Malawi has become a big irony, a country so much difficult to understand. Over 50 years after independence we now have more educated people, many professors in agriculture, yet year in year out we face perennial hunger. Over 50 years after independence we have many people with professorial accolades in fishing yet our local men are still fishing using hooks and nets, a method long practised even before the birth of Jesus Christ. We are a country with distinguished economists earning praises in foreign lands yet overseeing the poorest economy on earth.
Malawi is more of less becoming a tragedy in the sense that we are having more people below the poverty line now that even at the time of independence. Our people are becoming less and less optimistic of a brighter future than possibly those who lived and fought for freedom with John Chilembwe. At least they had the optimism that they would have a better Nyasaland and a better Malawi. For the majority of our people today the future looks bleak.
The question is, did we train our best human resources all just to earn doctorate degrees in engineering out year in year, our tarmac roads are being cut with rain water and we are having eyesore infrastructure in the country? The question is, is the media meant to be vehicles of carrying horrendous stories and give no eye to developmental stories? The question is, until when shall we be trekking in the dark valleys of underdevelopment than lifting ourselves to the high grounds of development?
We have cultured a very bad appetite of writing wonderful papers, presenting highly decorated theses and defending them, heaping policy documents in shelves that eventually become their dust bins. We are just a people good on paper with little application of what we document. How many workshops do we attend? How many masterclasses? How many conferences in and outside of the country? How many study tours do we undertake yet our economy keeps plummeting, our companies keep on falling, our social services keep on leaving a lot to be desired? Even companies which are falling massively will shock you to know that they point to having strategic plans yet they achieve none as per the strategic plans. It just becomes a document worth pointing at but not following.
So many researches are being carried out in agriculture all yielding results that could boost food security in the country. Unfortunately, results of the researches only end in agriculture symposiums where educated agriculturalists present their papers. All we have are symposia of the converted preaching to the converted. Possibly all the papers are meant for is referencing by other future researchers. There is no umbilical cord linking those research papers to the common man who happens to be the real farmer. As long as we live in such a dimension, Malawi will certainly never attain food security.
How many studies have been conducted pertaining to the viability of farming fish in fish farms? Certainly a lot. What is the reality on the ground? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Year in year out we all hear the very same stories of fish farming with so many donor-funded p r o j e c t s championing them yet lacking the link to the very actual farmer who has to adopt the concept. It is not amazing that most donor-funded projects in the country do not keep on running, the moment the donors go. It is all because they lack interface with the common man meant to run and benefit from them. The ideas are curved in the taste and ideology of the donor and not the common man.
Politically we even keep on changing governments. The tragedy is that any government in power eventually loses touch with the needs of the people and starts serving the interests of its bigwigs. It seems more or less that with every election we choose hyenas to take care of goats. In each government the issues dogging Malawi remain the same — rampant corruption, abuse of power, abuse of resources, favouritism, nepotism, you name it.
Malawi is yet to have a government run by politicians united in serving their motherland. It is not amazing that after over 50 years as an independent, the country is more divided on regional lines than ever before. The voting pattern of the year 2014 elections is a manifestation that something bad is developing greatly, we are getting more regionalistic than ever before such that in the years to come people are likely to follow leaders on the basis of their ethnicity. We will be following the messenger and not the message. This is a recipe for disaster in future.
We need to change our thinking. Our moral values have to upgrade to a level whereby we will hate corruption, fraud and abuse of resources, where we will feel it being our duty to curb corruption than to condone it through silence. Sometimes we only talk ill of corruption because we do not have the opportunity to be among the corrupt. We have the tendency to canonize thieves and demonise saints.
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