Malawi needs an active citizenry

The past week has been quite an eventful one in all spheres. From Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe’s stuttering— although we have known him as a man who never stammers, and failing to explain where the controversial K4 billion money meant to be disbursed to constituencies will come from, to the murder suspect and fugitive Misozi Chanthunya finally coming home to face the long arm of the law.

In between, Vice- President Saulos Chilima had a public lecture at Chancellor College where he was presenting on moral decadence— something many felt he should have started by addressing his own home, DPP first—I am certain the Veep knows that he belongs to an “organisation” that has no regard for ethics— one just needs to look at how unashamedly the governing DPP is abusing public resources.

In all these and other issues that Malawi is facing, it is the absence of an active citizenry that is somehow fuelling leadership arrogance and hedonism which has resulted in institutionalised corruption.

An active citizenry can make or break the future of the country. It is sad that the Malawian citizenry has chosen to take the back seat in as far as political participation is concerned. Many Malawians are very active behind their computers and social media but they do not go beyond a post on social media to actually demand and hold our leaders to account.

The past week, social media was abuzz with the K4 billion issue, and many other issues. The quality and quantity of debate on social media is so refreshing, but it ends as soon as they log off.

In the past, I have lamented about how we Malawians are so inactive that I am not even sure what will ever jilt us into action.

Here, once again, we are presented with a situation that should be enough to make everyone who loves this country raise their voice or even march to Parliament, but what do we do, we moan behind our computers and think that there is someone out there who will do it for us. Well, there is no one. You are the person to do it.

In my mind, citizen’ participation has to go beyond voting in an election. Active participation should be used as a mechanism to keep the leaders on their toes and offer checks and balances and hold office bearers accountable for what they promised.

It is this inactivity that has bred the arrogance of our leaders that now they think they can wake up and distribute the money as though they are sharing some roasted nuts. They know they can steal public money and get away with it because the citizenry is horribly passive that it won’t know and, even it if knows, it won’t do anything.

Every citizen has a right to participate in governing this country and raising concerns, questioning political decisions is one of the ways you can do so.

Imagine, if Malawians were as vocal, politicians would be afraid to steal because they would know that once the citizenry gets to hear about it they will be in trouble. But, at the moment, it is quite alright for the likes of Goodall, Kondwani Nankhumwa to “experiment” with our lives because they know ‘these people, will not do anything’.

Perhaps it is time you showed them that you can do something about issues that affect your life? How can any patriot sit and a watch K4 billion being dubiously and suspiciously being shared among corrupt politicians— the opposition political parties are all corrupt too they only raise their voice if they don’t share the loot.

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