Under normal circumstances, the essence of having a government is that it has to offer direction to the country and people at large so that they can achieve their desired goals. As it were, the goals of a poverty-stricken country such as Malawi start with achieving the very basic needs. These are food, clean water, schools, medicines in hospitals and jobs, among others.
So far, such basic needs as stated above have been difficult to achieve in Malawi. The reasons for this situation might be many, but they all boil down to lack of proper direction by the government. President Peter Mutharika’s government might argue that since it came into power in May 2014 it has been trying hard to improve the lives of Malawians. This argument does not make much sense because poverty is worsening despite the government’s claim that it is doing something about it. Even the argument that the government would have done much better if it had the money, is neither here nor there. The question is, if the government has no money then how come people find money to steal from the same government which claims to be broke?
It is so disheartening to see that corruption which leads to stealing is slowly, but surely being institutionalised in Malawi. A lot of public resources are being converted into personal fortunes. This has been spreading like wild fire for the past two-and-half years. It has been happening almost in every ministry and government organisations. People have even lost count. What is worrisome is that huge sums of money can indeed improve peoples’ lives if used properly. It is such massive stealing, coupled with endless corruption, which are an indication that the Mutharika government has lost direction. It looks as if control systems in government are non-existent.
Just imagine, even very senior people in government who are supposed to be exemplary are alleged to be corrupt. This is very embarrassing on the part of government because it is portrayed as giving responsibilities to untrustworthy individuals. Worse still, even the public sector reforms which President Mutharika thought would bring sanity by improving government systems seems a forgotten story. The reforms were launched with pomp by the President as if they were a magic wand. In fact, one of the retrogressive practices by government is the idea of public launching of each and every project. This gives hope which is quickly lost when the project fails to start on time due to lack of funds.
In the same vein of shortage of funds, Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe was quoted by the media as saying there will be no salary increase for civil servants as government has no money. As if this was not bad enough, he further stated that those civil servants wanting high salaries can resign and look for jobs elsewhere.
This was mocking the civil servants to say the least, and it is unacceptable. The minister should know better the importance of the civil service and showing them the exit door is not a solution. All what the minister is alleged to have said are clear signs of a government which has lost direction. The minister can be lest assured that the civil servants will reciprocate his statement by poor performance.
So far, what clearly comes out is that since the Mutharika government came into power it seems to have not yet found its feet. As a result so many things have opportunistically taken over.
The government is trying to work in a maze of high level corruption, stealing, poor service delivery and above all, disgruntled citizens. It is very likely that most Malawians have lost trust in their government.
In a nut shell, this is what has made government lose direction and, indeed, no one knows where Malawi is heading. n