I always muse about how far Malawi would have developed and innovated if we were to have that integral sense of ownership and responsibility towards our country and every inch within it.
The country has had some good natural resources. Most of which can boost the country’s tourism industry as well as economic activities. Some do, but not to the optimal extent that can work wonders for the country. For one, the Shire River, what a resource but is the country utilizing it as it should? Not from what most can see.
Aside from the natural resources we have other monuments, buildings and sites that were developed years back but are now dilapidating with no critical maintenance done over the years.
Most of our towns and cities are wearing the same faces they were wearing two or three decades ago. While others have had newer and modern facilities over the years but they come against the backdrop of old and dilapidated structures that swallow the beauty of the new.
Are our museum still go to site for tourists? Students? Malawians in general? Yes? No?
We have houses that were built on optimal land and in optimal locations by Malawi Housing Corporation decades ago that have not undergone any refurbishment to balance with the current modern requirements.
The electric wiring cannot support modern equipment, the plumbing system is archaic, the finishing does not meet basic modern standards among others and not much is being done while the houses dilapidate. Value addition would have brought more revenue and also offer citizens decent accommodation that meets ‘basic’ modern standards.
What about health care, citizens still struggle with health care because our hospitals are not innovating and developing to match the level of innovation around the globe. Our systems and equipment are still old and unfortunately the critical ones are only found at one or two hospitals in the country. And at times people fail to access medical care still because they might find the machine but the necessary accessories and medications to support a procedure or test or evaluation are not there. People’s lives are constantly at risk unnecessarily.
Sense of responsibility
I have never been a fan of pointing fingers of blame at the government when it comes to development issues, as much the government of every country has a role to play; so do the citizens. Each one of us has a role to play.
Our lacking basic sense of responsibility is seen in our communities from grassroots. It is a mentality that needs a complete overhaul and only when we overhaul and take ourselves into account will be able to stand at the top of a mountain and hold ANY government to account.
How many times do we hear property owners lament about tenants not taking care of their properties? How many times do we see people litter in town? How many times do we see people waste resources or food everytime they find themselves in a position of deserved or chanced-upon abundance? How many times do we see reckless and selfish drivers on our roads? How many times do we see the haves treat the have nots like less of humans? How many times do we see people in companies and institutions push their own agendas instead of the greater good?
I always find it very ironic when people lament about plunder in the government and how heartless and selfish the plunderers are yet when they go to an event they take portions enough for five people for themselves; they want their children to get special undeserved treatment at school, when in a position of influence, they take the chunks for themselves and the crumbs for the underprivileged; essentially is it the same principle but we put on blinders and hold out our fingers pointing at others.
With these kinds of attitudes who do we reckon will ensure when they get into positions of power and authority in communities and country the greater good is achieved? Children grow up in societies and communities observing ‘the traditions’ mentioned above and they mature into adults who think these traditions are the only way to live. They even grow to defend those traditions.
We need to stop saying it’s tradition when we do it and when our folk do it then turn around and expect others to develop the country.
I rest my case