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ColumnsHitting The Nail

Hitting the nail: Our employee is refusing deadlines

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Here is the situation that has faced Malawians.

We hired an employee in 2014 as chief executive officer and gave him a bumper five-year contract.

Before this contract was given, this employee pleaded with us and travelled the length and breadth of this country seeking our vote so that he becomes our chief executive officer to run this organisation called Malawi to the best of his ability.

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We liked him and gave him the job on condition that he runs this country by the set rules as encapsulated in the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.

This employee of the 17 million people of Malawi is none other than President Peter Mutharika.

But we have a problem. The employee has turned his back on us, his employers. He is living in an ivory tower insulated from our problems to the extent of saying he cannot take deadlines from any of us even when we are starving to death.

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Any honest citizen would agree that nothing seems to go for Malawi at the moment. Just look at the tobacco market which is three weeks into season. At this time it should have made over 12 million dollars but it has only raked in a measly 4 million dollars.

The hunger situation will only get worse. If for the past 12 months Admarc was overwhelmed with Malawians seeking cheaper maize than at the open market, it was just a dress rehearsal of what is to come and indications are already there.

That is why people are shooting each other whilst at Admarc at this time in April.

Malawians do not flock to Admarc at this time of the year looking for food. This is harvest time for Christ’s sake and in years gone by Malawians had plenty of maize and pumpkins and mphonda and everything during this time.

The shortage of maize in the food basket will then affect the larger economy in due course as it will drive inflation and up all other economic fundamentals.

We will look up to the President and his government for solutions. Because it hurts, we will scream and we are entitled to it. Through bodies that represent us such as Public Affairs Committee (Pac), we will give deadlines for our problems to be solved by the man we employed and it is the President.

This will give him pressure and it will get worse because the problems are getting worse.

Yet this cannot be the excuse for the President to be arrogant and tell us off as he did last week when Pac met him to share with him the recommendations of an all inclusive conference held in Blantyre.

When I heard the President speak about his refusal to take deadlines last week, I asked myself whether he lives in this same world that we are all living in and try to please our employers that pay us every month in return for the jobs that we hold.

Is there a job in the world that has no deadlines?

At the end of the day, I came to one conclusion. The President, after being elected, thinks he is above us all. He has forgotten that the law says he only holds power through the sustained trust of all Malawians.

Yet by his own words and deeds he thinks he is above us all and that he cannot take orders from us even at a time when life is becoming tough and painful.

But Malawians should not accept this arrogance. Malawi is not a kingdom where we must always bow in total supplication to our leaders. Those days are long gone and will not come back. The earlier our leaders such as the President understand this, the better.

We pay for his opulence and power through our tax. We have a right, through bodies such as Pac, to give him feedback on his leadership and performance. He cannot force us to think all is roses when what we see is something different.

Presidents serve at our pleasure. They cannot turn around and start behaving as kings who should take no orders. It is a recipe for a disaster.

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