Wave of deceptions
From almost every international tour he has undertaken after assuming the country’s topmost seat, President Lazarus Chakwera has returned home with promises of investments flowing into Malawi.
Sometimes to justify his forex-draining sprees, Chakwera has told Malawians the returns from such excursions would significantly dwarf the expenditures.
But there is nothing on the ground, and there probably will never be anything worthwhile from those trips during his time as the country’s leader.
He has talked about clinching deals in the energy, agriculture and transport sectors, but we remain as pathetic in these areas as we were ten years ago.
In fact, the situation is getting worse.
We are grappling with one of the worst energy crises in the country’s history because improving the sector, the driver of any country’s economy, does not seem to be our priority.
That is why we are still generating less than 500 megawatts of electricity against a population of 20 million people.
We talk much and do very little.
There once were targets of 2024 for Malawi to reach at least 1,000 megawatts of electricity. In our pathetic situation, such generation would be a great leap; despite that, in reality, it is still too little to reach the majority of those who need electricity.
Still, when Chakwera and other senior government officials such as Cabinet ministers pronounce that investors are coming to Malawi to help us address some of our perennial problems, it is good news.
However, we have realised that all their assertions are sheer waves of deceptions going to a people the leaders have grown to believe seldom question lies and half-truths.
But do we even really believe investors would be willing to take their money into a country struggling with security challenges and where corruption is endemic?
Investors want their money and assets to be protected. They want their lives to be safe and secure. So, until we address issues of insecurity in earnest, we will continue talking about investors coming to Malawi when no such a thing is going to happen.
We simply have to accept tenets of international politics and diplomacy, where when our leaders take our forex to other countries, leaders of such countries will organise some make-believe side meetings where some fake deals are clinched.
Otherwise, the truth is that they know corruption is rampant in Malawi and they know that Chakwera and his team are not willing to wholly fight the vice.
They know that it will not be easy to make headway in their investments because officers at several levels will demand bribes.
You see, corruption is very difficult to hide. The corrupt may not be caught and brought to book, but the perception about the cancer is enough to scare away investors.
So for once, our President must stop telling us about deals that will never materialise in our lifetime.
He must be kind enough to stop driving his people into a realm of illusion, that things will be better during his reign, for we know they have been getting worse since he took over power.
It must be very embarrassing to preside over all the problems Malawi is facing.
From the high walls of Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Chakwera must be able to see the shameful darkness in the city’s residential areas every night electricity goes off.
The distressing element with leadership is that failure can never be hidden.
Even if he is surrounded by cronies who attempt to feed him with falsehoods, the President must still be able to gauge for himself that not all is well in the country.
From his diary of promises and declarations, he must be able to follow that very little thing about what he had promised would be done to improve the welfare of Malawians has been done.
But, as they say, perhaps we indeed deserve this kind of leadership; after all, at the 2020 court-sanctioned presidential elections, the pair appeared to be the better disaster.
Only that they came with too many promises and had the goodwill of Malawians before plundering it in a matter of months.
It has become so clear that voters were once again sold a dummy.
They elected a President who does not care much about their welfare as long as he eats our taxes, which he uses to jump at every opportunity to take abroad.
By the way, what happened to the hyped road projects in Lilongwe and elsewhere?
The earthmovers are just stuck at construction camps without much happening on the roads.
The stalling is being blamed on the rains— typically, politicians always have something or someone to blame for their failures.
Alick Ponje is a features writer at The Times Group. He graduated from the University of Malawi with a bachelor’s degree in education, majoring in literature in English. Follow him on Twitter @aponje