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Malawi needs active citizenry

Mdzukulu, Malawi today has clocked 53 years of independence and the key question is whether the reality on the ground reflects a nation that is more half a century old.

Fifty-three years is more than enough time for one to do a fair assessment of the country’s political systems’ performance.

In fact, mdzukulu, studies in human psychology show that at around 50, there are some physical changes in an individual that result in decrease in some hormones, eventually, among others, leading into an increase in wisdom.

Analogically, Malawi therefore should now be in a better position to analyse that factors that are affecting its life, solve its problems and improve its cognitive performance.

Has the country achieved anything as a nation in 53 years of independence?

Perhaps yes.

Mdzukulu, the country made tremendous gains in the first three decades under the leadership of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

The government was delivering public services effectively. There was economic development all over the country. There was no inefficiency, theft of drugs and public funds or corruption in government.

In a democracy, politically, Malawi is where we need to be in the process towards gaining competence in living a democratic status.

Again, mdzukulu, Malawi has been independent for 53 years and that is something to be grateful for. The country has had four presidents since independence. Interesting to note is that so far, there has been bloodless exchanging of power. The last three decades or more have shown the dangers and devastating effects of ethnic competition and civil wars that have rocked some parts of Africa and underscore the importance of celebrating the peace Malawi has had.

Several stakeholders such as civil society, members of the academia, members of the clergy, the media, etc, furthermore, to some extent can question any leader that wants to assume the mammoth’s proportion of his or her power.

Considering that it took ages for even the world’s greatest democracies to live pluralistic life capably, the somewhat amount of freedom of speech is also a feat to boast about.

But the colossal economic and social letdowns dwarf the accomplishments: the worst enemy of the country being corruption.

Let me make the case for corruption mdzukulu — the alleged Bakili Muluzi’s K1.7 billion thievery (every gift a sitting president receives from wherever and whomever is a gift for the people they serve), the alleged Bingu wa Mutharika’s unaccounted for K61 billion, the alleged Joyce Banda administration’s K24 billion plus Capital Hill thievery (christened Cashgate) and, yes, the alleged Democratic Progressive Party first time in power’s K236 billion – as public enemy number one and nailing it down for punishment using the harshest forfeiture clauses on the books and handing down a stiff sentence.

Public resources, mdzukulu, are wrung out from our fiscally overburdened citizenry (through taxes, rates, duties, levies or other impositions) for the purpose of meeting expenditures charged under our Republican Constitution necessary to carry on the core services of the government on which citizens rely consistent with and given the full expression by sections 173(1) and 174 of our Republican Constitution.

But all is not lost mdzukulu, 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 propelling development. All Malawians, therefore, should assume responsibility of pushing this country forward in all aspects including the area of governance.

Various stakeholders should again aim to arm the citizenry with relevant clues, signs and facts that would help them to keep lifeless and hugely predatory leadership away from public offices. That way, Malawi should be able to live its adulthood.

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