The fight against corruption in Malawi and many African countries continues to leave many citizens disillusioned. The innocent citizens who are the tax payers, are robed of their hard-earned money through corruption.
An effective battle against corruption demands the involvement of all sectors of society. All such sectors are made of individuals. Regrettably, at the most, it is the very same individuals that are corrupt and put spanners into the anti-corruption wheels.
Considering life experiences of friends and society as depicted through various stories in the media, many will agree that Malawi and other African countries continue to struggle for freedom from the bondage of poverty and oppression. Sadly, these struggles and bondages seem to be self-made—a sad reality.
At 50 years, Malawi is an independent but very poor country. Social, infrastructural and economic development has been slow, if not stagnant. Self-proclaimed progress by government and political leaders has failed to translate itself to the benefit of all citizens.
Even after the attainment of multiparty democracy, there is no meaningful social, infrastructural and economic development. One wonders why people of higher authority choose to keep citizens poor in order to sustain their power by letting the masses continue begging from them. A master/servant situation; type of colonialism long abolished.
It is common knowledge that if you cannot change the way you do things, you cannot expect different results. Malawi needs to change its way of doing things if its citizens are to experience different and better social, economic and infrastructural development results.
But to change our way of doing things, demands a change in who is involved in the process of doing such things. This starts with you.
The Malawian society requires redefinition. There is need for inculcation of values that promote honesty, sharing, fairness, respect, transparency and accountability. It is only a society of values that will generate leaders that are selfless. Selfless leaders have the zeal and passion to improve and develop their society. In order to positively redefine our society, Malawi needs to refocus its attention to start inculcating such values in its young ones from preschool, through primary, secondary and tertiary education levels. Civic education targeting adults has proved ineffective. It is probably time to build a new society.
In recent years, Malawi has seen adoption of various modern and improved systems for service delivery in various sectors. However, with time it has been seen that any system is as good as the people using it. Good systems in the hands of bad people are bound to collapse just as bad systems in the hands of good people cannot serve their purpose. This is where Malawi requires a new society that promotes values so that the systems and the people complement each other.
Malawi needs good roads, food, shelter, vibrant economy, excellent health services, education and many more. The resources are adequate and available. This is why many foreign citizens flock to Malawi, use our resources and get away with the proceeds. Probably, time has come when the citizenry expectation has to move away from the basics to high quality and extraordinary provisions. It is possible. However, it takes a prepared and supportive Malawi for this to be achieved.
Deliberate policies aimed at inculcating values will rescue Malawi. Common is the fact that good leaders do not stay longer in power as they are fought by corrupt factions. Therefore, the decision to change our society needs a bold stand and unrelenting advocacy for such policies to be put in place so Malawi can develop.
The only strategic investment that Malawi should immediately make to change its future is one in children and the youth. By investing in our children and youths, we will enable Malawi to have a society that all would be happy to live in.
Malawi is a beautiful country full of resources that, if well-controlled and utilised, can transform it for the good of all.
The author is a senior public education officer at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), writing in his personal capacity.