Malawi needs leaders who are in touch with realities on the ground and who understand what needs to be done to get the country out of the current situation. We need leaders who can inspire Malawians to start believing in themselves, inspire them to action—rallying behind a common vision and purpose.
It has to be noted that no institution is above its leadership. Malawi’s situation is to a larger extent a reflection of the type of leadership we have been having. Since the dawn of multiparty democracy through a 1993 National referendum, most Malawians have lost the sense of patriotism.
To a greater extent, that has been fuelled by institutionalised corruption and the collapse of institutional frameworks in sectors such as education, security and industry, among others. Malawians saw and are seeing what their leaders are doing and are emulating them.
Today, Malawi is suffering from a tragedy of commons with a free-for-all plunder of national resources. The environment which made Malawi a beauty is on a downward spiral. Chikangawa and Dzalanyama forest reserves are no longer the marvel they used to be. We need leaders with a high moral ground to stop such madness.
Malawi needs leaders who can bring a sense of discipline on the nationals, who can inspire the youth to understand what allegiance to the national anthem and the flag of the nation means.
In the past we used to stand still when the national anthem is being played, we used to work during youth week. All these instilled in the youth a sense of nationalism. However, some came and said this is human rights abuse.
As we revise the Vision 2020 and with agricultural transformation at the back of our mind, we should consider, in the first five years, increasing electricity generation and distribution by a minimum of 300 percent the current capacity. This will solve challenges in agricultural processing and industrial development.
In preparation for agricultural industrialisation, we should also consider overhauling our financial, industrial and trade policies, privatisation, foreign bank borrowing and direct foreign investments, domestic financial regulation, exchange rates and monetary policies and Government expenditure as they relate to agriculture. These have been among those that have choked agricultural development in Malawi.
Corruption has been the cancer that has eroded the inner fabric of development in Malawi in the past 20 years; as such going forward, corruption crimes must increase in profile to be at par with murder, treason and rape.
We need to seriously invest in education at all levels, especially in the area of higher education. Currently, combined enrolment of the current four public universities is lower than 15 000. We need to build capacity for the universities and increase intake to 40 000 in the next five years with a progressive increased enrolment to around 500 000 in the next 30 years.
This will help in creating a middle class that will stimulate demand for agricultural products but also labour force for the agricultural industry.
In the first five years, we must also consider coming up with a good population policy to check the current worrisome trends in population growth. In the next five to 10 years, we should spend our energies on reconstituting the industry, creating Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in agricultural processing and State-owned enterprises if possible.
Agricultural clusters and rural growth centres must be reinforced with large processing plants that can help spur rural development and check rural-urban migration.
I believe that in the first 10 years of the national vision, a strong foundation for development has to be set by ensuring the well-being of the agriculture sector. No country has developed without firstly sorting out challenges facing agriculture and access to food. n