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Standards to the dogs

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Puludzu

Just like Malawi is going to the dogs, so are standards in the construction sector which have exposed how ours might really not be a serious State to worry much about.

Before I delve deeper into the gist of this piece—which is the price we are paying for ignoring laid-down standards and procedures in the construction sector, especially regarding roads— let me show you that since 1994, Malawi has never been a serious country in terms of anything about nations.

Well, the truth is that for the past 29 years, we have been electing wrong people to assume the country’s top leadership.

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They have all shown little interest to drive Malawi out of its grinding poverty; hence, we have disgracefully retained the tag of being one of the world’s poorest countries.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand how the average poor Malawian survives to the next day, given the horrible conditions of life they live in.

Many countries fail to develop because of conflicts that plague them; any progress is dampened by fighting and resources fail to do their job of transforming people’s lives.

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For Malawi, a country that has never experienced any serious armed conflict since its creation, it is shameful that we still cannot fund our national budget and are always at the mercy of donors to remain on our feet.

By the way, donors never go to any country to develop it; they simply help in sustaining citizens’ lives by filling some gaps which their government has left.

Malawi will only develop if its leaders choose to do things differently.

They must put aside their personal, political and economic interests and take out anything that is stalling development.

What has happened with our minerals is very pathetic. Countries that we were together with in that “stupid federation”, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have significantly benefitted from their mineral deposits.

Here, we keep on having useless conferences about how to revamp our mining sector. We continue to spend money on senseless meetings when we should have learnt significant lessons from previous deals and move forward to cleanse the sector.

Now, we even have a president who is doing everything which is an antithesis of what he promised ahead of the June 23, 2020 presidential election.

In fact, from the very beginning, it was clear that we had missed it again.

President Lazarus Chakwera’s bloated Cabinet, which was fraught with appeasement hues, sent a message that we had elected someone who was not different from his predecessors—perhaps even worse.

The moment you have a leader who is much interested in appeasing their cronies and relatives, you are doomed. It is another wasted election.

While mollifying one’s allies is not so bad a political thing, it is the extent to which a leader does that, and retains it, that becomes important.

Today, we have a government filled with incompetent officers who chanced upon finding themselves in those crucial positions because of political or familial affiliations.

That is why we have all these troubles we see.

Standards went to the dogs a long time ago and those who are supposed to bring them back are accomplices; so they just watch, hoping some huge brush from the skies will paint the blots out.

Immediately after Chakwera had been sworn in as Malawi’s president, there was this aura of optimism among Malawians that finally a saviour had been put in charge.

It was just a few months into his leadership that objective voters might have realised they had made another mistake.

It has been blunder after blunder—with a clear show of conceit in some cases, where the loud cries of Malawians have been treated as trivial.

By the way, do you know that there are officers in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) whom you might have even forgotten are still in the country?

There are senior civil servants at OPC who are doing literally nothing but getting all their benefits.

Now, if this is the case in Chakwera’s own office, do you expect good standards to be sincerely enforced elsewhere in the public service?

How I wish Chakwera meant it when he said he was the leader Malawians had been waiting for. How I wish he was like the late John Pombe Magufuli, who never smiled at folly and unprofessionalism.

Well, I wandered away. This entry was about standards in the construction sector.

Once again, we are seeing roads and several public structures being damaged by storms and heavy rains.

In most cases, it is clear that standards were not followed in constructing the structures. In fact, there are bridges and roads that developed defects even before the rains began falling.

Malawi needs a serious reboot for things to start working again.

It has to start with the top leadership. Unfortunately, the President is clearly indifferent to doing that.

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