Outgoing British High Commissioner Michael Nevin has warned the Peter Mutharika-led government that delays in implementing government’s vision and fighting corruption could have devastating consequences for both country and government.
Nevin, who has completed his study of tour to Malawi, further warned of signs of increasing instability in the country; citing increasing mob justice, more militant land disputes, declining water levels, struggling services and, “year after year, an increasing need for food aid”, as evidence.
Addressing a gathering of Cabinet ministers, diplomats, senior government officials, captains of industry and others during celebrations marking the 90th birthday of Britain reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, Friday night in Lilongwe, Nevin acknowledged the importance of the reform agenda being pursued by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
However, quoting English great writer, William Shakespeare whose death’s 400 year’s anniversary was jointly celebrated with that of the Queen, Nevin cautioned that “delays have dangerous ends,” but was impressed with current drive for more investment and trade.
“…And, although ‘uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”, H.E. [His Excellency] the President’s sometimes politically difficult messages on the need for more trade than aid; better performance within government; business unusual; less dependency on government; self-reliance and a mind-set change are spot on. ‘The fault, dear, Brutus, lies not in the stars.’ The change H.E the President advocates needs to happen quickly, otherwise, as I will touch on soon, ‘delays have dangerous ends.”
Nevin singled out rapid population growth as the biggest threat to long term future of Malawi; noting that in the next 15 years, the population is poised to double.
“To be or not to be is not the question, or even an alternative. There is a reality to confront and seemingly a desire for change and government efforts to promote it. The question is whether reform is fast enough, bold enough and sufficient enough to keep up with these dynamics,” he sai.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila, guest of honour at the event, welcomed Nevin’s call in an interview, saying the Mutharika-led administration was doing all it can to fast-track the reforms and implement its vision.
Nevin arrived in 2012 following the normalisation of relations between the United Kingdom and Malawi after a period of frosty relations over the earlier decision by the government of the late former president, Bingu wa Mutharika to expel Nevin’s predecessor, Fergus Cochraine-Dyet. n