There was a time former president, Bingu wa Mutharika, decided to replace the rising sun on our national flag with an ugly imitation of the full sun on the illusion that Malawi was finally developed.
That move was meant to fool Malawians that we are no longer a rising economy, but a risen one. Development is a lie that political leaders in this country have rehearsed over time and they pelt it willy-nilly to disparate audiences who do not even have food to fill their stomachs.
In the end, political rhetoric in Malawi has become synonymous with lying to the electorate, and there is very little substance to what politicians promise.
When the Tonse alliance came into power, they promised a lot of radical changes to what was being done by the Democratic Progressive Party. President Lazarus Chakwera (then the leader of the opposition) never minced words when he had to tell his predecessor the truth. By that time, Mutharika was going to town lying to Malawians that he would develop this country to the level of Singapore.
This was a time when his cronies infested state departments with their unqualified friends and relatives who run this country down. Government resources were being abused, as seen in the multiple corruption accusations being revealed today, and yet the talk was developing.
Today, Chakwera is on the throne and he has continued from where Mutharika left off. The talk is still developing but the situation on the ground is not reflecting what is being said. In the first place, the promise of a million jobs to the unemployed youth of this country is way far from being achieved and yet we were once told that the same has been delivered.
It is absurd for our leaders to tell us this when we can see that thousands of qualified teachers, nurses, doctors, and vocational workers are unemployed years after completing their studies. The job market is yet to be opened and the government is not doing enough to ensure that.
If the government was serious about creating millions of jobs, the first point would have been to create a conducive environment for investment. As we speak, this country has no electricity despite having the capacity to generate enough electricity. We mostly live in blackouts for days and yet when the politicians wear their expensive suits, they lie to us that they are working on attracting foreign investors to open factories here. What factory operates on charcoal? The same goes with the lie politicians have been telling the youth – do not wait for formal employment, create jobs and start businesses.
The truth is that the economic environment in this country does not support small businesses, especially for young people who have no money and the skills to manoeuvre. Talk is cheap and sweet, but reality tells us otherwise.
If we are to be true to ourselves, we will have to accept that this country is not rising or developing in any way. We are rather going backwards. 28 years since the dawn of multiparty democracy, successive regimes that destroyed the little that we would have built own to reach even greater heights.
There was a time when we had electricity in this country. There were locally run industries which produced various goods and employed several people. We had a functioning economy, transport system, security, and even a reliable justice system. Today, we have lost all that and those we could have trusted have turned into wild animals, teeming with greed. Since 1994, this country has been falling into a deep abyss of hopelessness as politicians plunder and lie.
What we must realise is that talking about development is not development. The ruling elite can hire as many buffoons as possible to spread lies about how everything is going in the right direction, but this will not change the fact that this country is bleeding.
We are where we are today because we have lost track of our ethical compass, and we cannot even tell the truth. Our understanding of politics is very distorted and misleading, and that is why we are being misled. Malawi is stuck in a rut of political lies and cheap propaganda at the expense of meaningful progress. And by the look of things, we will be here for a very long time.