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The Twister: Economic turbulence in the Year of the Monkey

What an interesting coincidence! We have just jumped from the Year of the Sheep into the Year of the Monkey. According to Chinese Zodiac, 2015 was the Year of the Sheep.

The sheep as an animal needs no introduction at all as it is reputed for calmness and gentleness. Looking at the behaviour of Malawians in 2015, one would agree with the Chinese that 2015 was indeed the year of the sheep.

Despite all the hardships endured during the year, Malawians were tender, polite, filial, and kind-hearted. Much as the strengths of sheep include gentleness, softness, considerate, attractiveness, and being persistence, we should also not pay a blind eye to the weakness of being a nation of sheep. Indecisiveness, timidity, pessimism and acting as weaklings were the downside of our behaving like sheep.

Courtesy of acting like sheep in the Year of the Sheep, as timid Malawians we witnessed the sale of Malawi Savings Bank whose proceeds are fast losing value due to the indecisiveness of our bureaucrats. As sheep in the year 2015, we timidly accepted to be treated like slaves by queuing for days at Road Traffic Directorate offices waiting for services. Like all what sheep does, all we could do was simply to bleat and murmur.

The same can be said of Access to Information legislation and all sorts of mediocrities. With our timidity, we could not stand up and act tough to champion radical changes. So, 2015 was indeed the year and most of us behaved like sheep.

We are now in 2016, which the Chinese brand the Year of the Monkey. The monkey possesses such character traits as curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Monkeys who take pride in playing various games are also known as masters of practical jokes.

2016 is not only the year of the monkey for those who believe in the Chinese zodiac but also for Malawi. With the government still failing to seal all the loopholes in the Public Finance Management System and

Malawi losing K5 billion worth of drugs due to theft, monkeys in the public service sector will continue to be in the limelight for their mischievousness and theft. The cunning monkeys will continue to swing from one tree to another in search of every available opportunity to plunder government money.

Our leaders have already started engaging in all sorts of he monkey tricks. The monkey trick on Access to Information Bill is just one good example where government officials have been jumping from one stand to another.

At the time the Kwacha continues losing its value and food prices are going up everyday, another monkey lie being told is that government is busy taming the inflation.

Malawians are being hoodwinked into believing that all will be well this year. Listen to the usual rhetoric.

“We enter 2016 with the firm belief that investment is the new road for Malawi’s economy. In the past year, we have secured investors across the board. We also focused on reforming policies and realigning them towards attracting more investments. Some of the investors have begun bringing their money to Malawi. We anticipate most of the investors to continue to bring their money into our investment haven in the New Year 2016.”

“We now anticipate more jobs to be created, more businesses to be created, more taxes to be paid, a more stable kwacha, and Malawi moving more towards becoming a producing and exporting nation. And this new year, we will continue creatinga favourable environment for private sector investments and development,” that was President Peter Mutharika delivering his New Year message. If you are a sheep you can believe it. But mind you this is the year of the monkey and don’t believe everything.

In the year of the mischievous monkeys it is better to ask yourself. Can Malawi’s prohibitive interest rate attract foreign investment? Does Malawi’s unstable currency create conducive environment for doing business? Can our situation of darkness all day, every day due to erratic power supply attract investment? Does our skyrocketing inflation rate inspire confidence in investors?

The lies that authorities are yapping about should not surprise anyone. Such empty rhetoric should be expected during this year of the monkey.

In the year of the monkey, the great losers will the ones who will be expecting miracles from the monkeys in authority. The monkeys in authority are busy filling their bellies and hence survival of the fittest is the name of the game.

Disappointed will be those who instead of being innovative and working hard will be wasting their time blaming those in power on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsup, expecting them to perform miracles. Mind you, monkeys have nothing to do with the scathing posts on social media as they are busy plundering and sleeping in expensive five star hotels during foreign trips.

This is indeed the year of the monkey. Expect mischievous lies of economic stability when millions are suffering. In the year of the monkey, no one will talk about economic recovery plan or any roadmap that will be used to propel Malawi to prosperity.

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