Big talk


Last week, President Lazarus Chakwera delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) when Parliament reconvened in Lilongwe.

Knowing the actual state of the nation, a lot of people did not have enough expectations considering that it has been all talk since this administration came to power.

And indeed the President talked. From his words, one may be tempted to think that we and those in power are not living in the same world. The Malawi we saw in the speech is quite different from what we experience every day.


The President emphasised progress that has been made in certain areas, including health, education and food security.

Although some impressive figures were mentioned, the reality on the ground reveals that nothing much has improved in this country.

As rightly observed by the President, the foreseeable future is gloomy, since there is not much promise in our economy. He even went further to argue that our neighbours are also struggling economically – that we are not sinking alone in this ship of despair.


The economic struggles of our neighbours can, in no way, justify our own failures. And it may not be true that our neighbours are struggling the way we are.

Zambia, for example, has made considerable strides since ushering in new leadership. They are coming from a period when their president used to implore people to pray for the economy.

Today, Zambia’s president has seen an end to blackouts and he is always on the ground trying to find solutions to their various challenges.

And just a few years ago, Tanzania’s John Magufuli transformed his country through radical reforms that were evident to all of us. As such, it is only right to ask what we learned from that.

Our problem is that our leadership does not want to find solutions to our problems because the moment those problems end, there will be nothing for the politicians.

Politicians seem to be important because they have memorised our problems and they know how to narrate them to us on podiums.

They also know the solutions, and they always tell us how they plan to apply them. That is why the Chakwera- Chilima administration had all that big talk about mega farms, industrialisation, bullet trains, cheap fertiliser and what have you.

They know that big talk wins, and that is where it ends. But it was about time that our leaders did something tangible for us. We have been promised a lot of things and we are now tired of promises.

The other problem we have is that those in opposition tend to think that they are not part of leadership. While they criticise the administration, it should also be part of their responsibility to prescribe medicine for our ailments.

But from the way the opposition conducted itself during the Sona, you could tell that we are on our own.

They tried to mock us by wearing rags, but even their rags were well ironed and tailored, unlike the tatters that the children of the poor are wearing out there.

And when these people had the chance to speak, they said nothing about us. One point to note was when the Leader of Opposition interrupted the President just to demand bottled water for him and his colleagues. There was nothing about us at all.

The President’s address should worry us because, from his words, there will be no changes in the near future. From his talk, we saw a mountain of problems that confront us and the government seems not to have transformative solutions for the same.

There is always talk about ending corruption, talk about investing in tourism, talk about mining and energy; talk, talk, talk, but that is all there is.

We, as a country, have huge potential in all these areas we talk about, but what is our problem? Maybe we needed to leave politics aside for once and come together to do what is best for the country.

The current state of our nation is so pathetic that we should not be worrying about scoring political points. We must accept that we are in trouble and we need to find a way out. We need lasting solutions.

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