Last week we saw how the Washington Consensus fooled Malawi into selling and disbanding its own money making institutions, thus impoverishing the country even further. The poverty we see today in our villages and towns, the infrastructure deterioration we accept as normal and many other ills are, to be very blunt, largely as a result of the poor economic planning theories and policies we unquestioningly accept and implement.
In addition to profit making state companies such as the Sugar Corporation of Malawi donated to Illovo (south Africa) , Vipya Plywood Industries (donated to India now Raiply), Malawi Railways (which also operated the lake vessels Illala II, Mtendere and others, donated to Portugal), this small but highly endowed country had performing government departments, which our enemies in Washington dictated we stop using to develop our country.
The Ministry of Works, for example, was a force to reckon with. Its engineers and civil works officers knew their job and made sure Kamuzu Banda was pleased with the finished work. They graded all the roads, from Titi in Chitipa to Marka in Nsanje, from Sani in Nkhota Kota to Ndawambe in Mchinji. Yes, most rural roads were dusty n the dry season and muddy in the rainy season but they were passable.
In the rainy season, PVHO earthworks machinery and tractors were on standby to pull out stuck vehicles and rebuild dangerously eaten away parts of the road network. As a result, public transport, mostly UTM/Stagecoach buses, reached all parts of Malawi. All the road network, the structures, and the lawns at Capital Hill, seat of the Malawi government in Lilongwe, were maintained by the Ministry of Works. No pothole existed.
Ngwazi Bingu wa Mutharika like Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda before him, saw through the Washington Consensus triumvirate’s real aim. He fixed the exchange rate of the Malawi Kwacha; and, among others, reintroduced farm input subsidies, arguing that European and American governments subsided their farmers. The result was abundant agricultural production; food on the table; money in the pockets of the people, and happiness on the lips of the people. Bingu was rewarded handsomely at the polls 2009.
When the economy works people appreciate and don’t care about the tribe, region, religion and village their leaders. Tribal, religious, and regional concerns only emerge when citizens feel shortchanged as they do today.
Thanks to China, the world now understands that contrary to the Washington Consensus falsehoods, central economic control works; that Miltonian capitalism is not the only driver of economic growth and national development; that elective democracy and personal freedom legal guarantees do not necessarily translate into development; that the strength of a national currency has nothing to do with the strength of its economy, but that innovation and creativity, political stability, and intra-economy investment are key to national development.
Throughout history, it is kings and dictators (elected and unelected alike) that have built economies and infrastructure and introduced people-centred services. Kings, Tsars, and queens built Europe. Apartheid dictators built South Africa, Paul Kagame and John Magufuli, benevolent dictators in Western eyes, are building Rwanda and Tanzania respectively. Kamuzu and Bingu tried to build Malawi which democrats, bribery and cashgate specialists are destroying.
Now, do you understand what Post-Washington and Beijing Consensuses are essentially about? Reject the Washington Consensus, adopt a hybrid economic strategy, call it socio-capitalism, and as you become successful do not interfere in other nation’s internal matters. Meanwhile, the state must raise capital from its own industries and service provider institutions and compete with private businesses, for its own development.
Hopefully drafters of the Vision 2063 will remember this.