We are without direction from the side where we need it most: government.
With all the beautiful talk from the UN (with a delegation fitting half the continent!) we should look at deeds rather than words. And there things are very meager. Here we don’t want to overdo things like leader of the opposition Chakwera, who called the government plicy “genocide”. Clearly, Mr Chakwera does not know the meaning of the word. But he has a point that government is not doing what it is supposed to do: provide leadership. At the moment everything is in panic mode: save money and raise fees for everything, otherwise, no ideas. And we need them now more than ever.
For all his failings, Bingu had ideas. And he even got some of them implemented. But it seems our Professor APM has no ideas beyond big words. His talk in the UN about investing in education is wonderful, in Malawi education is far below standard. We need more teachers, but the new teacher training college in Phalombe that Unicef donated to Malawi is standing idle because government is not fulfilling its part of the deal: to operate it. As a country we cannot afford to stay where we are: the poorest country in the world. We need development, and the road to development needs an educated population, and for that we need teachers. Unicef helps, our own government is regressive. No development.
One way of earning forex is tourism. What we should do is make visa fast, cheap and easy to obtain, so potential tourists feel welcome to spend their hard currency in our Warm Heart of Africa. But our government does the opposite: it makes visa many times more expensive and much more difficult to obtain. So our tourism industry will wither instead of bloom. No development.
Tobacco prices are going down, and the world market for tobacco is slowly sinking, year after year. That means we need to diversify our forex earners. But there is no policy implemented to do this, on the contrary: our minister of agriculture Chiyembekeza just yells that we will keep on depending on tobacco. No development there.
Finance: we miss the World Bank targets, so we miss the next US 20,000,000 loan. Minister of finance Goodall Gondwe does not have more to offer than: “we will have to look into it.”
Our hospitals are overcrowded, our nurses are overworked. But a new group of graduated nurses is not being employed. They just stay, and their colleagues are overworked. And the patients do not get the care they need and deserve. No development there.
When we elected this government, the hyper active vice president Chilima went into overdrive with a “civil service reform” project. Something we do need. The civil service does not perform optimally, and corruption does occur. But after the initial report was presented, all we heard is that government will stop the Junior School Certificate exams as one way of increasing efficiency: part of the civil service reform. That clearly does not do it: the reform we need is that all government tasks are performed quickly and correctly, at the lowest possible cost to the tax payer. Not that government tasks are simply abaondoned because of lack of funds. No development there.
We need a visionary government, that has ideas, and puts them into practice. But now it seems we are short on ideas, and the few that are there are not implemented. No development all round.