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Undermining Malawi’s unrefined gold is our Achilles’ Heel

Headlines like “APM set for UN meet with ‘reduced’ entourage”, “Government to save billions by recalling diplomats”, “Goodall says we will be clapping hands next year” and “Govt to save billions through such and such a gimmick” are now so commonplace and meaningless that only the irredeemably dumb are taking them seriously.

Despite dismally failing to inspire hope, somebody, probably remunerated with our taxes, works 24/7 churning out this disinformation which the media faithfully ‘converts’ into news.

Newspapers being what they are relay the garbage as received with as catchy as possible a headline, to not only excite you Blue Orators but entice you to actually buy the paper – like you have been doing.

The exclusively online publishers go a step further. They sex up the same stories – with little regard to English grammar – until they are so unrecognisable that you begin thinking Malawi is actually a province of Bechuanaland.

Blue Orators, a few questions will show the propagandists that they are yet to make fools of all of us. Entry point is the most recent propaganda on the “trimmed” United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) entourage.

You may recall that last year hell broke loose over a larger-than-life entourage that accompanied President Peter Mutharika to the UNGA.

Government, first, denied sponsoring such a huge delegation, then changed tune, saying the extras had been funded by ‘donor agencies’ but it later turned out that some of the so-called ‘donor agencies’ were – in fact – parastatals, funded by taxpayers’ money.

To date, other than the village-long list of ‘tourists’ published in full by an onliner whose authenticity was never disputed, we are still in the dark as to how many people totalled the Malawi delegation and what their roles were.

And today, without coming out clean on how many extras were on the 2015 expedition, someone wants us to believe that the number this year is much less and we should be ‘clapping hands’.

What nonsense!

Was this propagandist not supposed to start with a base line, i.e., inform us that ‘from last year’s 200, this year we are sending 20’ and hence allow us to do the mathematics if indeed the entourage is ‘reduced’ or is still ‘bloated’?

Point is: if government says HE is taking a “reduced” entourage, it is saying that contrary to the futile arguments plus the presidential bad temper we suffered last year, the media was right that HE had taken – more or less – a whole village to the UN.

Esteemed Blue Orators, this, however, is not our agenda for this week. I will leave liars to their devices and focus on stuff that can uplift our fellow Malawians.

I want to offer solutions to some challenges hounding us so that, together, we can convert our weaknesses to strengths, and our threats into opportunities, and begin progressing.

Those who were with me here in the last weeks will agree that I have made a solid case that unless we all become our brother’s keepers, our gross domestic product (GDP) will continue sinking and that until a new planet is discovered with another nation as badly governed as ours, Malawi will continue carrying the universal trophy of disgrace.

I concluded last week’s discourse with a challenge to you and me; to change Malawi. So, get set, on your marks, and here we go!

According to statistics, Malawi is a young country. UNFPA says 33 percent of our total population is aged 10 to 24; making it the largest single block of our demographics.

Looking at this from the tax perspective, it means Malawi is sitting on a gold mine in these untapped taxpayers who, once empowered into economic engines, will pay the taxes with which – when we rid the country of corruption – we will build Malawi.

To explain this using daily life examples, consider a raw material like maize which, if processed, gives you a higher return on investment than when sold as is.

Examples of processed maize are pop corns, cornflakes and flour which, as you know, sell at better prices when compared to the very same maize which sells for a song when unprocessed. I may add that the processing alone creates more jobs.

Unprocessed tobacco, which our farmers sell at $2 per kg on a good day but a packet of which, weighing about 22 grams, sells at $7 is an even better example!

In the same vein, if you and I ‘process’ the very same undermined and unrefined gold that is Malawi’s youth (now abused to whip political opponents into line) into entrepreneurs, doctors and what have you; the ensuing benefit will outweigh the cost.

Why is this falling to you and me?

It is because in May 2014, we elected yet another bunch of leaders that just loves talking about investing in youth and that is it. They stop there.

To give you the complete perspective, check this: when I heard that investing in youth is actually Mutharika’s message at the UNGA, I wondered if all is well with him.

Hear this: back home, in a country with a GDP per capita of $226.50 (i.e. K163, 353) Chancellor Mutharika raises university fees to K350, 000 ($485) – which is more than double the average earned in a year – and after thus foiling the chances of the youth to develop into citizens that can self-fend and pay more taxes. He then flies to New York in a chartered jet and, somehow, finds it in him to preach to countries far ahead of us that have done or are at it, when back home he is doing everything to keep the youth uneducated!

Blue Orators, is our president alright upstairs?

Regardless of his motives for wanting to groom uneducated goons, we should not follow his bad example.

Having made our bed in May 2014, we must now learn to lay on it without whining. What we must do is to begin making a difference by, among other things, joining initiatives mushrooming among our midst, geared to educate and uplift the youth.

An excellent example is Maphunziro265, a scholarship support network for youths in Malawi. Take time and browse their website (http:/ /www. to learn how youths are helping each other. You will be inspired.

If you are suspicious of middlemen, just ‘adopt’ a boy or girl in your village or community, see them through primary and secondary school and then to the best of your ability, point them towards a profession.

I will not mention names here but I do know of a lady MP who – long before thinking of joining frontline politics – mentored and supported her garden boy until he graduated as a doctor. Today, he saves lives.

You too may know others

These are the people we must emulate and slowly but, surely, we will start bridging the gap between the poor and the rich, increase the tax base and begin talking about economic independence.

With respect to the good old Professor, his penchant for cheap propaganda and love of playing to the gallery as he is doing in New York, let us leave cheap skates to their own.

Fact is: he is taking us nowhere and the truth remains that the very same youths he is determined to undermine are the stones that you and I should groom into the cornerstones of the country we love.

Presidents, with or without visions, will come and go but Malawi, our Malawi, will remain and it is all we have. Let us lift Malawi.

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