
“We tend to believe in messiahism, we praise them because we take them as messiahs. This must stop. We should be able to tell them if you don’t perform, leave office,” he said.
Professor Wiseman Chirwa also mentioned lack of visionary national leadership and worsening corruption as some of the factors that have worsened poverty while a few elite become richer.
He said: “There have been rising inequalities with concurrent cases of corruption and fraud, what is the correlation? Or, is this just a coincidence?
“The inequality must be first explained by asking the fundamental question why this happening, the focus on access to services is and whether there are rules to protect the poor are crucial. The laws that govern the access to resources favour the rich. Even those who get a coupon in this country have a direct link to a Cabinet minister or the MP.”
Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi said it was disheartening that Malawians think criticising politicians is a taboo.
“We are harmless yet you fear to criticise us when we go wrong,” she said.
Oxfam says in these hard and harsh economic times, the gap between the haves and halve not’s increasingly widening as the poor are getting poorer and poorer by day.
Malawi is facing turbulent economy which is forcing the health sector and education sector among key public social services to increasingly collapse affecting millions of the poor.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :