Nepotism-evil retarding development in Malawi
By Analytical Rose - Sat Jul 12, 10:07 pm
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Malawi: The new government is now in place and the mood change in Malawi is already obvious. There is a feel of seriousness, a feel of expectation, some degree of calmness although some disturbing things are still going on like large scale robberies and punishement by burning people alive!The outstanding criticism so far of the new government seems to be that His Exellency Peter Mutharika is nepotistic; that he has chosen a government which is heavily biased towards the southern part of Malawi because those in the cabinet are mainly from the south of the country.If you did not know the history of Malawi, if you were not familiar with Malawian politics you would be inclined to think people have a point in this.Indeed the majority of office bears are from the Southern part of Malawi.Where I beg us to think a little more deeply about this is whether this is because we simply have a Nepotistic president or whether the problem is in fact deeper than that? We need to get brutally honest with ourselves on this if we are serious about addressing the issue.If we don’t do that we are wasting time because we will simply go round and round in circles that end us where we started from only to go round again.
In Malawi we have tribes. These tribes perhaps not so strong now but have been very strong identity markings which have been disturbed by development and modernisation. Each one of these tribes, has its own rules and regulations which have been followed by the tribes for decades. Do not under estimate how strong such a bond is; it provides security, it provides identity, it even nurtures one as one is growing up. Do you remember those phrases you will have heard from time to time? ” we the Ngoni’s do it this way, us in Mangochi we dont do that, no we are from the North and we do not do that” I am sure these are statements you have lived with growing up. So the fact Malawi is divided into little factions called tribes is not a new thing it has been there for a very very long time in fact personally I don’t know when the first tribe was first created in Malawi but I recall my Dad explaining to us how we were a faction of the Bantus who had emigrated from the south of Africa and settled here and there and how another group went East etc…….People where ever they are need to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of identity and if we start from there we will see that there is nothing sinister in tribes as such. What is happening in Malawi is that because life has come a long way from then our small factions need to change to the bigger one called Malawi so that we function productively because remaining in the small tribalistic factions mean that we will spend a lot of our resources fighting each other while in economic terms we are actually one ad the same because it is what happens to Malawi that affects each one of us and not what happens to the Chewas or Ngonis etc….
As time goes by, it starts getting complicated because economical change and growth demands that we interact a little more than these small groups, of course then inter marriages begin and the whole structure starts diluting.It starts of with marrying the next village, then the next tribe, then the next region and before you know what they are marrying into the next country and then continent!!It is extremely easy to see how this starts playing havoc with the neat small organisations which felt cosy and secure because every interaction demands some dilution of how one behaves to accommodate the other and it is this inter face that I think we as Malawians are struggling with now.
Lets pause and think;Dr. Kabwila says we need to expand the cabinet so that it accommodates some central region MPs. This statement implies that where you come from qualifies you as a minister! In reality what qualifies you as a cabinet minster should be the fact that you can do the job.If you can do a good job for the central region only if you come from the central region then to my mind you actually do not qualify for that job! equally if Mutharkia is a good president only for DPP members or indeed just for southerners he should not be a president at all because once you are a president you are a president for the country and the presidents job is to protect, develop, look after the country.I fully understand Kabwila’s reaction because she is feeling the insecurity of having to look up to someone whom she does not identify with as one of herself!
Lets also look at another aspect of the problem. When parties form, people tend to follow peole who they understand, agree with, or even like and so it is not surprising that the regions tend to stick to themselves. The snag is that when time comes to pick people for office the larger number of people the leader is going to befamiliar with will be his party members who as shown above tend to be from his region so yes he will end up with a biased cabinet! in terms of where they come from!There is nothing evil going on even when Joyce Banda was so patently tribalistic and regionalistic! ; it was all insecurity because it felt secure with those that agreed with her.The big problem with this is that you might give a job to somoen who is less capable because they belong to your faction leaving a much better candidte because they belong to a different faction! In fact this is what happens and the resulkt of course is that systems start to rot!
Why am I going to all this trouble exlaining my view of what evil this tribalism and regionalism is, it’s because, we need to understand that human beings are insecure animals and they like definition; tribalism, regionalism, even recial prejudice gives them this security but the flip side to that is that it also makes them blind to reality! This is why we all hate racism! I say we all because I am black but may be a white person might not agree with me,he might see black ways as intrusive to white ways! usually these are perceptions other than reality! the same way- we need to start of by saying our inherent insecurities, our history, our selfishness has largely taught us to clump up in groups. Todays world development however shows very clearly that we will only function best if we treat each other with the respect and love we all serve and desire.
Malawi is no exception, a lot of division, hatred grows out of these divisions and they breed poverty because it closes us to chances we would have had had we been a bit more open minded, it also renders us blind while we condemn Mutharika of regionalism we must recognise that we are regionalistic ourselves because if Mutharka has chosen the correct person for that post that person will and should do a good job for Malawi.We cannot appoint a cabinet simply to equalise the regional or party numbers that is perpetuating regionalism.In fact it is incompetent and wasteful to expand the cabinet in order to accommodate more central region MPs! we should have Malawians with merit in all jobs and they prove poor perfrormers then get rid of them and repalce them with a more competent person regardless of their region of origin!
This ladies and gentlemen means that we need to start off by working on our own regionalistic tndnencies and chnage our mind set so that we can become much more inclusive and non partisan. Our enemy is the problem in front of us i.e. Poverty, ignorance, hunger, poor services, dishonesty all these negatuives destroy a country and they ar the enemies we should be fighting. That is to say we shold be debating on the best way of dealing with what ever it is that is keeping Malawi from becoming the haven it could be as a country to live in up to now. Stop dividing ourselves and certainly stop fighting with our fellow Malawians.You might come from Salima (central Malawi) but you are just as malawian as anyone from Mzimba(North malawi)
I look forward to the beginning of the solution to this rathe complex problem by all of us looking at ourselves and getting rid of that tendency to love our own better, to support our own better especially if we have committed ourselves to serve. If you want to serve, you surely must serve all? you cannot be a president for some faction of Malawi and not that of another group in the same country.
This brings me to a point which is very important to clarify. When a country elects a president what actually is happening is that peopple are saying, they believe that that persons ideas are the best for solveing their problems for a better living. So they are asking that school of thought to be applied to the country for 5 yearts and then we see where we are. If successful they get re elected if not we try someone different! You can therefore see that things likeCoups (genuine coupd by the way!), rigging, corrption all these are evils that hold a country back because there is no progress attached to these negatives and a country that wants to move forward should at all costs avoid divisions of any kind.
Final thought: How about instead of criticising who got the job, how about if we keep a very careful eye on how they work that post! if the ministry of Lands only develops his region then we really take them to town!Nepotisn is evil! It delays progress! it blinds individual and national progress! Personally I think Nepotism is a Malawian problem which Malawians as a nation should tackle to avoid any further delay to achiveing great heights as a nation. I am not close enough to Mutharka Junior for me to know if he is nepotistic, but I dare say if he is it will soon be very obvious because we have seen before what that does, Joyce Banda was a vert good example of hoe nepotism destroys ; but so far he has shown signs that at least as a human being he is trying not to be destructively nepotistic for Malawi.
Congratuilations for keeping to your word sir; a cabinet of 20 you promised us and that is what you delivered. Accountability is one of the most important attributes of a leader! we may have struck lucky in Malawi its too early to say but let’s look after him so that his wisdom may transform Malawi.It’s not an easy job to do. Joyce tried but failed.I would like to take this opportunity to remind my fellow countrymen, the president is just the leader the director if you like but ALL of us are equally responsible for developing our country and we need to remeber that every single day when we wake up!
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