‘Soon’ is not what people want to hear

It is that season again when politicians show the electorate that they can say anything, make any promise and it will be lapped up like porridge with a lot of sugar.

It is the season for canvassing for votes, for promising positions in the government that do not exist and time is certainly ripe for the businessmen and women to buy contracts and tenders in the next government.

The past few democratic elections have shown this nation that politicians will say anything as long as it gets them votes, no matter how impractical.

Bakili Muluzi promised free education but forgot there was not enough teachers or classroom blocks. He left the scene with many still learning under the tree.

Bingu wa Mutharika came and promised irrigation schemes across the country and a mega project, the green belt initiative. As I write, the greenbelt initiative is still growing legs 14 years later.

President Peter Mutharika, set out to trounce every past president’s promises. His 2014 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) manifesto reads like a dream, which is what it has turned out to be.

At a recent political rally in Lunzu, the people of Blantyre had the privilege of envisioning how changed their city and district will be in the foreseeable future.

In his usual not so audible manner, those who attended the rally or followed the live broadcast of the event on State-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation of Malawi (MBC) must have picked out the following developmental projects to come, as soon as December 2018.

Soon, there will be a state-of-the-art airport at Chileka to replace the joke of an international airport that is there now, something several successive governments have apparently failed to do, including the DPP in its seven years in power.

The people of Chileka, it seems, want an airport more than they want irrigation schemes, potable water and a health centre—where they will not die due to lack of personnel or required medical supplies and equipment.

Soon, there will be no more dusty roads in Blantyre. Woe to those who live in rural areas—let them deal with potholed roads and dilapidated bridges.

Apart from travelling on the 186-kilometre ring-road, people of Blantyre will also watch football matches at a brand new stadium, which will be similar to the one in Lilongwe, the Bingu National Stadium.

Finally, soon Blantyre will have a district hospital. This might sound like you have heard it all before and it is precisely right, because you have. The difference this time is that there is money available and APM will ‘soon’ lay the foundation stone for the project to start.

As you can see, the word ‘soon’ has been the litany of all governments that voters have given the duty to make people’s lives better.

It has been ‘soon’ there will be potable water, ‘soon’ children will no longer have to walk tens of kilometres to access basic education, ‘soon’ people will have money in their pockets and ‘soon’ hunger will be a thing of the past.

These ‘soons’ have come with a cost attached to it bearing monikers like ‘Cashgate’, ‘Maizegate’ ‘K187 million scam’, ‘Fieldyork scam’, ‘Mudzi Transformation Trust’. All in the name of securing votes.

With 19 months to the election and a high frequency in propaganda type programming on what should be a public broadcaster, MBC, not to mention the increasing number of purely political rallies and so-called whistle-stop tours, it is safe to assume that the campaign season is here.

With the campaign comes outlandish promises and blatant lies which Malawians should not for a second believe until they see.

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