More than two decades have passed since Malawians voted for the introduction of multiparty democracy. People have lived to treasure and value the hard won democracy. Sadly, so far, most of the hopes and aspirations that were expected from democracy have been shattered. Some people may argue that not all is lost. At least there is freedom of speech. That is true, but what everyone must realise is that for freedom of speech to be meaningful there must be someone who should listen and respond accordingly. For example, whenever people complain about the hardship they are facing daily, the leaders in government seem not to listen. If they had been listening, they would have found solutions to some of the problems.
Meanwhile, among other reasons, what has caused democracy to be unproductive is the cluelessness of leaders at all levels of governance. Leaders seem to only listen to their intentions and in the process become visionless. In such a state of affairs, Malawi cannot progress. One thing which is clear, but people do not want to talk about, is that when people are vying for presidential power, they seem to show that they know what lies ahead of that position and that they have a plan.
It is only after they have assumed the office that they realise that they have no clue about how to proceed. Instead, they display all manner of ignorance. There is a lot of flip-flopping without much sense of direction. Actually, those people who are open with government have time and again been saying the government seems not to know where it is heading as Malawians get deeper in abject poverty. On its part, the leadership is permanently in the defensive mode.
Time and again President Peter Mutharika talks about how useless the opposition in this country is. What the President seems to forget is that as a leader of this country, his performance will not be judged on how best the opposition are performing. Rather, he will be judged on how the economy has performed. For goodness’ sake, castigating the opposition will not be an added value to development. In fact, it is not the duty of government to make the opposition strong or weak. One thing that the government and its entire leadership must bear in mind is that opposition parties are legally here to stay as per the wish of Malawians in the referendum of 1993.
At the moment, with the abject poverty, the least Malawians want is to have clueless leaders. Imagine, the talk now is about establishing irrigation farms. If the government has any clue, it must first of all look at reasons that led to failure of irrigation schemes soon after the Taiwanese government handed them over to Malawi government. Failing which, the country should brace for a repeat of failed irrigation schemes.
Some members of Parliament (MPs) also seem not to know their role. Since they were elected two years ago, they have nothing to show for it at their constituencies and even abandoned their constituents and moved into towns and cities.
Lastly, it can be said without contradiction that if leaders continue to cherish their cluelessness, coupled with being impervious to voice of reason, development in the country will remain a pipedream. n