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The folly in praise singing

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One of the reasons we are more than a hundred years behind the First World in terms of development is because most of us here don’t know what we are doing.

We have a huge chunk of ordinary Malawians who do not understand the responsibilities of citizenship and then we have another small group of Malawians in suits who deliberately look away from their responsibilities for personal benefits.

When these two ships collide, the country sinks to the lowest bottom in the sea of misery.

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One of the prime signs of an incompetent citizenry is their love for singing praises for people who have not done anything worth praising.

Since the dawn of self-rule, dancing to the tunes of politicians and hailing them for the nothing they do has been inculcated in our culture to the point that the habit has become toxic and it suffocates higher ends.

Lately, two groups of praise singers we should watch out for have emerged and they are taking this art to another level. One is the National Planning Commission (NPC), and alongside them are blind loyalists of politicians and political parties who will do anything for their masters despite the facts on the ground.

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To begin with, NPC seems to have forgotten its principle mandate of steering the national development agenda towards 2063.

For reasons best known to them, NPC has reduced itself to some pathetic puppet that seeks the approval and crooked smiles of political figures in the country. This is evident in the many pointless certificates they have been awarding to ruling and opposing politicians alike.

It is a pity to watch a whole commission set up for greater purposes become a diploma mill churning out certificates of nothing – leading the praise singing and dancing before questionable politicians.

We are in this socio-economic mess today because the politicians we have entrusted with governance since independence have failed to do their work.

We are talking about Malawi 2063 because we failed with Vision 2020 that should have seen us way up there. In that case, it is dark humour to see a commission put in place to steer us away from failure recognising the “achievements” of those who failed to get us where the commission is supposed to get us.

It is like hiring a teacher who sings praises for teachers who failed all students in the previous examination. From what they have been doing, all the signs are there that this commission will likely fail for its involvement with politicians and love for trivia.

Had we still lived in the dark ages, the second group of praise singers needed to be flogged and locked up in some dungeon in order to ignite some sense in them.

These are political party diehards who defend every mediocrity for as long as it involves their political masters. Among these are ordinary citizens at different levels of ignorance, members of Parliament, and others who have been given soft seats in the State hierarchy for their loyalty.

We have had such people through successive governments and they have proven to be nothing but a distraction to the real needs in the country.

Case in point, over the past few weeks, praise singers for Atupele Muluzi and Vice-President Saulos Chilima have come out to protect their leaders against the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB).

In the first event, supporters of Muluzi almost blocked him from being questioned by ACB because they saw his summoning as political persecution.

As of a few days ago, Chilima’s praise dancers have also spoken vehemently against his arrest – dubbing it political. Whether Muluzi or Chilima have cases to answer is for the courts to decide, but we should not have praise singers blocking the way to justice when such justice will only serve the ordinary man in the end.

At the end of the day, one realises that we are our own enemies. Malawi will never see the light of day in development for as long as its own citizens and those responsible for progress set up roadblocks to the greater good.

The fight against corruption, for example, is what can redeem us from our suffering, but when any attempt at fighting corruption faces resistance, we are going nowhere.

On the other hand, State institutions NPC should not waste time dressing up for politicians when they have generations to serve. Praise singing will not get us anywhere.

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