While the focus this week has been on protests calling for the resignation of the chairperson of Nyasaland Electoral Commission and the election case at the constitutional court, I deliberately choose to focus on the State of the Nation Address delivered in Parliament last Friday.
My Lord, I think others have properly expounded on the need for the civil society organisations-led protests and the need for the courts to fully address the concerns on allegations of rigging.
Having said that, I thought the so-called Sona was the most important address that could shape the direction of the country for the next five years and your presence with fellow members of the bench in the House in those weird judges’ robes was a statement enough that this was an address that ought to be taken seriously by everyone.
My Lord, coming exactly a month after Nyasaland went to the polls, I was eager to see how the country would transform into Europe of some kind with our economic growth projected to be at a paltry five percent.
Was I impressed with the forecast demonstrated in the Sona given that the election campaign promised Nyasaland the moon? I would be lying if I don’t say I expected more, My Lord, than the usual blah blah of doing things.
My Lord, it would take a remarkable miracle at this growth rate to become a Singapore in the warm heart of Africa in the next five years
Good to hear about priority areas of agriculture, mining, information and technology, among others, but cataloguing the areas is one thing and putting deliberate policies to spur growth is another.
My Lord, there is this saying that the devil is in details, yet the vision outlined for the next five years was a bit murky on how that would be achieved. For instance, the extractive industry we are putting our hopes on has become a sector that multinational corporations and politicians are using in Africa for profiteering at the expense of the indigenous people.
Issues of tax avoidance and evasion are rife in this industry yet in our case My Lord, an enabling legislation to ensure that the industry is properly regulated is hardly there?
My Lord, I didn’t hear much about how the country would seal loopholes in the Integrated Fiscal Management System (Ifmis) apart from linking the systems to to be talking to each other. Creating a culture that would curb pilferage goes beyond creating an electronic system as it is the question of attitude.
Nyasas are no longer displaying a diligent work ethic but would rather reap where they did not sow and politicians are their role models when it comes to financial management.
That this country is greatly polarized at this stage is self-evident, yet the Sona hardly touched on ensuring that we become one nation again, something that I expected to be addressed seriously.
Somebody has to lead the process of uniting this country and, My Lord, I don’t expect the courts or the opposition to be at the forefront of that process. We cannot just wish away the bad blood that is there; hence, we needed decisive action going beyond rhetoric and sectarian statements.
I am all progressive and wish my country well but I expected more on the outlined five-year vision and unity. I think we could have been more ambitious.
Will I be committing a crime if I ask for more clarifications on enhancing unity and the development agenda? My Lord, we might have differences but we are one people currently wallowing in self-inflicted poverty.
You don’t have to act on this letter. It is not a legal document but just an opinion.
With Emmanuel Luciano
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