Experience in Malawi has shown that the only time the citizenry seems to matter to the leadership is during the election period. Even then, they are just used as stepping stones into power in exchange of mostly empty promises. Once safely in power, people who had made it possible are taken as trouble makers who must not be listened to. Sometimes the same people are told that they know nothing.
It is this wrong perception that the majority of Malawians know that the government and its leadership go all out to challenge them. Not so long ago people were up in arms about the bloated delegation of over 100 people that President Peter Mutharika was alleged to have taken to New York to attend United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) meetings. This controversial issue was not convincingly concluded as up to now the government is yet to come up with a list of people who went and how there attendance helped the country. The concern of Malawians was that while people have no food and cannot get medicines in government hospitals, the government is paying for joy rides to the US. Unfortunately, government seems to think people deserve no explanation.
Meanwhile, there is another controversy of a bloated entourage of 48 people heading for New York to attend the 60th Session of the United Nations on the status of women. The Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati who will lead the delegation has tried to justify the trip by saying that only five people have been sponsored by government. The Minister and the government at large can say anything and expect powerless Malawians to accept it. This is wrong mentality.
The justification by Kaliati aside, it is a mockery to spend so much money on 48 people to a UN meeting on status of women when the same women in Malawi have been reduced to food beggars. How will the meeting immediately help a Malawian woman?
Honestly speaking, most people feel a deliberate challenge by APM’s government on various concerns presented to the President. APM has been in power for a year and 10 months. During this period countless petitions have been sent to him through district commissioners and other government officials. The petitions have been about problems people are facing. It is doubtful if any of the petitions have been looked at. Instead, the President usually just comments publicly that petitions or demonstrations are the work of failed politicians. What is deliberately forgotten here is that not everyone who petitions or demonstrates is aspiring for political power. People want the President to address their concerns as he promised to protect and provide for their needs. He is expected to deliver his promises.
As the situation is in this country, one cannot be completely wrong to suggest that leaders take the peaceful nature of the people as being dull and good for nothing. The government goes ahead to challenge people by ignoring their concerns. It needs to be reminded from time to time that it is the same people it considers useless who spent hours on the queue to vote for the government in power. It cannot be said enough that the government must stop challenging the people of Malawi. They might be poor, but deserve good services. n