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Challenge of Malawi’s visionless leadership

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With Tsibweni Chalo:

I know Agogo that, whenever you cast a backward glance periodically at Malawi under the visionary leadership of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda and compare it to the current state, you always say with faith and feeling: There go Malawians but for the grace of God, Allah, Brahma and Chisumphi.

The country is really trapped in primordial barbarity.

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You old folks have at all times said the inability to learn from mistakes is the single biggest cause for failure for leaders. In our generation heavily relying on classroom-window theories, we call this first fatal flaw.

Certainly, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has failed to not only find its leadership ‘sweet pot’ but raise its leadership tent whose canvas represents all of the possible competencies a ruling party might display, including fixing fatal flaws.

DPP was handed an opportunity to prove itself either a prodigious success or an ignominious failure at running the affairs of the country and glow in its glorious success or wallow in the ignominy of failure.

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It had several options of actualising this; among them learning from the former presidents’ mistakes.

But it is clear DPP lack the capacity to run the affairs of this country at minimum risk of besmirching the image of the entire DPP fanatics as failures at statecraft.

As I am writing, about 300 students at the University of Malawi’s constituent college, The Polytechnic, risk not sitting their end-of-year examinations due to fees.

Higher Education Students Loans and Grants Board Executive Director Chris Chisoni responded conceitedly that the board has a contractual agreement with the affected students to top up the balance, hence failing to do so is breaching the agreement.

But it is high time Malawi leaders and officers responsible aimed at giving the citizens the right tools and create conducive environment for development instead of selfishly looking away whenever a problem calling for their attention arises.

Evidently, the country, in the multiparty dispensation, politically and development-wise, continues running around in circles just like mad chickens.

No wonder, a sick, slow pace characterises development after 54 years of independence. The country ranks among the poorest of the world despite being a recipient of aid for all those years.

But let us be clear about our problems.

The many problems the country is grappling with arise from the shameless greed – dearth of the twin senses of shame and pride – and the lack of love of the country by people charged with the responsibility of running its affairs.

Blatant greed that makes it ‘acceptable’ to seek elective office and hold public office to serve and further one’s personal interests at the expense of serving and furthering the interests of the office and the people who put one in office.

It is such insensitive leaders and officers who would, without shame, let the futures of deserving Malawians crumble.

Education, it has been said for the umpteenth time, is key to development.

And, such being the case, any serious government and institution could not allow The Polytechnic scenario to happen. The situation could be avoided, to say the least, if the leadership had a sense of priorities.

In principle, it is believed that governments as agent of development function to facilitate the progressive reduction of poverty among citizens alongside ensuring quality education, law and order, peace and security among others.

At times, however, when the government is bereft of visionary leadership and governance theories, it is has no time to concentrate on reigning on crises nor attentively listen to alternative voice or the demands of the majority but resultantly goes into a delusion pretending everything is normal.

Agogo, this is the situation in the country at present.

But if the country is to escape national stagnation and deterioration, underdevelopment and impoverishment and preventable losses, government should prioritise drivers of development such as education.

One way of showing that commitment to education is to ensure its access to everyone.

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