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Remove predatory leadership

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What President Peter Mutharika said Thursday, during the launch of the National Transport Master Plan, that he will ban all contractors who delay projects, do substandard works or overprice from undertaking government projects is something worth celebrating.

Good transport system is vital if Malawi is to register meaningful development.

Roads, for example, are the arteries through which the economy pulses.

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By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school and the sick to hospitals, among others, roads are vital to any development agenda and this is possible with good roads not bad roads.

Unfortunately, Malawi is among 15 African countries with poorly developed roads according to World Economic Forum: Global Competiveness Report 2017

So Mutharika’s word of hope has come at the right time when the government really ought to “improve the transport sector in the country by spurring projects in the air transport, marine, urban transportation and rail subsectors”.

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But Mutharika could add to his sermon.

For Malawi to achieve its much desired vision, it is high time the country’s leadership rebranded and exorcised itself of predatory leadership and retrogressive political culture of intolerance.

It is not only contractors who require a whipping for the country to move forward. Government too plays a crucial role in creating an environment in which the said contractors can abide by standards.

Predatory leadership, for example, prevalent in the multiparty era, erodes the country’s central public administration, which ends up being used for its own aggrandisement.

People or contractors are mostly recruited either because they come from the same district as the political leaders or are related to the politicians or are assumed to belong to the same party as the ruling elite or are believed to toe the ruling party’s line of thinking.

Such obliteration of meritocracy has stimulated seeking know-who instead of know-how in all sectors of development.

In other words, there is too much pursuit for establishing networks and relationships in rendering public services, which have very little bearing on improving professionalism and the performance of an individual.

So, the future of this country’s transport sector does not only lie in the contactors’ hands. It also heavily rests on the removal of predatory leadership tumour from our political landscape.

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