This is a sequel to last week’s discourse on What Happens Upstream Affects the People Downstream. As a matter of fact, the conclusion should have been that everyone gets affected, not only the folks downstream.
This thesis gets arrived at informed by hindsight, as they say we are always wiser with hindsight, that itself being informed by the power outages and other debilitating impacts Malawi has suffered of late because of the mess upstream. This sequel is inspired by the fact that my contribution of last week, as usual, got energising insights from three eminent readers in the names: His Grace Brighton Malasa, Bishop of the Upper Shire of the Anglican Diocese in Malawi, Kenneth Wiyo PhD, associate professor in soil and water engineering at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and Dr. Elliot D Taylor, director at Mott McDonald Blantyre (Malawi) Limited, Team Leader Implementation Service Provider for Catchment Management and Shire River Basin Management Programme, Phase I (SRBMP 1) project.
These eminent personalities and accomplished leaders provided a rallying convergence of thought with the discourse put forward as well as furnished supplementary food for thought and empirically researched insights into the course of action that needs to be embraced if we are to arrest the onset of unimaginable disaster and apocalyptic scenes of suffering that awaits our posterity if we remain oblivious to the harsh realities we are creating for our children through our deficiencies of consciousness to do the right things.
I share the feedback of thoughts from works of research and stakeholder engagement in the area of sustainability but the only thing lacking, as is always is the case with Malawi, is our collective lack of action.
Thoughts on what can be done to tackle deforestation in Malawi through fostering smart partnerships through public private partnerships (PPPs) includes a paper that has argued for the creation of an Environmental Re-afforestation and Environmental Protection in Malawi called Marepa. This talks about an endowment fund contributed into by the corporates with the biggest stake in the water availability dynamics such as the power and water utilities. To ring- fence the contribution, it must be made in a form of a levy.
One’s cynical reaction could be great idea, notwithstanding that levies as a form of taxation are often abhorred by many, but if the levies are properly and adequately ring-fenced from any other use other than what is legally intended. Levies have successfully worked in the fuel levy for roads where the oversight leadership role for such has been given to credible and steady personalities. We could similarly be on to something positive.
This ring-fence can only effectively be achieved through an Act of Parliament, although getting our Parliament to enact important game-changing legislation is another challenge all together, thanks in part to unfortunate depleted levels of intellectual sophistication among some in the August house. Ca, C’ est la vie.
The other powerful block of community leadership other than aggressive laws against environmental crimes and the punitive consequences thereof, can be the strong moral authority of our religious leaders. I mean those in the traditional religious establishments of old and not the get-rich-quick opportunistic self acclaimed spiritual “elites” of today that dwell on nothing but the prosperity and get rich quick hassle free spiritual life, the ersatzes and blood-sucking crooks of preachers and men of the cloth that brag and compete at who drives the best limousine among them. No! There must be no role for those thugs in this public discourse on how best we heal and mend the environment for they will bring nothing but a curse to our land.
So just as Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has ably advocated the cause of and negotiated and navigated the course of democracy in Malawi, the genuine people of God in leadership in PAC can also lead the nation in the march to rehabilitate and rejuvenate the environment.