Due to the current economic turmoil, which has deeply affected service delivery in Malawi, it makes more sense that President Peter Mutharika, his government and all Malawians would be on the same page. This is to look for immediate solutions to the numerous problems Malawians are grappling with. But, this does not seem to be the case. The proof of this lies in the national address that the President gave in the evening of November 21 2016.
Without doubt and due to desperation for solutions to their hardship, Malawians looked forward to the address and had great expectations. Sadly, the speech was the same old story of Mutharika’s government cataloguing long-term intentions punctuated by what has been achieved so far. In short, the address was just to promote the image of the President and his government. For goodness’ sake, it does not make sense to portray a good picture of a government which has almost brought the country to its knees.
Malawians are well aware about what their most pressing and critical problems are. However, it is worrisome that the government wants to divert people’s attention to something else such as accepting the situation of power blackouts till 2022 or thereabouts. What happens before that is anybody’s guess.
Of late, so many things have happened where government seems to divert attention from its failures and shift the blame to other people. As it were, public universities and colleges have been closing down one after the other because of fees hike impasse. Lately, the President has been blaming University councils as inefficient for failing to find solutions to the institutions’ problems. Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that the genesis of most problems at the universities is lack of funds. It is fool hardy to expect poor Malawians, who are already heavily taxed, to accept fee hikes. Blaming the councils is just scape-goating by government.
As if university closures are not bad enough, the National Council of Higher Education (Nche) comes up with a decision to withdraw accreditation of some programmes in universities and other institutions of higher learning. This decision has put so many students out of step and parents/guardians should be worried.
Furthermore, even those students who have had a chance to graduate, the President usually advises them to be self-employed. Honestly, this advice is easier said than done. Without any capital, how does one get self-employed? Needless to say that, such an advice is a way of admitting that Mutharika has failed to create jobs as promised during the election campaign. Promises of starting various industries in the country has remained a political slogan.
The problems that Malawi is facing affect people’s lives directly. Therefore, it is totally unacceptable that government should be diverting attention from the pressing issues into thinking about the expected future successes, which have no basis. In times of problems, people expect the government to remain focused and systematically come up with solutions. In fact, diverting attention is a sign of failure on the part of government. n