What next after the board meeting?

Another week has gone by and the comedy in the beautiful but cursed land of Malawi continues to play out.

After attending the board meeting of Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) and Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), President Peter Mutharika had the audacity to wave at the crowd loitering around Umoyo House and the shameless people actually waved back.

That this was a surprise visit is neither here nor there, what people should strive to know is in what capacity was the president at Escom? As head of State, how difficult was it for him to summon the officials from the two firms to State House, crack the whip and set timelines for them to resolve this issue of electricity blackouts once and for all?

At last check, electricity was not generated or distributed at Umoyo House but this is the venue where the board, with the management eyes open botched up a deal to procure generators which would have lessened the impact of power blackouts being experienced right now.

What is clear here is that the president has once again completely misunderstood the wishes of his people and has failed to follow the point they are trying to make.

When Malawians demand action, they don’t mean show up at an office in a 10 car convoy with flags in tow.  Malawians do not want more meetings because these have gotten us nowhere but the position that we find ourselves in at the moment.

Malawians do not want surprise visits that contribute little to their livelihoods and leave them running generators for 12 hours every day.

Sure, it is not every day that a whole president attends a board meeting of a board that he put in place, a board headed by a former central bank governor.

It should therefore not be surprising that the people who expect efficient service from these institutions expect more than a wave from the visitor to the board meeting and bulging wallets full of sitting allowances.

After years of planning and numerous documents full of withering dreams of uninterrupted power during dry season but gathering dust on the shelves at Capital Hill, Malawians should not now be waiting for 12 megawatts of additional power capacity through the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact.

Malawians do not want to be bothered with the fights and egos between Escom and Egenco, two companies created by the government failing to reach an agreement on the power purchase agreement which would attract independent power producers into the sector.

What the barber, the salon owner and that cooking oil manufacturer demands is that plans be implemented and for the independent power producers to get to work so the business people can pay for electricity that is actually available 24 hours a day not merely four hours at an ungodly time of day.

President Mutharika should have been demanding that Escom and its child Egenco work to remove the excuse of low manufacturing production for retrenching thousands of Malawians and driving them further into poverty.

It is ridiculous that Escom should fail to distribute power to a large number of Malawians simply because Egenco did not see it fit to supply them with power.

After the President, his aide, the Chief Secretary and those incompetent individuals he found at Umoyo House have gone back to their homes paid for by the tariffs they punish Malawians with for electricity that is never in supply, the people who put them in those positions want one thing only: good service.

It is the selfishness and executive arrogance of our leaders, that less than 40 percent of Malawians put into power that has brought us here. But then again, people of this warm heart deserve the kind of leadership that is in place now, they invited this government and administration to hold them to ransom in their own land.

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