Prof. Patrick Lumumba of Kenya, once said that in Africa the shortest route to ill gotten wealth is political leadership. This is the main agenda for some people who aspire for political leadership. Their claim that they want to lead to serve the people in their countries is not true. The truth is that such a statement is a campaign strategy for buying votes. In fact, what is obvious is that they want to lead in order to learn tactics of gainfully converting public resources into personal fortunes.
With all due respect, all leadership in Malawi, with the exception of Dr Hastinga Kamuzu Banda, seem to have had no agenda to serve Malawians. Kamuzu showed that he had an agenda to uplift the lives of the people of Malawi. Naturally, he was encouraged by the fact that he was the first post-colonial leader and he, therefore, had to prove to the colonialists that as an African he was capable of leading the country even much better. His development plans were clear, even to the people at the grass roots.
The development agenda was well organised as he systematically worked on one project after another. Every project he embarked on got completed. There was no piece-meal type of development as has been the case with tsubsequent governments. Above everything else, the discipline he had instilled in the civil service and all Malawians at large was unprecedented. Corruption was unheard of because all business was done following the rule of law. Stealing in public offices was not tolerated. No offence was too small, as even a K500 theft was a jailable offence. That is why Kamuzu could publicly boast about the booming economy with foreign reserves rising.
As it were, after Kamuzu, the leadership agendas for the country have been very obscure.
The DPP government has recently shown what seems to be a lack of leadership agenda. The recent Mid-Term Budget Review closed at a very embarrassing note to the nation. Since the government claims that it has no money, a number of votes on the budget were reduced. Little did people know that Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, had some K4 billion reserved to secretly give to MPs for the so called ‘constituency development’. At first, he gave the money to DPP legislators and some of the opposition MPs who assisted government to shoot down the Electoral Reforms Bills. When the rest of the MPs raised hell about this, Gondwe gave the money to all MPs at K20 million to each. The minister had problems to explain the source of this money. But any sensible person should be able to know that this is tax payers’ money. This can be described as corruption of the highest order, which definitely requires investigation.
It is very sad that the government can decide to use tax payers’ money to campaign in Parliament by bribing MPs while Malawians are suffering with abject poverty. This is what leadership with no agenda does to people of Malawi. For goodness’ sake, the President should condemn the haphazard way of using public funds. In fact, of late government has been complaining about abuse of funds given to constituencies for development. Then before the situation is normalised, government decides to give some more money to MPs. This does not make any sense at all. It is very doubtful if MPs were prepared for this money. Needless to say, it might end up as a personal gift to them.
All that is stated in this article shows that the leadership has no clear agenda for leading this country. This is one of the reasons there is nothing much to show for the 25 years that Malawi has been democratic. The situation can be changed by Malawians themselves.