Former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika instilled in Malawians the need to dream in colour. This became his catch phrase.
In other words, Bingu was advocating for the need for Malawians to set their standards high.
I remembered the dreaming in colour phrase one day as I was reading the Order Paper for Parliament. I was thoroughly stunned when I read the various questions from some of Members of Parliament—these were questions there were expected to ask various ministers to address.
I must admit, I had to re-read some questions just to ensure that what I was reading was real and that my eyes didn’t betray me.
There were well over 10 MPs who had asked for boreholes in their constituencies.
There was another MP who was asking government to buy 250 desks for a school, and then another MP was asking government to build a house for a chief in his area because almost every other chief has a house built by government. As that was not enough, one MP was asking Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining about the prepaid meters.
The MP wanted the minister to explain and perhaps assure the MP when will people who applied for prepaid Escom meters will get them. Seriously? Why can’t the people who applied for prepaid meters get in touch with Escom and find out what is going on? You don’t need an MP for this. This is another precious time wasted.
This is how low we have gone in terms of standards and the standard of discussion we have. This is not just how lowly our
MPs think, this also a reflection of the type of people that we are.
I am ashamed. It is really disheartening that instead of asking for a tarmac road, an MP would be asking government to put gravel on a road. What happened to being ambitious? Why do we set our standards so low?
This is the reason why those in authority are not thinking outside the box because they know you are contented with what you have.
In this day and age someone is still thinking of boreholes.
I honestly expected the MPs to have a candid discussion on why government seems not moved with scarcity of water and perhaps find out government’s plans to provide tap water to all Malawians.
I am not a scientist but I know boreholes have a big impact of environment, especially on groundwater—possibility of contaminating it is high where there are boreholes.
By now we should be talking of phasing out boreholes and pushing for more clean and potable water not boreholes.
I think an MP who stands up just to ask for a borehole and gravel road is not just wasting Parliament’s time but that of his constituents too. Such MPs don’t deserve to be in the House. They are wasting precious time that could have been used to ask more pertinent questions.
I know MPs try hard to be seen to be relevant and active in Parliament, asking for boreholes is not one of the best ways to show your presence.
You can do better by raising your standards. Ask for things that will change the livelihood of your constituents not things that make them stuck in one place. Your constituents will surely reward you for moving them from boreholes to tap water or tarmac road.