11:49 am - Saturday 22 September 2018

Mutharika 4 months and abit on….How does it look?

By Analytical Rose - Tue Oct 14, 4:49 pm

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Malawi: It is well over 4 months now that we had the elections and the DPP government is settling down.While I voted DPP this time my stand is to vote for the party that I believe will move Malawi on wards to give Malawians a better standard of living. I still believe up to now the party that is best equipped in terms of brains and organisation is the DPP party. Malawi needs a mindset change from; victim type predisposition to taking charge of it own affairs; Malawi needs to regain self pride! begging is not the way to run a country!; Malawi needs to get responsible stealing is not the way to develop a country!;Malawi needs to shed some long standing tendencies which are detrimental to its development and at the top of that list is Regionalism, Tribalism and Nepotism! They talk about Gender equality almost tongue in cheek but it is a fact that even in the present cabinet there are hardly any female ministers!So all in all the there is a lot of work to do and it is serious work! While the government is orientating itself to see how to deal with these problem then some manufactured problems surface – Federalism! Some natural threats surface; Ebola possible pandemic! Ok it’s all in the days work but I thought it useful to take a global view of what the government has to contend with which is not at all easy because anyone of these changes costs money and the Malawi Government is cash strapped because there has been a lot stealing of public funds which has been going on for some time now! This makes the job even harder!However it’s here and it has to be addressed no matter how next to impossible it might appear.It is one almighty vicious circle which we have got ourselves in and we need to get out of it some how.

Peter Muntharika

Peter Muntharika

In my mind, I still feel DPP is the best party to deal with this; I feel that it is useful to see what is going well and to highlight where the going is not so well;red flag signs are a prompt for a sensible government too look at things and examine whether they need to be doing one or two things differently. I also feel that when the going is so tough it is useful to have encouragement.

Communication:
The first thing to commend this government about is the fact that they try to keep the public informed. It is very important that people understand why things are happening, when they will happen and that way they are able to support or constructively question the policy so . I would therefore like to encourage the government for this. This president understands that running a country is team work, so unlike in the recent past we see ministers doing their work, it is possible to remind one which minister belongs where and they are allowed to represent the nation in their respective ministries and relevant meetings which means the president is busy doing what he is meant to be doing at the Palace.The fact that there are fewer ministers however means that that there is potential for overloading people. This has to be guarded against because even the best performer starts under performing if their efficiency is diluted by overloading them.Some part of me thinks this is why The President has recently shuffled aspects of his government. This is fine but us the public need to be clear what happens when a position ensured by the convention is deemed to need change? I don’t find it satisfactory that such a position can just be changed because then it makes the convention a nonsense. I hope someone who knows better will explain this to me and I am sure a lot of puzzled people whom I have communicated with.

Cash-gate:
This is a national emergency! we need our money back from wherever these people put it! I appreciate some of it is in houses as brick motor! some of it is in businesses! some is in what ever property but whatever is attached to cashgate should quickly be rounded up, sold before it loses value and that money should be poured back into the government! Those buses should not be sitting in front of the police station hey should be sold and the money should very clearly be documented and poured back into government! I hope the new appointment in the ACB knows what he is doing! The sorting of Cash-gate is not going fast enough Mr. President speed it up

Safety:
Unfortunately, armed robbery has become very common in Malawi! It is on the increase. I am aware that the president has a different relationship to the Police as compared to past relationships between presidents and police and I would very much like to encourage this. I would like to say though, Malawi is becoming a very unsafe place to live in and an overhaul of the whole system, if not underway already needs to start very soon. Admittedly it is much calmer generally in country than before May! and this is a good sign! it means we are going in the right direction! But my impression talking to people is that scarcity of things, lack of jobs, the expense one has to go through to live are all becoming unattainable; i.e. donor absence is taking it’s bite! The skill then is how do we engineer this situation to make it such that people accept the hardship but there is hope for them in the near future? There is a lot of corruption in police itself, I recall when I was once driving and being asked to have a document which I had left at home, the police woman openly said to me just give me “4 souzand for lunch” and you can go! I have not driven in Malawi lately and this was before this government but that needs to be weeded out of the system- more discipline is needed!

The General state:
I have to thank The first lady for taking this on. I recall as a child on the Zomba road just after the covo factory if it is still there, there was a park on the left as you go to Zomba! Now its over grown and neglected ugly!, so say nothing about the zitsonkho all along the roads! roads did start to improve we even got a dual carriage way! but this needs picking up! Law should be passed to help this lady to beautify Malawi. “take you litter home” should be on every Malawians mouth!Urinating everywhere is very unhealthy there are disease like schistomiasis we can pas on to each other by urinating everywhere. People wash clothes, bath in Lilongwe river and then fill their bucket with water to use at home! can you imagine what disease they are distributing to their families!Mrs Mutharika most certainly needs our support in beautifying Malawi! A lot of education amongst Malawians is needed to make them appreciate how important it is to keep their environment clean. So this is a very good development.

Food:
I hear on the grape vine that food is plentiful in Malawi at present and that the rains were ok, well we are near planting season, hope this luck is going to see us through , I have also heard that silos are going to be repaired and got back to their functionality! In The Kamuzu days the silos really did play their role! so can we make sure that the relevant ministry is actually delivering on this one! a hungry nation cannot develop it’s nation! From time to time one hears about Agriculture, recently the VP went to Israel which was encouraging. I have to say here that we need a deeper intervention. People have lost their good ways of using land and crop oration, crop production etc….have gone down. Hastings Kamuzu Banda used to do crop inspections! that is how much he valued Agriculture! There is a lot of preventive work, reperative work needed in this ministry! not clear how we are faring here? This is a ministry that really should be spruced up because it feeds the people!

Health and Education:
Money is very short, and I was very disappointed with the minuscule budget the ministry of health got! How does one get round this? difficult but there are areas in Malawi where things are still not done properly. We in Malawi need to appreciate that it cost money to have an form of service. Which I sympathies with the president about charging people for hospitals, I think it needs very thorough thrashing out because a large percentage of Malawians don’t even have enough money to feed themselves? so some criteria need to be applied because there are definitely people who can afford to pay for themselves in hospital but my guess is that these people already do so because they go to private clinics or they go abroad. So to entice these people back into our public hospital our services need to become much better standards so that people feel justified for any levies they have to pay. Secondly I am not convinced that taxes, all taxes in Malawi are collected properly! I was sitting on a plane a few years ago and a white man was telling his friend how he has decided to build a holiday resort on Likoma Island, this caught my interest so I am afraid I EAVES DROPPED! he proudly said to his friendly who had asked what the taxes are like in Malawi! He condescendingly replied “nobody charges any taxes! the places is so inefficiently run that I do as I wish and keep my profits”. I hurt listening to this!I have never forgotten it, If it was today I would have done my best to find out where this man’s business was and contacted the right authorities to go after him! Please get good at collecting taxes because this is revenue that will help ministries like Health.

My only biggest complaint about Education is that there are still very many so called private schools. I may be behind times here but more strict control of these schools is a matter of urgency. If they are substandard they should close. The majority of people that open these private schools are not your altruistic believers in education but business people who are more interested in the profits! so the standard of the school needs to be more stringently controlled by the government please. It’s only 4 months, I know, but I would like to hear a lot more of what is going in this area!

Resources:
Malawi is full of resources but like most things we do not maximise what we have and yet we beg from outsiders to help us. In most countries I have traveled, I see Chilchids and they all come form Malawi!, they are sold at exorbitant prices! Last time I visited Cape McClear in Malawi for the ‘upteenth’ time I met chines people there who were collecting this fish freely, under the cover of being divers!This is a source of money for our country! This is a natural resource which should be under strict Government control! Is there anything being done about it? I know there is Kayelekera mine whose contract according to what we read leaves a lot to be desired!no very helpful for Malawians and Malawians are apparently treated badly there why is this allowed to carry ? I gather there are some minerals along The Songwe! Please right from the start get a good deal for Malawians!Our relatives must not toil and all the revenue goes abroad! I have not caught up with any positive news about this!

In the old Government I had lost hope, because the diversity of all this was too much for Joyce Banda and as she did not seem to know how to delegate, most of these systems seemed to just be left. Well what I see is that Peter Mutharika has the right approach in that he actually expects the ministers to perform in the individual ministries. It should therefore be possible to overhaul all this via the respective ministers, under the direction of the President. While on this topic I am very excited about the colleges this government is planning on setting up because that means a lot people can learn skills which they can use to self employ servicing the population and generally uplifting the nation. Labour is vital without people none of this can happen and from speeches he gives I get the impression he has thought of this.

Cabinet:
A smaller cabinet is definitely an achievement! I congratulate the president on this. In there however make sure you are not overloading people. Here I feel I need to says this.

Bingu Wa Mutharika was a brilliant leader but I don’t t hink he was a brilliant politician! that was his down fall. His first term was very successful leading to a land slide second term. It’s very easy for history to repeat itself. My advice to Peter is please surround yourself with trustworthy intelligent cool people to advise you. Please no matter how hot the going gets! don’t get emotional! certainly voters are not chickens! no matter how angry you feel with our Malawian inertia remain on course and unperturbed!Also have your eye open, when you are a leader you are very vulnerable because people tell you all sorts of lies because of their own agendas always agendas that are for their benefit and not you, some of it may even come form the opposition in different ways- there are people in the opposition who pay people money to cause confusion be very aware!

Regionalism &  Nepotism:
I have written on this before. I agree that the cabinet is predominantly Southern like the opposition is predominantly Central. I however give Mutharika some credit because he has tried to have one or two people from the North ( Goodall Gondwe), and people from the Central ( Ntaba, Kalilani, Chilima) and so it seems to me he is trying to be as non regionalistic as he can possibly be and although I hear of rumors of amalgamation/coalition what ever the working relationship with UDF he has tried to be inclusive! But until the country can see that we need to forget regions if Malawi is to move forward, presidents will always have difficulty because followers will always be the ones from their respective regions. So while most of my article is aimed at Government at this stage I would like to speak to every Malawian who reads this and say you start defacing regionalism and the country will become less regionalistic. We are making it difficult for our leaders to do otherwise.

The Opposition:
I am disappointed in the opposition! MCP have ready made policies which have been proven to work but they do not seem to become an objective opposition yet! Is this because objectivity is such a rare event in Malawian thinking? or is this because MCP has the wrong politicians in the wrong places like the mouthy Kabwila? Is it not time Chakwera had a reshuffle and get a more respectable spokesperson for the party? Anyway it’s 4 months let’s see how it will all pann out!

In summary therefore It feels like Peter Mutharika has started very well, a mammoth task ahead of him but he is doing his best. I would like to remind him to keep his feet on the ground! people tittle tattle when you are the leader, learn to disregard those, and when success starts coming don’t forget those that have been by your side all along certainly always remind yourself that you are there because of voters and under no circumstances must you take them for granted.

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