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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Optimism is not enough for Malawi

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To those not very familiar with Malawi, the State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Peter Mutharika Friday is full of hope and sounds like a promise aimed at changing this country’s fortunes.

As has been the case with all his predecessors, Mutharika attempted to give us hope on economic growth, infrastructure development and food security apart from urging us to be a hard-working people.

Not only that. Mutharika also gave the same tired excuses of drought and other natural disasters as well as the persistent blackouts as elements that have dogged this country’s progress. He might be right and wrong at the same time.

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But apart from the list of familiar excuses for this country’s arrested development, the most serious one is corruption in higher places. Again, just like the rest of Malawian leaders before him, Mutharika boasted of the purported corruption fight which has seen 200 cases of corruption being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

The reality that all Malawians know is that the battle against corruption stops on the lips. Malawi is going through one of the most corrupt periods and Mutharika is not telling the truth by saying we are winning the fight against corruption or that his government is doing all it can to stop the rot. In fact, if at all there is a fight against corruption, then it is selective whereby those in higher places are protected. As the donors have rightly put it, there has to be action on the Sona, we believe the first action must be to arrest corruption from the head.

Every Malawian wants to live in a better country with good infrastructure; a perfect economic environment where there is food security and the youth are employed; and there is everything that one can dream of. But Malawians have been robbed of such a country by corruption.

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So, what we are saying is Malawians are tired of sweet-sounding Sona’s and they want development which they can point at. The only way to make Malawians live a better life is to match words with action and that must start as soon as yesterday.

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