Malawi needs new blood in its political and economic systems now.
Without a push for integrity and enabling control systems, Malawi’s public finance management will keep falling apart.
Corruption remains the biggest of our problems. We allowed pickpockets to guard public finances and blank cheques! We need fresh leaders who can resist corruption first in their own private lives before taking on the fight on a national stage—people who can pass by steaming food without tasting it.
Just like food, corruption is a matter of the first bite. In this degrading vice, you cannot just chew the cake without swallowing it.
Who among people vying for elected positions in 2019 Tripartite Elections can pass this test?
Denying corruption takes long. Some mafia-today-saint-tomorrow politicians cannot pass the test Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela endured.
Reject candidates who stand on the hill as the battle rages on down the valley and only descend when the booty is ready and the fearless soldiers are either dying or too tired to fight.
If Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima have the well-being of Malawians at heart, they must lose their privileges and come to live with the majority of Malawians in the village.
The campaign to liberate Malawians from the yoke of poverty will neither happen on Facebook nor on Twitter, but in the rural areas where 80 percent of Malawians live.
Spend six months in the villages and after that, not before, tell Malawians what your manifesto is. They will quickly realise that their suits, the posh cars, English accents, and young age have nothing to offer towards uplifting the lives of Malawian in poverty.
Malawi needs leaders who can fight cronyism which breeds corruption and nepotism.
The tendency of awarding the most lucrative government contracts to one’s tribesmen, friends and hand-clappers affects quality of service delivery.
All this leaves government institutions—especially those in utilities, transportation and construction—in a pathetic state as managers waste time safeguarding their positions, boosting their salaries and amassing ill-gotten money instead of encouraging productivity and attracting further investment.
And the private industries are not immune from this mess rocking our country.
Adam Smith was right that businesses were prone to being hijacked by rent-seekers and that companies could become tools for seclusion, marginalisation and oppression.
Many of Malawi’s private firms are too close to government. This is the reason some businesses only do well when certain political parties are in power.
The danger of rent-seeking is that it leads to crappy service delivery, connection-based labour and capital markets as well as favouritism in the justice department.
Let us also deal with our euphoria for technology. Brick-and-mortar businesses, like David Whitehead are crushing, turning once-productive workplaces into empty museums while trendy Facebook-based businesses shy away from paying taxes.
In the new future, we will need leaders who can look past donors and tobacco by devising new ways for generating national revenue.
Our leaders will be great marketers, yes, but what will they be selling? Most importantly, why and how?
Malawi has friendly people and natural wonders highly adored by tourists. That’s our priority product. Let’s hold the next annual tourism expo on the open streets of London or New York—not in Blantyre or Lilongwe, please!
And when the money starts trickling in, let us use the revenue wisely instead of financing corrupt syndicates that are milking the economy. n