Lee Kuan, the first Prime Minister of Singapore and former trade union leader, entered into a pact with trade unions not to engage in adversarial tactics which most trade unions in developing countries practised.
The prolonged strike by the Judiciary support staff in Malawi is one of the situations that should either be avoided or solved amicably and speedily.
What I find shocking about the strike is the intervention of the Malawi Law Society (MLS).
They have virtually intimidated the government by saying there will be mass demonstrations if people are denied court services.
Of course, demonstrations will be there if someone organises them.
I wonder why such demonstrations should be conducted now when all along cases have been delaying in courts, causing the British Government to provide grants to the country to speed up administration of justice.
The MLS is looking at the claim of justice exclusively, ignoring the dire economic situation in which the country is.
What we should see is governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inability to pay rather than the claimed unwillingness behind its failure to implement what it promised five years ago.
The learned lawyers have overlooked the relevance of force majeure, a phrase in the law of contract which takes into account that the usual happening may frustrate one party to the contract to perform what it was expected to do.
When the government agreed five years ago to the terms and conditions of service, nobody foresaw the recessions in North America and Europe to which we export most of our commodities.
Nobody foresaw that our best and traditional friends, the British, the Americans and Bretton Woods institutions would suspend budgetary support to Malawi and nobody ever imagined that one day we would have the zero-deficit budget.
Do they realise that if the government implements what it promised it will have less money for other equally important things like drugs inÃ‚Â hospitals and subventions to public universities?
Let me not be misunderstood. I am not against the government meeting the demand by the Judiciary. All I am saying is that in these economic hardships, we should not be talking of implementing such demands in full.
If we try to do so, the government will be left with no option but to impose extra taxes and that will frighten investors and burden tax payers further.
Alternatively, the government will be forced to borrow extra money from the money market and the central bank. This may cause crowding out of private businesses and possibility of saturating the economy with liquidity which is the first step to hyperinflation like the one that ruined the Zimbabwe economy.
When the concept of zero-deficit budget was announced, some of us tried through the press to explain that it would involve such austerity measures as raising taxes, curtailing expenditures, freezing increments and recruitment.
Malawi is not the only country that has a zero-deficit budget. Other countries found in the same situation went wild with cost cutting measures to the extent of chopping salaries of top politicians and officials.
When the first president of Malawi, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, announced that the country was going to secede from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, he was simply saying the country would no longer get the Ã‚Â£6 million subsidy.
Dr Banda was advised by the Skenner Report to raise the salaries of the lowest paid, leave those of the middle income employees but reduce perks of the highest paid officials, including their privileges.
Dr Banda imposed a 10 percent cut on his salary and salaries of his ministers.
Read in the African Business Magazine of October 2011 on how Mauritius, a country like Nyasaland, had been condemned as unlikely to develop and yet it developed to aÃ‚Â middle income country. So why have we not developed?
So long as we allow parochial interest to dominate our processes and maximising the interests of a part at the expense of the whole, Malawi will be a Cinderella of the world.
We should all accept sacrifices for the benefits that will accrue to us all.