We can ignore the role of smart phones in relationships but the effects are evident. An average person will die protecting a phone password from a spouse or partners and I know a friend who left a marriage because of phone-related nuisances.
This is one of the tendencies we learn overtime, and we can do without it.
The question of the values we adopt becomes more interesting in Malawi’s scenario. Following the May 21 Tripartite Elections, the country has stood still at a political crossroads with violent protests, burning and looting.
This is happening barely 26 years after the restoration of plural politics on June 14 1993.
Has democracy become our problem?
I will use the analogy of a computer to answer this question. A computer uses an operating system or software that controls the usage of hardware. However, the computer uses antivirus software to detect, delete and neutralise viruses or programmes likely to damage the systems and data in it.
A lady I once worked for fainted when a virus damaged her dissertation before the day of submission. You, too, might have been a victim of computer-based viruses.
The reality of the computer world is that viruses may attack your computer if it is not protected by strong antivirus or firewall.
Malawi, too, has an operating system we call democracy, but there are civil viruses that could attack it. The destroyers include corruption, injustice, nepotism and oppression of the poor. They blight our democracy which is supposed to promote socio-economic transformation, peace and justice.
However, the pluralistic governance system lays vulnerable if the security provided by virtues or good values is not strong.
The values are our judgment of what is important or unimportant, moral or immoral, right or wrong. For example, some values help the masses decide whether to vote along tribal and regional lines.
In fact, the leaders we elect reflect the values we hold and their conduct shows their values. The state of democracy in Malawi shows values Malawians hold dearly.
So, how can we and our political leaders promote good values and safeguard our democracy?
First, we must unearth root problems.
We must avoid enslavement of minds. Until we stand up on our own feet and think independently, we will remain slaves and puppets.
Subsistence thinking or bola ndadyanawo ineyo lero mentality perpetuates status quo.
Also to blame is an attitude of indifference. Sizikundikhuza!
Fellow Malawians, avoid poverty mindset. Poverty is not in the pockets, but mental bankruptcy.
Then there is inferiority complex or sitingathe ife zimenezi and the koma tiyeye syndromes, from Tumbuka idiom, which literally means ‘you kill, we carry’, which normalises the fear to pioneer big things and strengthens dependence on handouts syndrome or yes bwana tendencies.
We must also reflect, redefine and rebuild good values.
I propose we use what I have called “the 5P Guide”: (1) Person: What is the basis of my identity? (2) Perception: What is my lens to reality? (3) Purpose: What is the motive behind the cause I represent? (4) Principles: How does my moral compass work? (5) Procuracy: How and to whom do I account for my actions?
Malawians, we should dare stand up for what is moral and ethical.
We do not have a democracy crisis, but a values crisis. We can transform the face of our democracy if we change from the inside, consciously living the good values we preach. Those who dislike corruption must stay corruption-free.
If we fix our values crisis, nothing will threaten our nation again. If you do not have an enemy within, the enemy outside will not harm you.
Let us build Malawi on values that matter.