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Bingu and JB to blame for the economic woes

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As the incumbent, President, Peter Mutharika will have take all the blame and the whipping for the current economic turmoil in the country.

But if truth be told, Mutharika inherited all this and there isn’t much he could have done to prevent the current state of affairs.

What Malawians are facing now are the consequences of grave mistakes made by our two previous leaders in the name of late Bingu wa Mutharika and Joyce Banda.

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Bingu won the 2009 presidential elections at the height of an economic boom which saw Malawi registering consistent growth of above six percent for 4 years during which the kwacha remained stable while maize harvests were so strong that the country was even able to export to neighbouring countries.

Once he won the elections, however, Bingu turned around and started behaving like a demigod to the point where the masses had to go to the streets on July 20 to protest against his bad governance.

Donors pulled out of the country and Malawians once again started experiencing economic problems characterized by foreign exchange and fuel shortages.

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Joyce Banda came as a savior in 2012 and managed to correct things quickly, thanks to massive international support her government received.

Her government came up with a beautiful and promising economic recovery plan which offered hope to many Malawians.

However, before the recovery was achieved, cashgate came on the scene when Malawians learned that ruling party and government elites of the People’s Party administration had embarked on a public resource looting spree which saw K25 billion vanishing from government coffers within a period of 3 months in 2013.

Donors became angry again and withdrew their support. They were never to come back again.

Peter Mutharika inherited a government without donor aid. His government’s attempts to woo them back seem to be in vain as most of them have indicated that they won’t return to the country, even if Angels were in charge.

While it is possible to manage the economy without donor aid with prudent financial managed, the floods and drought of early this year have made things even more difficult for the economy.

In the past, Malawi was always saved by donor aid when ever natural disasters made it difficult for the country to grow enough food, generate foreign exchange and collect adequate revenue for the budget.

It is a new territory all together for Malawi to face floods and drought without looking at donor aid for rescue.

The Malawi kwacha is now on a free fall with nothing to give hope of how and when all this will end.

So Peter Mutharika will have to take the beating as the leader, yes. But is he really to blame for all these problems? Is there anything he could have done to save this situation?

I don’t like finger pointing but I will still look back and blame late Bingu and JB for failing to take advantage of great opportunities that were presented in their hands that could have made Malawi much better economically today, even after being hit by floods and drought.

They messed up things instead and we are now suffering the consequences of their grave mistakes.

But instead of wasting time with the blame game and crying over spilt milk, we should probably shift our focus to helping the government find solutions to the problems we are facing.

We have to demand from the government clear plans and commitment on what they intend to do to solve the problems. But let’s give them time too because economic problems take time to be resolved, especially without donor support as in the case in Malawi at present.

The efforts to attract foreign direct investment as being taken are good but these have to be accompanied by enabling policies and programmes to address hurdles to business prevailing in the country.

Malawi therefore needs some kind of magic from the government to increase and improve energy supplies which are critical if the country is to attract investments in various sectors of the economy.

Malawi can get up and stand on its own without donor support if we took full advantage of the opportunities existing in sectors such as mining, tourism, irrigation agriculture and others by developing them comprehensively to carry the economy forward.

Meanwhile, let’s do away with the finger pointing and accept that we messed up things as a country in 2010 and 2013 and get ready to face the consequences of our blunders.

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