A few days ago, Prof John Chisi launched his Umodzi Party which became Malawi’s party number 48. The publicity around his ideas brings to the fore two very worrying trends in Malawi.
First let us look at his ideas: Feudalism was a very unjust system practiced in Europe around 1500 in which the smallholder farmer was exploited by “noblemen” who again would swear allegiance to a king with no constitution and no rights for the common people.
If we read the interview, we get a very different picture of contradictory ideas: Prof Chisi wants to decentralize everything to district level under the authority of the chief- despite the fact that chiefs are among the most corrupt groups in the country- with no political interference.
And he says there will be no capital hill (perhaps meaning he will fire the whole civil service and create mass unemployment). On the other hand he says he would take donor money (as if they will let him do that) and create large state owned companies. Where is the huge bureaucracy this requires going to come from? Clearly a weirdo.
Chisi is a professor at the University of Malawi (College of Medicine). And this is my worrying trend number one: our education system allows a person with very limited thinking power to be professor. We already know our primary education is far below acceptable, by Standard 2 just a fraction of learners (public schools) passes fluency tests. Few learners may or may not be able to distinguish issues. They are functionally “illiterate”. We know this and it is horrible.
But what we did not know is that some of our professors may be confused. Now we know: With the Umodzi Party President Prof Chisi we can only hope that he understands medicine better than governance or I would not trust my child’s health to any of his former students.
With his unorthodox ideas, Prof Chisi has generated a lot of publicity for himself. And this shows worrying trend number two: if anybody comes up with anything remotely resembling a political idea, the press is scrambling for his attention, even if the idea is idiotic. This is because none of our politicians ever show signs of having a political philosophy of any kind.
They do not get beyond distributing a cow (President Joyce Banda), distributing fertilizer (late President Bingu wa Mutharika), distributing change (former President Bakili Muluzi) or even Malawi Congress Party’s Dr Lazarus Chakwera, who knows? He is a man of God, that is all we know, and he has not come up with any political idea, according to my understanding.
So when someone comes up with some idea of taking Malawi to the European dark ages, the press gives him serious attention. Thank you, Prof Chisi for showing these trends clearly, kudos to you. And now please stay away from the governance of our beautiful country.