Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Listen to the voice of reason, Mr President


Sometimes people have the propensityto attract problems to themselves.

In public administration, this happens when elected leaders forget their call to duty and begin to serve their personal interests.

This seems to be the case in Malawi where our leaders, puffed up by the hot air of power, begin to treat constructive criticism as anathema to democracy. This is seen when civil society leaders and Malawians of good will point at perceived wrongs in the government.


For the most part, their voiced is shouted down by either being dismissed outright or being treated to a cocktail of silence— which is another way of telling those concerned that our public leaders do not give a hoot about people’s concerns.

This is uncalled for, especially after we voted for the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1994. In so doing, we embraced democracy, which gives citizens a right to take part in national development issues.

To buttress the importance of respecting ideals of democracy, the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi provides for an array of freedoms, among them freedom of speech, expression, association. Citizens are also encouraged to express themselves through peaceful demonstrations.


However, our leaders continue to pay a blind eye to concerns raised during demonstrations, a case in point being the 10-point petition civil society organisations (CSO) delivered to the government this year.

Today, President Peter Mutharika has not taken any concrete action, apart from forming a committee of people whose objectivity is questionable. This has angered CSO leaders, who are planning to have fresh demonstrations.

On the other hand, CSO leaders seem to have discovered a ‘goldmine’ in demonstrations, through which they seem to please those who encourage them. In fact, CSO leaders seem to have run out of ideas as, every time, they talk of holding demonstrations as if there were no better ways of resorting misunderstandings. We have, in mind, dialogue.

But this does not justify our leaders’ detachment from national issues, which can as well be described as betrayal of public trust because, according to the Constitution, our leaders rule on trust.

We would, therefore, like to urge the President to be seen to be acting on the issues, instead of treated Malawians as non-entities. Through requisite action, we can address the problems that beset this country and embrace sustainable prosperity.

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