This German Ambassador, Peter Woeste, says Malawi has not developed in the last five years.
And what happens next?
We, in the media, picked that up as a big story worth bold headlines and lead bulletins. Really?
Seriously, I did not find Woeste’s comment anywhere close to news. News is something unfamiliar. Malawi has not developed since 1964, not the last five years, and this is quite familiar even to a two-year old.
What Woeste, however, could have wondered is why, after all these years of failure, Malawians are still calm, still patient and still, in the words of that CNN news anchor about Malawi, generally respectful people to authority?
Let us face it, fellow Malawians.
We are a nation that enjoys being taken for granted by those we gave power to govern us according to our sustained trust.
The economy is still down. The cost of living is skyrocketing every day. Public social services are crumbling with each passing day due to continued dwindling of funding.
All around, all you see are signs of glum among the people—there is no happiness here, not any.
In this pain, of course, Malawians are still peaceful, are still working hard with a weight of hope on their backs.
They believe their government is listening. They believe their government will control unnecessary expenditures to ensure there is increased funding in training teachers, nurses, doctors, environmentalists and, yes, key professionals.
But what are we getting instead?
State House, every year, wants much of the National Budget to itself—to fund ridiculous things.
Last year, it was the suspicious K500 million (about $723 000) in the K5.7 billion (about $8.3million) vote which, we were told, was for the construction of banquet hall.
Yes, a hall just for dining and wining.
This year, we all heard on Tuesday, it is the K1.4 billion (about $2million) in the K5.3 billion (about $7.7million) vote which, we have again been told, is for President Peter Mutharika to make 30 State visits in the 2016/2017 financial year.
Yes, a billion plus just for the President to move up and down!
It pains when hindsight reminds us that it is the same President whom, when taking power, promised to cut on domestic and international travels to serve for critical sectors.
Are we really serious?
We are spending huge sums on senseless subsidies such Farm Input Subsidy (Fisp) and Malata Subsidy yet we increase user fees in universities and secondary schools.
How do you explain a scenario where we increase fees in universities and secondary schools yet we keep subsiding ridiculous consumptive sectors that continue to bleed the economy?
Sure, the problem is not government. The problem is us, the people. We tolerate oppression—thinking it will go away without our word. It will not.
I pray for our anger to return. We need it now to redress issues that continue to keep this country down. n