Life has got its own distinct non-negotiable rules. Take for example; it is a fact that order begets progress and discord, disharmony, chaos and a state of pandemonium yields decadence, destitution and destruction. Folly and nincompoop is a sure recipe for wretchedness whereas on the other hand, wisdom and intellectual insight is the bedrock of prosperity and progress.
These principles are true, they are real and there are backed by empirical data in the sense that it has been clearly demonstrated through the seasons of the ages that highly organised and regimented societies achieved greatness and those that were is chronic discord and social friction languished in the abyss of dereliction and decay.
Even today, those that have had the blessing of exposure through travel will attest the fact that all the micro states that are highly and progressively developed in terms of infrastructure, economy and quality of life such as Singapore in the East and now Rwanda right here in our midst, have and are doing so because of the high levels of sanity that prevails in their communities.
These two states have been singled out in this discourse because of their peculiar similarities to Malawi as they are both small states in geographic size terms and not mineral rich endowed, like Malawi hitherto. The fact for comparison is to debunk the misguided myth that others might advance in explaining away why Malawi is pitifully at the basement of any human development measurement index. It is not because it is natural resource poor, it is not because Malawi is geographically short-changed territory-wise, neither is it because it is landlocked, far from it, because even Rwanda is; rather it is because Malawi’s social ecosystems lack the highly regimented and sophisticated sanity of ways to be a progressive and emerging nation State in the development trajectory.
The fact that Malawi has retrogressed in almost all the key socio-economic indicators and that today it is poorer in all aspects than it was at its peak in the 1980s, was succinctly demonstrated with ample researched and empirical facts by the 16th and 17th professorial Inaugural Lectures delivered in the Great Hall at Chancellor College University of Malawi on October 29 2014 entitled ‘Smallholder Agricultural Development in Malawi in the past 50 years: Has Public Policy Resulted in Unsuccessful Transformation’ and ‘People Management and National Development in Malawi: the Challenges and Opportunities” by Professor Ephraim Wadonda Chirwa, PhD and Professor Lewis B Dzimbiri, PhD, respectively.
The evidence for my thesis is all there for all to see, besides other authoritative publications by many academics, analysts and commentators. Perhaps most telling, the evidence is there in the streets, slums and villages. So the evidence is loud and conclusive. Perhaps then the question that begs addressing is Why Malawi?
One of the chief culprits is the insanity or lack of sanity that is so deep seated in us Malawians. It is manifested in the fact that we seem to be a community of people that fail to behave in a civilized manner. Examples abound in the simple things: the way we throw liter around with such shameless abandon that even animals like cats pity us. Then we have such huge appetite for disrespecting rules, laws and by-laws as seen by the madness of some people who go around constructing dwelling units in mountain and hill tops in the cities in restricted zones that were watersheds for our streams and water sources. We even have had amidst us such thoroughly accomplished lunatics that sell plots in such public parks without regard to the consequences.
Then we have a national craze of cutting trees and burning them wantonly as if it is a ritual that would cleanse us of some diabolical fits. When we are allocated a plot to build on, before we even plan what structure to erect, we first of all clear everything that grows, creating a mess of a working environment in the process. The litany of insane habits and mal-adventures in Malawi is inexhaustible as it is bizarre, suffice to say it is mind boggling.
In contrast to Singapore and Rwanda above, they are strict about orderly conduct. They fine you on the spot for throwing liter and if you fail to pay they imprison you straight up. No such madness and drama of injunctions and counter injunctions. As you approach to land into Singapore, they warn you against being found in possession of chewing gum, that you can go to the cooler for that. As for drug peddlers they do not waste time to take you to the guillotine.
Is it not amazing that just having come from the debilitating chaos of the bloody genocide only 20 years ago, Rwanda, under strongman Paul Kagame is making that African State the Singapore, Switzerland and Silicon Valley of Africa, all in one goal. Lesson we can learn?