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Malawi in need of farsighted headship

With Tsibweni Chalo:

Mdzukulu, as the nation approaches the 2018 exit, it would be interesting to explore the key question of whether the reality on the ground reflects a nation that is more than half a century old.

It would be important to define the country’s adulthood.

Apparently, with an anticipated increase in wisdom, at 54, Malawi should be able to take stock of its life, solve its problems and improve its cognitive performance.

Has the country achieved anything as a nation in 54 years of independence? Perhaps, yes.

Mdzukulu, politically, Malawi is where we need to be in the process towards gaining competence in living a democratic status but the colossal economic and social letdowns dwarf the accomplishments.

Economically and socially, Malawi is standing exactly where it was 25 years ago – before attaining multiparty democracy, and there are telling signs the country will stagnate economically in probably another 100 years from now.

Recall Mdzukulu that soon after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989, a wind of pluralism blew across Africa and with it, agitations for political systems’ change.

Thus, with the help of some Western donors, from 1990, ordinary Africans in many states managed to establish multiparty democracy though, sadly, with mostly mediocre leadership.

In Malawi, the political system shift brought a wave of alienated leaders: Bakili Muluzi, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda(JB) and the incumbent President Peter Mutharika with their coterie of sycophants.

Mdzukulu, the country ranks among the poorest in the world despite being a recipient of aid for more than half a century.

This is not to say poverty and inequality can be easily defeated nor that all politicians are guilty of incompetence or fiscal irresponsibility but that little attempt has been made to improve service delivery, especially by these post-Kamuzu Banda leaders because they and their cronies too have no vision for the country.

Mdzukulu, great leaders desire only to serve, not to lead, observes Myles Munroe, a best-selling author and a widely acknowledged expert in leadership matters.

But because of the passion, Munroe adds, focus, relentlessness, tirelessness, consistency and the commitment they display in the selling, promotion, pursuit and elaboration of their vision, they inspire and motivate a trusted following that embraces and shares their vision and eventually chooses them to lead the cause despite their reticence.

Sadly, these qualities and traits have not only been non-existent in post-Kamuzu Banda pseudo-leaders but never been cultivated or aggressively encouraged.

Thus, since 1993, the country in Muluzi, Bingu, JB and Mutharika has had not only a visionless democracy but a heartless ‘theft-o-cracy’.

To fortify their cult status, generated from one’s ego, a slow-on-the-uptake populace and fraudulent public institutions, the three leaders have exercised propaganda that is anathema to visionary leadership.

Mdzukulu, in 1 Samuel 13:14, the Scripture reads: “The Lord has sought out a man [/ woman] after His own heart and appointed him [/her] ruler of his [/her] people.”

Now, picture the heart of the Lord.

It must ooze with positive attributes: justice, fairness, selflessness, impartiality, incorruptibility, consideration, humility and the ability to see things as they should be (vision or as some call it a preferred future) and undoubtedly not an iota of greed, self-interest and hindsight.

Mdzukulu, that is the standard set out by the Scripture for an acceptable ruler’s heart.

But alas! How many times have one heard the country’s ruling parties’ claim that their leaders were God’s providence or God-appointed but without this important caveat?

All is not lost.

Malawi can be emancipated from the jaws of socio-economic stagnation. In a democratic State such as Malawi, the effective participation of the general citizenry is key in rowing the development boat.

Various stakeholders should again aim to arm the citizenry with relevant clues, signs and facts that would help them to keep visionless and voracious leaderships away from public offices.

That way, Mdzukulu, Malawi should be able to live its adulthood. Happy New Year!

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