Malawi: What Is It That They Don't Know?

Malawi flag.
1 August 2021
opinion

"It's never overreacting to ask for what you want and need." - Amy Poehler

Truthfully speaking, If we, Malawians, aren't careful and cautious, our children and the generations to come, we will come down with 'affluenza,' a disease that causes them to confuse wants and needs.

Crazy as it may sound, it is time that we commit ourselves to strive to thrive on the very need to teach our children, well this generation before the next, what our forefathers taught us: "Think twice about spending money you don't have on things you don't need to impress people you don't like, anyway."

This sounds like an overused cliche but the meaning in it is so deep. In other words, this, life and living principle, simply means, in general, do not do things to please others. Do what is right regardless of whether or not it will please or displease anyone.

It appears to me, mostly, we do things just to score some points for ourselves and not what is right or what is good for ourselves, others, our country and or the world at large.

Now let us examine this very obvious but soul-searching question: "What drove Malawians to the polls again last year was not just to settle a score with DPP."

Of course we might argue to an extent that it was a frantic attempt by desperate Malawians to resuscitate the country from a possible disastrous collapse.

But the main reason was rather a strong desire to seek a fair outcome that would reflect and produce real change.

Malawians were demanding change in our governance systems, and they wanted to move away from corruption towards a functional democratic government .

Because of this, many political parties constellated together to form a unified brigade with an agenda of building a unique and very effective government of National Unity.

In that, the name Tonse reflected the aspirations of the country to get our politicians and civil servants to begin working for us.

Obviously, this has failed to work. There is failure of management on many fronts; the intra party issues rocking the MCP plus the failure to bring along the alliance partners behind one vision.

As things stand right now we have a very weak opposition which is muzzled by fear of being arrested for the prior crimes they committed when they were in power.

Our CSOs have been pacified and Malawians have no one to speak for them. And to many it appears there's no recourse.

Looking at the key performance indicators and the Information aggregated from various government departments, branches and systems, the outlook is very hazy and fuzzy.

There's no clarity on the way forward and frankly we do not even know the quagmire to which this muddle will lead us.

There's lack of accountability and a growing failure to nurture development with equity and excellence. This government is still having problems with issues of nepotism, cronyism and regionalism.

Quite honestly, this situation is speaking for itself and I personally think it is calling for a political recalibration, new leadership and new direction.

'Quagmire'

The problem with this government is their lack of foresight. They are blinded by their own perceived success.

The huge monopoly they created with such an acquisition of political dominance is giving theme a false sense of being "bigger than life."

As such, they take it for granted since they have an easy leverage over an already weaker opposition which has failed immensely to provide the necessary checks and balances.

Secondly, the alliance itself has no clear manifesto or guiding principle other than the agreement that was made between President Chakwera and Vice President Chilima and was kept secret.

This lack of collective, open and transparent agreement, plus the absence of a clear modus operandi with discernible ways to deal with challenges and any other rising issues has contributed heavily to the failures we are seeing.

The much touted reforms that the Vice President was tasked to champion should have made more sense if the starting point was the consolidation of the different manifestos.

We know the president appointed Mr Chris Chaima Banda as his chief presidential advisor on manifesto implementation but to our surprise we have not seen anything collectively outlining policies and aims for the alliance.

Our President is almost flat-footed on many issues because he has been tossed into a million directions only to yield a millimetre of progress.

Juggling within a nine-party alliance while trying to manage MCP intra party wrangles and running government at the same time doesn't look like a winning strategy. This is a recipe for self implosion and we have seen how the quality of service output is being compromised.

The president and his whole assemblage have lost the goodwill and support they enjoyed. Malawians are tired and fed up.

What this government does not fully know and understand is that the very same people who put them there have power to dislodge them from power. The backbone of this alliance is mainly the youth and women who tend to be easily disgruntled.

They are naturally variable with no predictability. And yet this government has for some reason not paid attention to their grievances. Over and over our young people have been at the center of raising grievances..

What our politicians may forget easily is the fact that they can only control conformity in some but they cannot change adaptive traits for survival in all.

It's the way we humans survive, when people feel threatened they will in an instant gravitate toward those who can protect them and those who seem to be paying more attention to their needs or seen to be speaking on their behalf.

And right now many Malawians feel threatened by the subsequent failures that our government has continued to create and they are already looking somewhere else - So, if there is anyone who claims to be speaking for the people, they better begin speaking up now.

The Bon Kalindo's interview with Wonder Msiska on Times Television the other day should have served as an eye opener to those that are complacent.

Despite the so many contradictions and personal issues with his party subordinates, his boldness and courage to speak truth to power was what attracted that unprecedented viewership.

Malawians of all walks tuned in and seemed to have finally connected with someone who was wide openly venting on their behalf.

That type of anxiousness divulged the people's lack of trust for the establishment politicians. They are tired of the failed promises by the establishment.

The continued preposterous and ludicrous behavior by those who are on the driving seat is flaring renewed calls for a fresh revolution.

Something we never anticipated to see this early.

Watching that interview, the first thing that jumped on my mind was what someone like SKC and Comrade Mtambo could be thinking right now. Wasn't this the same revolutionary space that they ably commanded just a year ago or so?

How are they going to distinguish themselves and untangle themselves from the mess that has smeared and wrapped the whole Tonse alliance.

The good news is that it's not too late for Dr Chilima or anybody else who is serious about remaining politically relevant to do something . However I do believe the window is closing.

'Divorce'

We know that in order to save Malawi before it's too late, we need someone strong who can put the the President and his team in check so that he and his henchmen and women can stay in a straight line like light.

However, this has to be done on different terms.

For example, Vice President Chilima or someone like comrade Timothy Mtambo could choose to divorce themselves from the alliance - This way they would be able to serve independently with no strings attached while still maintaining to be part of the great consortium of national unity.

This sounds like a political gamble but divorce is what they need right now as sating on would be like a spouse staying on in an abusive marriage just for the the 'married tag' marital status.

Be in it because you are happy, not because you want to please others or to be seen as fitting into the game. Divorcing oneself from mediocrity, (un)happiness and negativity is the greatest life's pleasure one can give to themselves when under pressure.

Most importantly the unnecessary suspicions and the fight about who will lead the pack in 2025 and all the political posturing that has also negatively stood in the way of progress would be removed.

I am not suggesting in anyway that the VP should fight the government that he is part of, no. In fact he should at all cost maintain his cordial relationship with his boss.

Nevertheless all am saying is that he should and must position himself in such a way that he is effectively relevant.

The Vice President came in as his own man who articulated a big vision.

And he can also choose to walk away as his own man to offer an effective credible alternative to what we are seeing now.

Otherwise there is a clear political evolution that is already brewing and the process of natural selection has already started.

We don't know how many Winikos are still out there. But we know a new generation of leaders is actually rising up to offer a new recourse.

These are not politicians as you may know them. These are ordinary private citizens who are stepping up.

Just look at how Onjezani Kenani was able to mobilize the whole country and how everybody seem to be looking at him for cues now!

We are seeing young people like Idriss Ali Nassah and Wilson Khembo offering credible apparatuses for accountability and security in our governance systems, and the push for a more meaningful political change.

'Forward'

A pulmonologist, Dr Daniel Dube inspired many by making simple videos to educate his people on the dangers and how to cope with the challenges of Covid-19.

Young people like American based nurse, Doreen Chisiza, daughter to the legendary Du Chisiza Jr. rose to the occasion to offer leadership during the second wave of Covid without expecting anything from government.

A Lilongwe- based young medical doctor and public health specialist answering to the name of Bridget Malewezi, wife to Poet Q Malewezi, but popularly known as Dr. B, who has, since the breakage of the rampaging novel coronavirus pandemic, been dedicating herself to educate the masses on the medical Do's and Don't's of fighting the killer virus, without necessarily expecting anything from anyone, government or indeed international non-governmental organisations.

A Mzuzu based dedicated certified financial wellness educator, Theana Msolomba, also known as Kuwala, a Finca Malawi regional manager, who spends her time teaching Army and Police officer and their spouses on how best to handle money matters for free.

A successful young engineer and an accomplished IoT systems developer from Blantyre, Maya Nkoloma, Managing Director of who is engaging girls into playing netball by sponsoring a girls team just to keep the girls fit so they can be peoductive.

An uneducated self-trained unconventional engineer from Lusangazi in Mzimba District who has made electricity and connected his whole village for free just finding in happiness in the mere fact that everyone around is happy.

These few and many other other examples are an indication that we still have good people in Malawi with a godly spirit that we need to move this country forward.

We need people who have a heart to live for others and not only for themselves. Good leaders, lead not from the front, but from behind and do not expect anything for their service to humanity for history and posterity will judge them fairly.

This is a next generation of leaders who are forming mechanisms that will eventually produce a more perfect and vibrant economic liberation.

The revolution is already being televised live, a new influx of truthful hard hitters with professional and well researched fact based analysis are taking over the airwaves.

These are well meaning Malawians who love their country and they are patriotic.

The trio on Times TV led by Wonder Msiska, Chawezi Banda and Humfrey Mvula should be celebrated for restoring media professionalism with ethical standards.

Let me end by reminding our leaders that "true leadership is more than just a title. Malawians are looking for someone who can inspire them not only with their words but their actions."

Signing out, let me leave you with some words of wisdom aptly said by Barbara De Angelis to ponder on:

"Living with integrity means... not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your positions of power; asking for what you want and need from others; speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension; behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values; making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe... "

Will that true leader stand up!

Adios

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