I am one of the people who would accept devaluation on condition that the people are cushioned from its effects. I recalled that under the structural adjustment programme, government was compelled to downsize the civil service and the World Bank provided compensation for those who were prematurely laid off.
When doctors treat patients with drugs with undesirable side effects, they usually provide remedies for irritation resulting from the treatment. They do not tell the patients to go home and find remedies for the side effects by themselves.
But President Joyce Banda needs to be advised because any action she may do to offend the World Bank can cause them to withhold the aid.
Politically, I would advise Banda not to offend the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members of Parliament either, because they may regroup and do what the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislators did to the former president Bingu wa Mutharika when they opposed anything his administration wanted to do.
The country was fed up with the nauseating Section 65 and we do not want a replay of the scenario. The Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) and DPP should form a coalition government like the one in Britain. In selecting ministers, she should not remove all of them, but retain only those with extraordinary abilities.
Legislation should be put in place to enable those who want to cross the flood to do so and seek re-election. Political stability is a basic condition for receiving donor support as well as foreign direct investment. Laws and constitutions evolve to suit new situations.
The President needs the advice of top technocrats in coming up with safety net package for the poor in case kwacha devalues. Whatever the package be, it should be designed in such a way that it contributes to development and not just pure largesse. As government looks at short-term solutions, it should also think what long-term solutions would be.
This will obviously require realignment.
In the African Business issue of December 2011, we learn that Kenya is infrastructure booming, a situation unknown to the country since it attained independence. It seems the countryâ€™s six-year policy of â€˜looking eastâ€™ is bearing fruits.
Should Malawi â€˜look eastâ€™ as well? It seems that was what the late president was doing. I would advise Malawi to neither look to the East or West, but deal with the West for only those things they are good at and the East on what they are qualified to do.
From the East, Malawi should study developmental State models which created the Four Tigers.
Both Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Mahathir of Malaysia tell us in their memoirs or interviews that they and their henchpersons and technocrats read extensively reports and documents on successes of other countries.
I suggest that government buys copies of From Third World to First, an autobiography of Lee and ask top civil servants, ministers and trade union leaders to read and then discuss the book.
Make things happen
The question: Why has Malawi not developed to the optimum in almost 50 years of its independence have been answered in the book.
In the interviews, Lee has been quoted as saying he made use of talented and above average people because they make things happen. This is the crux of the matter.
Appointing someone to a position for other reasons other than merit is a major weakness that has stagnated Malawi.
We must have people who have what it takes to transform a country from poverty to opulence.
The late former president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda used to say travelling is one way of learning.
This is true if people that are sent out have the capacity to learn.
When you meet and talk to the same people you never acquire new knowledge and experience. Therefore, go on visits to foreign countries to learn.
As I said in one of my earlier articles, Malawi should send a team of technocrats led by a minister to the Far East and see and hear.
It is true that since their cultures are different from ours, we shall not find it appropriate to transplant their development models, but I am sure we have a lot to learn. Time is running out.