Countries that have gone through transition from one party to multiparty type of government, including Malawi, has a risk of losing track of some fundamentals due to short term interventions ,experiments, capacity to manage institutional changes in a multiparty setups–where public consultations and agreed will of populace is the order of the day.
I slightly disagree with the saying “democracy is expensive”, because I believe following proper ground-led structures with a bit of community capacity strengthening can’t be that expensive.
The beauty of democracy is that it opens a lot of fora for information and exchange of ideas. Some examples are communication channels that go with democracy. The main challenge I see are the strategies that are used to make them effective but they are sometimes made complicated in the eyes of the people being targeted.
Coming to the issue at hand, government through its agent, in this case, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development in partnership with other sectors and stakeholders such as health, agriculture, education, trade, CSOs, and the private sector spearhead discussions on national agenda based on issues at hand which in most cases has activities that are researched with timeframes of either five years or less.
The only challenge we normally see with these plans are sometimes a total disregard by some political ideologies or policies, delays in assessing and monitoring progress, inadequate financing, inadequate capacity and also the will to delegate those plans to those who are wiling to assist managing them in a most desired way this negative aspects retard development in a serious way.
Malawi as a country has dedicated and passionate citizenry with an interest to see their country moving forward, where equal opportunities for all is what they look for.
To sum it all, Malawians are always ready and eager to make their God-given country a better place to live, where the public has an interest to participate in all development agenda for it to develop further.
Finally, is it difficult to align agreed national development agenda to political parties’ ideologies or not? This is food for thought as we approach general elections in May 2014…
The author is a civil rights activist at Health and Rights Education Programme (HREP).