Some people, and they are many, have faulted Egyptians for ousting the democratically elected president, Muhammad Morsi.
A democratically elected president, they argue, must be removed by a ballot. Well, the assumption underlying this rather valid but not so sound argument is quite idealistic.
Idealistic in the sense that it assumes that when a leader loses track and trust of the governed before the term expires, the people must, at all cost, just develop a thick skin and bear the resultant excesses until voting.
This reasoning is quite tragic. And tragically does it reduce people to nothing but chattels of their leaders. In fact, the reasoning implies that winning an election is almost a blank cheque for leaders to write everything as long as it is within their term.
Of course, some will argue that democracy provides for institutions strategically put in place to deal with stray leaders. This argument, again, assumes that such institutions are strong enough to do the job.
But an African experience, I should be honest here, proves contrary. That is why—though I might sound anarchistic here—I strongly support the Egyptians for ousting a president they feel is taking them where they don’t want. The process might appear chaotic, but after say a decade from now, Egypt will build a strong democracy. A bad seed, my grandfather used to tell me, needs to be killed in its tender years before it germinates into a yoke.
Consequences of bad leadership, and Malawians are testimony, irritate like a grain of sand in the eye. Just think of how arrogant Bakili Muluzi was when his corrupt and terror-ridden regime brought untold hardships on the land. Just think of how he could reject with passion that there is no hunger in the country yet thousands were dying in closed doors.
Just think of how arrogant the Bingu wa Mutharika became when his police were shooting innocents, denying the drastic fuel shortage as the nation sat on the brink of economic collapse.
Let’s face it Malawians: You can’t bear bad governance for long. It is because we, Malawians, think we are too democratic to always bear the irritation of bad leadership until the term expires that is why we are always caught in the cycle of bad, very bad leadership.
We enjoy Facebook activism, yet we are not ready to move beyond the social networks and prove we are not happy. We enjoy crying hidden in our comforts zones as autocratic fathers hand the art of looting public coffers to their sons, elder brothers to their younger brother, friends to friends, sisters to sisters.
Are we not ashamed that by next year we will be 50 years old yet, while our friends are basking in posterity, here we are still struggling to feed ourselves? For 50 years, you have a whole president thinking he has developed the country because he has produced enough maize that is not even value-added!
For 50 years, you have a whole President thinking convincing donors to resume their aid is quite an achievement. This is a national leadership disaster that searches achievement in petty issues.
Experts long argued that Malawi cannot develop until it gets its politics right. We all hold this truth and we are self-evident.
I swear to God if we, as a nation, don’t change our attitudes towards the people behind the bad politics in the country, if we don’t take a leaf from Egypt of demanding nothing but an honest, responsive and transparent government, we will, 50 years from now, still be celebrating independence with nothing but achieving food security as a national achievement.
Bad government, I repeat, irritates like a grain of sand in the eye. You can’t bear it for long. But because we, Malawians, think we are too democratic to make painful choices, that is why we can, in the daylight, be robbed of K61 billion by an arrogant tyrant whose achievement was maize security and infrastructure funded by the Chinese loans which our children will be burdened to repay.
It is because we think we are too democratic to make painful choices, that is why we still have a government that recycle the Brown Mpinganiras into high public positions.In the few years I have lived on earth, I have seen enough of bad leadership in Malawi. The reason some of these bad leaders continue to sit in their positions is because they are not leading Egypt.
Together with other bad leaders at the heart of Malawi’s underdevelopment, they could have been Egyptised long time.