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Litany of lies

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From the word go, the Tonse Alliance was billed, by those who were advancing its ideals and selling it to voters, as the greatest feat in political engineering in post-one party Malawi.

In fact, it was sold as a grouping of great minds— unlike a single political party —one that would create a series of pathways to prosperity.

Maybe it was the message Malawians wanted.

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After all, Malawi has long been associated with poverty and no one likes that tag. No one except, of course, those in the academia.

I mean, introductory parts of research papers and dissertations have become a cliché, with most individuals seeking to get an academic paper through tertiary education institutions using a paragraph or two to describe how deep-rooted poverty is in Malawi, a country in sub- Saharan Africa, just to buy space.

Give me a break and be creative.

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Of course, Malawi is resource-constrained. Just that it is not poor. Its people are trying to find the abracadabra to success and sustainable prosperity. Once the formula is chanced upon, many a people will achieve their goals in life and, then, poverty will be history.

Did I say ‘history’? Slip of the tongue. Even the holy book, the Bible, does not mince words on poverty. Our Lord and Saviour, even Jesus Christ, says in one of the verses that the poor shall always be around, even to the end of the times.

But, then, it is up to haves to come to the rescue of have-nots.

I digressed.

When the Tonse Alliance came to power, hopes were high that things would work for the better. After all, jobs, a million at that, were promised; universal subsidy of fertiliser was promised. We were told that mega farms would fall from the sky and, boom, Malawi would become a food basket of Southern Africa again. The mega farms would also translate into jobs, considering that people will be engaged by farm managers to provide services and products to advance the current administration’s dream.

However, much of the promises have not been fulfilled, probably because our leaders have been entangled in political and administrative shrubs.

And, from the look of things, things are going haywire every day.

Come to think of fuel; apart failing to tame citizens’ hopes, the Tonse Alliance administration has started struggling to keep the diesel, paraffin and petrol supply lines open.

Shortage of fuel will, surely, become another macabre souvenir of political naivety in this country.

Of late, National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) and Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority have been sending out mixed messages, probably as a public relations stunt meant to hoodwink us into believing that all is well.

The other time, one of the two firms attributed the problem of fuel scarcity in the capital, Lilongwe, to a concert one Nigerian artist organised in Lilongwe.

But, then, the problem persisted, only for Nocma to come out and say it was on top of things. Being on top of things turns out to mean being clueless.

It had to take President Lazarus Chakwera to spill the beans. On Wednesday, he admitted that the acute shortage of foreign exchange in the country is affecting fuel suppliers’ ability to import the same.

Chakwera’s admission came as long queues, which were last seen in April 2012 when development partners had thrown in the towel and the government was on its own, have re-emerged at fuel pumps, sending motorists in a panic-buying mode as they seek to have enough of the commodity.

“I know that the current shortage of fuel is adversely affecting manufacturing, businesses, work and domestic life and I want to assure you that we are seized of this matter to ensure that there is product in the service stations in the short term while we work on the long-term forex issues that are at the root of this problem.

“We have, therefore, already secured $28 million from local banks for this purpose and we are in pursuit of another $50 million facility for the same, on top of instructions the Reserve Bank [of Malawi] has received to prioritise fuel procurement in the allocation of any forex we secure,” the President indicated.

He further said, as of Wednesday noon, the country had over six million litres of fuel being brought in, adding that authorities had doubled the daily distribution of the product the country has in its reserves to ease the burden.

Whatever the case, the going is, surely, getting tough for the current administration. The earlier problems besetting the country are addressed, the better. This is not time for words; all Malawians want is action, action and more action.

Find someone else, other than Malawians, to feed your bluff meals.

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