It is undeniable that Malawi is in a dire situation because of the run down economy coupled with adverse climatic conditions. Needless to say that the current situation in Malawi needs a well-focused government with ready solutions. Unfortunately, when President Peter Mutharika and his government came into power in 2014, they seemed to have had no clue about what was ahead as they took the reins of power. One of the initial things the government should have known and accepted was/is that in a multiparty system which Malawi embraced some 25 years ago, there are many alternative views from the opposition parties and other people at large.
It is unfortunate that there are all indications that the government looks at the opposition parties as if they are operating illegally. It is in denial that the opposition parties provide checks and balances. In fact, they are the government-in-waiting. APM’s administration thinks otherwise. Hence President Peter Mutharika is already talking about winning 2019 elections and beyond. This is deliberate diversion from the real and urgent issues. It does not make much sense to force people to be in the 2019 election mode when they urgently need solutions to their hunger, and many other problems that they are suffering from. In fact, the President is yet to fulfil some of his promises for his current term of office.
At the moment, the government is defensive in an effort to cover up the numerous problems the country is facing under Mutharika. This is the reason critics are not accepted. Surprisingly, blaming government for the challenges the country is facing is found to be unacceptable. What the government seem not to know is that it is its policies that are being used to run the country. Therefore, if such policies have failed, then who else should shoulder the blame? Being in denial for its own policies is not a corrective measure at all.
Meanwhile, the President is at loggerheads with print media critics. Recently, some critics alluded to the fact that the President has too many powers which he needs to reduce as per his promise. He responded angrily to such criticism during the ground breaking ceremony of the Dae Yung University teaching hospital in Lilongwe. He said he has no intention to reduce his powers. Actually, he challenged that he will also veto any law that undermines his authority even if such a law has already been passed by Parliament. The President concluded that he has stopped reading local newspapers. Fair enough. But what the President seems to forget is the useful role that critics are playing. Apart from checks and balances, the critics can also be whistle-blowers—the government needs this. If the President does not want critics and prefers hand clappers, hero worshippers and people who say what he wants to hear, the country will definitely lose out.
One other thing that APM’s government seems to be in denial about is the fact that every Malawian has a right to opinion. The fact that the government was voted into power does not necessarily mean all it does was already sanctioned at the ballot box and, therefore, people have no right to query anything. This is a misconception that the government should correct. It must always face reality and stop wasting time being in denial about the dire situation in the country. Malawians are waiting for genuine solutions to their daily challenges.