Back to the drawing board

The state of leadership and development in Malawi begs for real radical decisions. 

There are deep concerns and public clamour against lacklustre, high-spending leadership and a struggling economy.

Unprecedented high cost of living, lack of means for the poor to make money, widespread food shortages, inequitable patterns of development and disregard of people’s ideas have created a lethal powder keg which could explode at the slightest touch.

Quite understandably, there is a perceived tribal dictatorship squeezing out other significantly disempowered tribes that are in majority.

An arrogant one-party dictatorship has consolidated, perpetrating power abuses and corrupt practices with uncontested impunity.

Promising infrastructure projects have slowed down. Cost overruns are inflating the cost of basic investments. Talk of huge kickbacks from contractors to officials is rife. People feel angry, despondent and cornered. There’s nowhere to run as things fall apart.

The governing Tonse Alliance can no longer hold.

It is time to go back to the drawing board.

Malawi has to chart out a new destiny and a fresh nationally owned vision to light the way and radically overhaul present paradigms for growth and development.

There is an urgent need to unite Malawians through a common vision regarding where Malawi is, where she aspires to go and how to get there.

As the nation contemplates this new future, the ordinary person must be given real hope for a happy and prosperous livelihood in the short and long-term.

The wise say a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. He who plants trees loves others besides himself.

This dream requires that Malawians pluck all courage to face challenges head-on.

But first, we have to acknowledge that the internal environment is deeply toxic and much less progressive than people widely hoped. The people have been harshly cheated.

To re-invent its destiny, the nation requires sturdy commitment among leaders and citizens alike. Depoliticise and equalise the distribution of development so that Malawians of all backgrounds have equitable access to emerging opportunities.

Together, Malawians must evolve an inclusive culture that de-tribalises the society to firmly bind the people together.  

It is most painful that Malawians have trusted their leaders to great disappointment, despair and anger. My real fear, however, is not that leaders have failed the society; but no foundation through social training or education promises to prepare the leaders Malawi needs.

And time is running out.

Malawi must be governed by the best of its citizens, and administered by the best public servants, including the President, ministers and legislators.

The country requires leaders untainted by tribal politics and selfish intents.

Given strong and effective leadership, and a truly honest and selfless kind, the country can achieve everything it so cherishes. What we need is a set of common values and attitudes.

The primacy and sanctity of national and group values are that they promote unity and cohesion, instil discipline and generate the stamina for the nation to move forward with greater resolve.  

We need a society united in its diversity and yet focused on ‘reaching the moon’ together.

It is time to turn Malawi into a forward-looking, soundly scientific enquiring society gilded by principles of umunthu and an identifiable philosophy of who we are. 

What Malawi needs is to become a people who dare to face reality, no matter how unpleasant. Let’s look obstacles in the eye, choose and pursue directions which guarantee not only survival but excellence in what we do as individual citizens and as a united collective.

We need a deeper sense of selfless love for our country and for one another.

This is no time for ease and comfort, but to dare and endure.

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