ALARM! Malawi going down the drain.

We have been one of the poorest countries for many years, but now we have officially been named the poorest in the world. This dubious honor necessitates a look at governance, as government is the only instance that can reverse the trend.

Look at the situation on the ground:

Nurses are not employed while we have only 1/3 of the nurses we need working.

Teachers have been unemployed for a year while we have only 2/3 of the teachers we need (according to Malawian standards, according to international standards we have less than half of what we need!) The ministry of education abolishes the JCE primary school exams, for reasons of finance, not any quality reasons.

We have a security breakdown, and our police are understaffed, under resourced, under trained, underfunded and overworked.

The president goes in a private jet with a bloated delegation of 111 (or 115 according to other sources) to New York. He relocated from the lavish Waldorf Astoria Hotel to the lavish Hilton Hotel.

It is clear that Malawi, after three years of freeze of budget support is slowly grinding down the slippery slope towards a failed state.

What can be done?

We need the donor support. Donors have made clear what their reasons for the freeze are: rampant corruption. The remedy is simple: our government needs to instill a vigilant anti corruption program. So far a few token arrests have been made, very few people prosecuted and even less convicted. While we all know that the corruption runs into the 10s of billions, perhaps hundreds of billions. But prevention is better than cure: we need to prevent corruption from happening now. This means we need to make haste with the new Public Finance Management System IFMIS>. And that is totally lacking: after more than 16 months in office, not even a new system has been procured, let alone implemented. And that rightfully shows donors that their money is not safe in the hands of the Malawian state: it can and will be stolen.

Donors have a problem at home: extreme right wing (racist) parties are on the rise, and these are opposing development support. Donor governments cannot afford to see their development money stolen, this will promote the cause of these extremists to stop development aid altogether. So donors are in no position to support the Malawi Budget unless vigorous measures have been implemented to stop the leakage of their donor support. And that means that the new IFMIS needs to be active and incorruptible. Until then, Malawi keeps muddling towards the ravine of a failed state.

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