Our government shows a remarkable ineptitude in its dealings with public opinion. We all remember the NAC gate/ journalist bribe scandal, we remember that the president did not supply us with an explanation for a bloated delegation to the UNGA (instead he banged the table exclaiming: “THIS NONSENSE HAS TO STOP!” Now we see another weird move: a government financed counter demo against a minuscule demonstration led by activist Billy Mayaya.
This would be worth no more than a smile if it were not for two things:
- The kwachas used to bribe these few Civil Society Organizations are exactly the tax kwachas that are supposed to be used to supply the tax payer with the services the government owes them I return (remember the social contract). So instead of using these kwachas for an executive vanity operation, they should be used to supply us with health care, education and security. Blooper.
- The government funded demonstration had nothing more to support than President Mutharika’s support for the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Talk is cheap and a President supporting uncontested SDGs before doing anything about implementation is meaningless. Remember how the President congratulated himself for missing 4 out of 8 MDGs (Millenium Development Goals, the precursors of the SDGs)? Our country has plenty of wonderful policies. On paper. In the drawers at Capital Hill. But not implemented on the ground. That is where the real problem is: implementation is lacking. Where are we on the Green Belt Initiative? Where are we on the cement and iron sheets subsidy? Where are we on the goal of a teacher-learner ration of 60? Where are we on drugs supplies to our hospitals? All of these do not get beyond a small token effort, and some of that is donor implemented. So if the executive has nothing more to offer than a verbal endorsement of an uncontested international initiative (not even a Malawian Executive initiative) than we are in deep trouble.