It is undeniable that currently Malawians are going through very hard times. The challenges people are facing are uncountable and the main cause for this is the bad economy. Basically, this calls for focused leadership. At the moment, there are all indications that the government has failed the people of Malawi. What has made the situation worse is the pulling out of donors’ budgetary support which accounted for 40 percent of the national budget. This was done in response to rampant corruption which is going on unabated even now.
When President Peter Mutharika’s government realised that donors are unlikely to resume budgetary support, both the President and his Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe announced in the last sitting of Parliament that Malawians should brace for a no aid budget. Everything has to be funded from local resources. Malawians have no choice but to accept the bitter pill. In fact, it is long overdue that 51 years after independence, the country still looks at donors to fund almost half of the national budget. What remains now is for DPP-led government to come up with strategies for local resource mobilisation for the budget. The government must remain focused and take a chance to fund the budget to prove that Malawi is indeed independent.
Surprisingly, during his recent visit to the United Kingdom (UK), the State President was reported in the media as lobbying British members of Parliament to push their government and by extension other donors to resume direct budgetary support to Malawi. Without doubt this brought mixed feelings to Malawians. In short, what should people follow? Should they drop the idea of working towards finding resources to fund the budget or stop everything and keep on waiting for the State President who is going around begging for donor budgetary support?
The mixed messages from the President’s actions might mean that the government has failed to wean Malawi with regards to donor budgetary support. It is no use to convince donors with Malawi Reforms which are just tailored for the benefit of Malawians.
Another example of inconsistency by the President and his government has been on the tabling of the Access to Information (ATI) Bill. When addressing Parliament, the President made a strong assurance that the Bill was finally ready to be tabled in Parliament. When this was/is not the case, it can only mean that he has had a change of mind. The reason for this is that more consultations are required so says the government. Whatever is the reason, one thing which comes out clearly is that the government thinks that it has the right to cheat Malawians! This is unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the State President should know better that his inconsistencies impact negatively on progress in the country. People might lose focus about local resource mobilisation and instead expect the President to scout the world for well wishers.
In fact, if there is inconsistency in the leadership even the much-talked about reforms are likely not to be followed by government as well as people at large. It must be mentioned that reforms on their own mean nothing. If the government is not careful, they will just be like the Malawi potential story. At this day and age highlighting the Malawi potential as part of the Malawi success story means nothing. The Malawi potential has been overstated with no corresponding results on the ground.
Inconsistence by the leadership creates lack of trust and is a show of incompetence. In the case people are lost as they do not know what to follow. Malawi is currently a typical example for this.n