It is no longer a secret that the patience of some Malawians with the current administration is slowly wearing thin; there were, indeed, a lot of promises that were made in the run up to the May 2019 General Elections that, sadly, are taking long to be fulfilled. There were expectations of instant change, as preached during the Tonse Alliance campaign, that included slashing prices of commodities such as fuel by almost 50 percent, passport fee and creation of one million jobs.
How and where the administration has lost the plot we will never know but it is not too late for government to get things back on track. The Tonse Alliance-led administration ought to remember that once you lose the confidence and trust of Malawians then that is the end for you. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a classic example. In fact, a video has been making rounds on social media showing a ‘repentant’ DPP legislator pleading with the government side to avoid making the very mistakes they made during their time. But it appears once politicians have a taste of power they get too intoxicated to pay attention.
I hope it is not too late with the Tonse-Alliance-led government. All this government needs is to listen to the wise counsel, that is coming in abundant supply from the public, to navigate the ship well. Take, for instance, this needless ‘war’ with trade unions. Now history has it that such unions have always been known to wield huge political influence and it would be foolhardy for Capital Hill to try and wage a battle against them. Even the Tonse Alliance itself realises how crucial people power is, evidenced by the million-man marches that were staged prior to elections and, in a way, helped pave the way for President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima to muster courage and wage a legal battle.
But I strongly believe it has not gotten to that yet. All the current administration needs to do is avoid trekking the very path of the predecessors whom they criticised left, right and centre. Nepotism, selective justice and procrastination should immediately be dealt away with if, at all, people are to continue seeing this government in a positive light. Some of the schoolboy mistakes being made are, quite frankly, not necessary.
Be that as it may, this does not mean Malawians would throw caution to the wind and, like Israelites, contemplate about life in Egypt (I hope you catch my drift). I am pretty certain that, after we did away with the previous administration, which fell short of satisfying the wishes of Malawians, we would not make that mistake again in the next election of giving them the reins of power. We must remember that we have one Malawi and if those in authority fail, then each and every one of us equally fails.
What, for example, is so difficult for Chakwera to shuffle the cards and give Malawians a new Cabinet? Even if it simply meant playing around with the very same names, then by all means he needed to get to it as promised. We heard on a podium sometime back the President tasking the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) Board to install leadership at the fuel company but, to this date, I do not think that particular errand was fulfilled. Need I cite the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) saga? I will leave it to you, dear reader, to cite more examples.
Certainly, the President and his lieutenants need to go back to the drawing board and see where they are getting it wrong as per the promises they made to Malawians before assuming office.
It does not mean that those offering alternative views do not wish the government well. In fact, that is far from it; they just do not want to see the current administration making the same mistakes as its predecessor…remember the case in the past where some ‘bad laws’ were being enacted by previous regimes up until the public intervened and they were subsequently reversed? We do not want things to get to that point because we all know that the Tonse-led administration is a listening one.
You stand to lose nothing by doing just and the government must therefore not allow anyone or anything to distract it from serving the general good and indeed all Malawians, particularly those who rose up early on that June 23 day last year and voted for Chakwera and, with it, giving a seal of approval to the Tonse Alliance to form government.
Over and above that, there is a lot of goodwill for the government and it would be sad to put it to waste. One way to avoid that is to take counsel of the wise.
Stephen Dakalira is a seasoned Journalist who works as Times Group’s Online and Digital Executive Editor. He is also the Assistant Editor of The Sunday Times Newspaper, and author of Full Circle column which appears in Malawi News; all of these under the Times Group stable.
He has previously worked in key positions for some of Malawi’s key media institutions such as Malawi News Agency, Capital FM Radio and Star Radio (Now Timveni Radio).