In the 1990s, some visionary Malawians carried out studies that led to the formulation of Vision 2020. Regrettably, most aspirations in the framework for Malawi’s long-term development agenda have not been achieved.
The country needs to initiate new interventions to create the ‘Malawi We Want’ by 2069.
First, we need to elect a new government on May 21 to erase the bad memories of the lost decades. We need visionary leadership backed by transformative and inclusive development.
The National Planning Commission (NPC), established by law in 2015, should embrace local ideas through comprehensive consultations in which ordinary citizens will rise to defend a new course of development. Knowing the new administration will not have all the answers, the ordinary citizens will help policymakers think strategically and every citizen will need to work differently and build a nation that will never be divided again and corrupt leaders will never flourish.
While development partners have space in the new vision, they should not be allowed to use financial support to shape our agenda and bring foreign ideologies.
The NPC should not rely on donor funds, but local resources, to undertake its interventions.
Whichever party wins on May 21 need not impose its manifesto on Malawians, but support NPC to develop an inclusive national manifesto.
The next administration should embrace the business unusual concept seldom liked by many.
A generation that has run the country since 1994 should be respected, but not allowed to lead the new vision. These include veteran ministers and those who held key positions for over two decades without offering better solutions. Most of these are destroyers should retire and not get any space in the new vision.
This also calls for a detailed analysis of how parties have used public resources since 1994 to ensure what belongs to Malawians is paid back.
To meet the new aspirations, there is need to review all public institutions’ governance structures to get rid of unqualified and underperforming workers employed based on nepotistic and partisan interests advanced by previous governments.
Recalling non-performers from all foreign missions could make Malawi relevant at global platforms. As stated in Vision 2020, we need to develop positive work ethics.
Malawi has been a soft destination for foreigners. The new vision should address how the nation handles foreigners who do not add value to the country’s development agenda. This requires a detailed analysis of land tenure and foreign policy.
We need to create an urban-based economy in which key districts, such as Lilongwe, Salima, Mangochi and Karonga, shall become big cities. This requires development-oriented leadership to create jobs, introduce new land use and eliminate settlement patterns that depend on customary land tenure.
There is need to re-allocate some ministry headquarters from Capital Hill to other districts. Although housing all ministries in Lilongwe is logistically sensible, it has fuelled misuse of government resources, laziness and congestion in the capital city.
Faith-based organisations have contributed a lot to the poverty landscape, so we need a new Malawi that shall keep thanking God for prosperity instead of falling prey to false ideas of making people rich. We want faith organisations that will inspire Malawians to work hard, not to spend nights in mountains waiting for miracles.
New Malawi should utilise each and every aspect of our culture, population, natural resources, and human resources for economic growth.
We need to embrace the notion of utilising science, technology and innovation as a driver of economic growth.
To create a new Malawi, will require collective efforts and painful pathways for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
In conclusion, we need to bring the change we want on May 21. Many want to threaten our inclusive choice, but we should not fear. n