On Mutharika’s Sona


Mr. President, Sir Your State of the National Address (Sona) on Friday was a missed opportunity and it only succeeded in making us believe why Malawi needs a new era.

The Sona reflects a leadership that is out of touch with reality and with no vision. Saying that “we have delivered to the people and we will continue” is an insult to Malawians. To who have you delivered? Your cronies, tribesmen and women or party cadres?

Mr President, you are heading a country with acute problems.

Your address is one of the unfortunate tales of Malawian leaders who are out of touch, disillusioned, hallucinating, idealistic and stuck in utopia.

Where do you get the guts to claim that “today we have the economy fixed, confidence regained, projects moving and hope rising?” What measures are you using? What lessons can we draw from the past four years if not learning how to survive?

Mr President, you want Malawians to ask “which way is Malawi developing, not whether Malawi is developing or not.” Truly, you know that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

For four years, you have told us you want to rebuild the economy. Are you building Noah’s ark? Remember you have less than 12 months remaining.

So far, the clergy, civil society organisations, political and economic commentators have spoken of this path to ruin, yet you think they are creating hopelessness in the people. Malawians are actually hopeless. The macro-economic indicators you quote speak nothing about their wellbeing.

Mr. President, International Monetary Fund (IMF) confidence is not a standard measure of Malawians’ wellbeing. IMF has its business agenda. Malawians should give you confidence, not some external business institution.

The pettiness in your speech to isolate miniature projects as success stories of your office is unfortunate—not befitting the presidency.

Actually, I get a sense you have no clue on the centrality of the agriculture sector to the country’s economy.

Agriculture extension services are dead. The dream for an exporting agricultural economy of all seasons was well conceived by your brother Bingu, but you seem to have no clue how to implement it.

Mr. President, the private sector development requires no blowing trumpet from your office. In any country, this is self-propelled and no leader takes time off his duties to open a textile company or quote it as a success in the Sona.

Your comments on Integrated rural development clearly demonstrate how your leadership does not understand the concept.

Refer to the 1970s World Bank funded integrated rural development programmes that did not not only transform the agriculture sector but also non-farm sectors.

A handful of rural growth centres  quoted in your Sona, your excellency, are nothing in addressing multidimensional rural poverty in Malawi.

On public health, the hallmark of wellbeing, you stated figures like you are a district health officer—not the State President. Recruiting 858 health workers is nothing to solve the myriad health problems facing the country.

Technical and vocational training initiatives sit very well under education, science and technology; not only youth empowerment.

Conspicuously missing is how your government intends to use the education sector as a vector or incubator of the national development processes at all levels.

Mr. President, you never cease amazing me as I listened to your speech. How can the President confidently report reaching out to 10 districts out of the 28 in child protection as a success?

As if that is all, you include in your Sona that you have supported 753 persons with disabilities with assistive devices.

This is not even half of the people with disabilities in Phalombe District alone. Mr. President, thanks for accepting failure in the energy sector.

How I wish you accepted failure to run the country. Where is the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS III) in your Sona? n

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