Of Chilima mindset and ‘Apumbwa’ attitude

On August 12, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) launched the Parker Solar Probe riding a ULA Delta IV rocket on a path toward solar orbit. Equipped with four instrument suites, the probe is solar-powered, and will be driven by the energy of the star it is studying over the course of its seven-year journey.

Target on Apumbwa, Chilima displays a catapult he was given at Masasa

The mission is to solve some of the stubbornly persistent mysteries about the sun by getting closer than ever before.

While the United States was celebrating this groundbreaking “feat”, people in Malawi were equally busy arguing on the possibility of creating a million jobs in a year as posited by Vice-President Saulos Klaus Chilima (SKC).

Personally, what has excited me about the whole debate is not the possibility or impossibility of Chilima’s idea; rather, it is the people’s reactions and arguments that have since spewed out on this proposal. And that President Peter Mutharika even joined the bandwagon, to the extent of going ballistic about this proposal.

Let us face it. The age of average is over. Leading and fostering a country to remain competitive in the 21st century just as our neighbouring countries are doing requires extra imagination, creativity, self-belief and drive.

It is this boldness to dream big, declare and coalesce the citizens into imagining the possibility of a million jobs that is appealing to me.  In 1961, the US President John F. Kennedy equally inspired a nation by proposing a big idea and attaching a deadline to it.

He said: “This nation should commit itself, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”  Many scientists thought it could not be done but since Kennedy had set a deadline, they were forced to try.  The conversation changed from “we can’t do it” to “well, if we were to do it by the deadline, how would we accomplish it?”

Equally, Chilima’s proposal has now woken up people from their stupor. Now people are beginning to look around their surrounding and are seeing endless possibilities that could be achieved out of the immense resources bestowed on us.

It is the ability, to make people think, debate and invoke their imagination on things that really matter, that we need as a country.  Unlike the usual “apumbwa” attitude characteristic of most Malawians that always think  negative, and is constantly on the lookout to smoke out brilliant ideas, Chilima is demonstrating to have bold big dreams, focus and gumption—a pivotal mixture of factors for any success, though not all-encompassing.

I believe Malawi is stuck in a rut of poverty and misery not for lack of ideas and brilliancy – far from it. It is rather the dream killers who prowl our families, our offices, our universities, our communities and the breadth and length of our country with their sharp tongues of negativity ready to snip any innovative idea in the bud, who are our greatest enemies.

Take ‘The boy who harnessed the wind’, William Kamkwamba for example. He had read about windmills and dreamt of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only a few of Malawians enjoy: electricity and running water. He was called wamisala (crazy) but he refused to let go of his dreams.

“With a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armoury of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him”. And as is always the case in Malawi, William received not a single iota of support from fellow Malawians or the government. It was the Americans, believers of big ideas—that spotted his aptitude and nurtured his talent.

The lesson is that, without a clear vision of how you will move society forward, you cannot succeed in creating innovative ideas that take people out of persistent poverty. Malawi leaders ought to dream and communicate big dreams.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tiyeseni Phiri
Guest
Tiyeseni Phiri

Strictly speaking, it is good to dream big! A dream is what it is, a dream. But if a dream is spoken in terms of reality and then use that imagined reality as a tool with which to hoodwink unsuspecting people (voters) to believe that it is reality itself is probably what is disturbing most rational thinkers. How I wish we could have underground trains in Blantyre and Lilongwe by the end of this year. How I wish we could have our own Silcon Valley in five years time. How I wish Malawi could join the space race by the… Read more »

kaguta
Guest
kaguta

Is this article based on a bachelor’s degree thesis in philosophy or what? Chilima is talking about creating factories everywhere he goes ! Bingu was the first to be making these claims and we know why he could not do it even in eight years . Surely in making these claims, Chilima is not using knowledge of economics but may be the lesdership course at MIM.

Matter of fact, to begin to suggest this is the exact definition of upumbwa and you want people to applauding munthu akutipaka bibi?

Wiseman
Guest
Wiseman

Magetsi ake ati, ma compani ake ati to unable you to create 1m jobs in a year? We need to invest in power sector kuti ma company abwere kuzayamba ntchito zawo kuno, and za power supply ndi zomwe anayamba kale awa alipowa. Muzinamizana nokhanokha. And tisamangodalira kulembedwa nchito that is why kwabwera pa community technical colleges

Kanyimbi
Guest
Kanyimbi

Our biggest problem of Mavawi govt thru our President dont put resourses to fund innovators but turn & arrest them if at all they creat their local radio station. This Mzuzu poly graduate who is building his car no govt official let alone our APM has said any word nor think of funding him very shameful & if SKC says a million jobs these are one opportunities Malawi is waisting.

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

We must never let our limitations to thinking beyond our own vision to throw stones at those who have dreams and visions beyond our own imagination. People that created USA, “discovered” Africa or even invented the aeroplane were all laughed at by people like the “mbuyas and the gladsons”. As Alex Nkosi eloquently puts it, Malawians just lack the gift of vision and dreaming hence our inability to self-propel to achieve greater things; given the fact we can’t mobilise our energies to achieve something we are unable to imagine or visualise. I suggest both both mbuya and class in should… Read more »

mbuya
Guest
mbuya

Being realistic is not having an upumbwa attitude. Clapping hands to blatant lies like creating 1 million jobs in a year and kuthetsa quota through ODL is on the other hand, the true upumbwa attitude.

Gadson
Guest
Gadson

I agree with you Mbuya. I want my country men and women to strive for great things but seriously I am not going to go on a podium and lie that by next year malawi will have 1 million jobs and that our malawian scientists will , by 28 August 2019, make their first space trip to Andromeda. We’ve gone from lacking ambition to just downright crazzy in one leap.

Gwemula
Guest
Gwemula

Gadson can you hear yourself kuti your coment is not what mbuya’s analysis is all about if you don’t understand what mbuya has said just keep quiet you are the same negative people who sing the same song as aPumbwa are singing it can’t it can’t with the right mindset and zeal of everyone to make things happen in our Nyasaland the dream of 1million jobs in a year can be achieved!! For instance how many teachers nurses and doctors have been employed since 2015 by aPumbwa government?? Chilima’s well crafted reform program was frustrated by the same aPumbwa simply… Read more »

Patak
Guest
Patak

Zoona mbale. Someone once told me that Malawians are one of the laziest people he has ever worked with. Malawians should start believing in themselves and embrace a culture of curiosity and enterprise. A country needs dreamers no matter how ludicrous those dreams might seem to the observer. Everything that we see around is a result of someone dreaming about satisfying a perceived need. The reality can only be realised by getting to work at the details of that perceived need until solutions are found. We need to change this mindset of just importing ideas. We have to start developing… Read more »

master
Guest
master

Gadson,
Another Pumbwa said he will turn Malawi intoeurope once reelected next yr , but u have never dared to comment on such mediocrity, i see some Blue colours in you based on lomwe DNA

Jigidi Jaba
Guest
Jigidi Jaba

Unfortunately it is the same apumbwa mindset that is making the two of you think like that. Birds of the same feather. Apumbwa!!! Kikiki! Mumdziwe Yesu ndithu.

Mangochi Kabwafu
Guest
Mangochi Kabwafu

Iwe mbuya, ndiwenso wopusa ngati ambuye ako. It’s very possible to create those jobs in Malawi. Infact, one can create even more than a million. Kuganiza kobwerera mbuyo ngati azimbuye anu omwewo is the reason that Malawi is the way it is.

Johane
Guest
Johane

The pro-Chilima acolytes will be upset with your post but its true. Promising things for which you do not have a coherent plan on how to achieve is an age-old politician’s trick. Evidently the trick still works on Malawians.

More From Nyasatimes