he answer to the above question is anybody’s guess.
During the three decades of dictatorship under Dr Kamuzu Banda, Malawians went through a lot of suffering due to various atrocities. Anyone perceived to have crossed Dr Banda’s path, would face all manner of punishments. Unfortunately, people had to suffer in silence because there was no freedom of expression. One had to look over the shoulder before making any comment on government.
To be fair to Dr Banda, people might have accommodated the suffering because he showed a lot of patriotism in his quest to prove that he was capable of governing the country. He made sure that among other things, hospitals had medicines all the time, the civil service was well-disciplined and paid on time, education was of very high standard, people had enough food all the time, agriculture was booming as fertiliser and chemicals were at affordable prices and there was security for people and their property.
The situation is different now. A catalogue of maladministration in the democratic rule has deprived Malawians of acceptable standards of life. People are literally in the jaws of poverty and life is becoming unbearable.
Surprisingly, despite the freedom of speech, most people still prefer to suffer in silence. Simply put, this is fear of the unknown. People seem to be so brainwashed to believe in empty promises and assurances by government. Imagine, nowadays going to a government hospital is just a formality as one is likely not to be treated due to lack of medicines.
Interestingly, even the President was quoted in the newspapers saying it was news to him that hospitals have run out of medicines. For goodness sake, if the President is not aware of shortages of medicines, then whose job is it to know? If the President knows nothing, then people become helpless and hopeless.
Currently, the commercial city of Blantyre is hit by long spells of dry taps. This has now turned into a perennial problem. What is the government doing and for how long will people continue to suffer? The main problem with this government is that its priorities seem to be upside down. Does it make sense to spend K300 million on Independence celebrations instead of fixing water problems once and for all?
With all due respect, the Peter Mutharika administration is flip-flopping. The idea of laying a foundation stone here and there or launching this report and that plan while so many outstanding problems remain unsolved cannot take this country anywhere. It is now just going round in circles as it spirals downwards.
Meanwhile, the ball is in every Malawian’s court. This is not the time to take a back seat and wait while gruesome murders are taking place. Indeed, it is spine-chilling when one hears about bodies being found without heads, let alone private parts. The ripple effect of this is that people cannot go out to work in their fields for fear of their lives.
This is not the time to ask about what activists such as Billy Mayaya or Livingstonia Synod are saying.
Activists and other commentators need everyone’s support. It is on record that time and again activists have petitioned government on various issues. The outcome of such petitions is very obscure. Most likely, the petitions are gathering dust in some government office.
Freedom of speech is the voice of reason for everyone. Therefore, tolerating suffering should be a thing of the past. Malawians have to wake up for our country not to be perpetually used as an example of a poorly run state.