Why we need Bingu beyond ‘09
Like polar bears that resurface during spring time to search for their favourite delicacy, salmons, after an unpleasant period of harsh winter spent under the dugout caves below the layer of sheer snow and ice, the year 2009 is very interesting to note as regards Malawian politics because now we hear of political discords either within the ruling DPP party or the opposition. This has degenerated into announcements of new party formation. Reason? Architects of such new parties are smelling delicacy in two years time. But do they have what it takes to become president of an economically crippled Malawi?
Malawians should be ware of oratorically skilled politicians because what they always talk to the press-deficiency crowds is mere trash and not beneficial to the electorate’s day to day social welfare needs.
The nation must learn to incline to presidential candidates of academic superiority and personal integrity. Most candidates of academic inferiority have some good looks, and this coupled with their talking skills, pose as a bait to the unsuspecting electorate. They may sail through at the presidential test, but, unfortunately, they can eventually lead this small country into a squall of economic peril. Why? They have no genuine intellectual ideas to help transform the country from being third world and poor to middle income and prosperous other than reaping its already meagre financial resources, resulting into total economic mismanagement without consideration for the suffering majority from whom they lured votes.
To them, politics is business and business means monetary rewards. The notion of serving the people and helping in the transformation of their lives isn’t in the minds of most such prospective leaders.
The previous regime before Bingu Mutharika is a clear testimony of leadership without intellectual capabilities and integrity. Its lack of planning for the country’s food security, rampant corruption, high inflation rates, lack of new significant infrastructure, rise of death rate due to hunger and diseases, dwindling foreign reserves, high crime rates, closure of important companies, lack of foreign investments, and distribution of K50 bank notes to few people—all give a summation of a “leadership without brains and a vision.”
You tend to wonder how do people elect such leadership. The answer is in the second paragraph. It has got to do with speech presentation and attractive faces. A common villager will always be fooled by the two.
The Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda regime speaks volumes of how intellectual capacity can be a significant factor when it comes to governing a country like Malawi. This is so despite banda’s shortfalls in human rights. He sustained food security for his people, foreign investment was conspicuous, there was lack of corruption in the government, foreign reserves were appealing, low crime rate was witnessed, and generally new infrastructure was blossoming. The leadership had a vision. Given the rare natural resources that either DR Congo or Angola have, I believe this leadership could have performed an economic miracle for Malawi. I don’t see such a possibility in the regime after Dr Banda given such resources.
In Bingu Mutharika, I see a leader who has both vision for the country and intellectual skills to elevate impoverished Malawi to a small economic powerhouse in Southern Africa. His qualities and policies are reminiscent of that of Dr Banda’s, and given another chance during the next election, the country can benefit more, other than have greedy, unqualified candidates run the affairs of Malawi. Mutharika has demonstrated his capabilities through things like winning back donor support, eliminating corruption, reducing inflation rates, planning for food security, rural industrialisation plans, construction of roads and general addition of more infrastructure, not forgetting the Shire/Zambezi Waterway which will be the nucleus of Malawi’s prosperity. The country still needs him. Period!
Some politicians will preach to the people the gospel of economic hope and some will even start telling them again that they will be blessed with free new pairs of shoes and free money and without shame promising of constructing a bridge between Makanjira and Chipoka. Malawians wake up!
They want to dig even more in the small coffers come 2009, thereby paralysing you with more financial hardships. These are prophets of doom not hope. I mean they expect baskets full of money even if they didn’t work hard. Wise leaders will strive to motivate farmers so they benefit from their hardwork. Wise leaders they will create an environment for new companies to flourish so college and high school graduates can have ease of job scouting, they will make travelling easy by having so many roads financed regardless of region.
It, therefore, takes a well qualified dynamic person with full of positive ideas and ambitions coupled with real sacrifice of oneself without harbouring thoughts of greed and monopolism to become president of a country like Malawi. Thus the country needs to follow standards in presidential candidature not just being governed by anyone in the political arena. Has the country listened then? Will it avoid these prophets of doom?
— The author is a Malawian studying at Indiana University.