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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Malawi needs operative leadership

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Fifteen people were confirmed dead on Saturday in two separate road accidents in Blantyre and Chiradzulu.

The first accident, which killed seven people including a driver, happened at a place called Six Miles along Robert Mugabe Highway in Chiradzulu.

Another accident involving an Isuzu lorry carrying 40 passengers happened at Namikasi Secondary School, which is along the M1 Road, leaving eight people dead.

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There are other passengers in the accidents who escaped with multiple injuries.

The two accidents happened barely a week after another accident killed eight people in Chikwawa.

We join President Peter Mutharika and First Lady Gertrude Mutharika and all Malawians in expressing our condolences to the bereaved families over and above wishing those injured a quick recovery.

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And the country’s script on accidents does not read well.

It shows ours is but a nation in crisis; a nation which seriously needs leadership.

Operative leadership, of course, is a prized resource for any country embarking on a journey to develop itself, second only to a people with an entrenched culture of valuing solutions with broader and shared long-term considerations and, above all, an unwavering sense of patriotic duty to their country.

Recall, the country in June this year witnessed accidents that occurred at Rivirivi Bridge in Ntcheu which claimed 10 lives and another along Magalasi- Chirimba Road which had four fatalities.

To sum up, it was reported 74 people died in road accidents in June.

The accidents, characteristically, forced authorities to set aside a presidential special committee to investigate major causes.

Preliminary findings of the committee attributed the increase in traffic fatalities on Malawi’s roads to human factors.

The committee said the factors range from negligence, aggression and sheer inconsideration and said they are not limited to motorists alone.

In fact, more technocrats and the government have had acres of space to mumble jargons. Some have bothered the nation with statistics. Others have held workshops whose resolutions only their computer rams remember.

The Office of the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services formulated bylaws which led to, among other things, a protracted wrangle with minibus operators.

But the verdict is clear. The country has failed to reduce road accidents.

The country’s problem is the obvious insensitivity to the short-termism of most of our decisions — at all levels of the organs of the State, at all levels of government, in all their operations and in all exercise of all public power by all public functionaries — that give minuscule weight to the broader and shared long-term considerations.

The crisis that the country faces is that of leadership.

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