President Peter Mutharika’s government has been in power for 20 months and yet it still appears to have not found its feet. The economy is in tatters and life for the majority of Malawians is unbearable. If the government is yet to find its feet, then it goes without saying that it is an uphill battle for it to find solutions to problems that Malawians are facing.
Imagine, the government assures people that it has enough maize in Admarc markets and yet people have to go through a lot of difficulties to access it. The best way to describe this maize is that it is available in the unavailable form. Malawians have to endure and be whipped into line for as long as four days before buying 10 kilogrammes of the maize.
The main problem of the DPP-led government is undecisiveness, which in turn makes governance to be unstable. It is time that government must prove that it knows what it is doing and should stand by its decisions. It is unfortunate now that government decisions cannot be taken wholesale because they are bound to change any moment and put everyone out of step.
At the moment, there is a lot of talk about government reforms which are expected to improve the economic situation of the country. Among other measures, reforms are there to tighten government expenditure. Surprisingly, the same government which is trying to control expenditure is reported in the media to have dubiously contracted some UK-based agency to carry out a PR project to sale Malawi abroad at a cost of K295 million. If the country has to spend such an enormous amount to sell its image, then what are Malawi’s foreign missions for? Are such decisions to spend extravagantly made at Cabinet or personal level?
In fact, Malawi is not a new State that no one knows about. For it to attract tourists and investors, it must improve its facilities, which include roads and hotels in that way the country will sell itself. This is not space science that the government can fail to understand. With all due respect, the Mutharika government seems not to know what the national priorities are. It does not make much sense in painting a picture that the country is ready for investors when the situation on the ground is far from it. Some investors might be promised land which is a scarce resource and a sensitive issue in Malawi. If government will grab land for the sake of investors, it can be rest assured of endless conflicts with the locals.
When the President came into power there was a lot of tough-talking within his government that even without donor budgetary support, the government can manage with resources within the country. Most people might have thought that the government had found a formula to prove that the 40 percent donor budgetary support was not really necessary. Then it came as a real surprise when it was reported in the media that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Chaponda, was pleading with donor representatives in the country to release budgetary support. Honestly, this portrays a weakness in the government of Malawi because it fails to stick to its decision. After all, the tough-talking was not necessary since before long the government has crawled back to its dishonourable position and start pleading for help. It is such unstable mindset which can force even the most trusted government supporters to say that though they like how the DPP-led government leads, but they do not know where it is leading Malawians to.
If President Mutharika and his government continue to be undecisive on important national issues, it might even lose out on important investment deals. This is not the time for striking deals first and looking at the formalities later. n