There has been a lot of noise around the bloated 106 (or so) member Malawi delegation to the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) mostly about the cost, which wasted our tax money in times of hardship. And now in his short State of the Nation Address the President has confirmed that times are hard.
This ties in with the non-performance of Presidential Press Secretary Gerald Viola. He managed to make unnecessary and idiotic remarks about buying a Presidential Jet. These were disowned by the President the next day.
It is quite clear that the position of Viola has become untenable: the man in clearly incompetent, not speaking for the President (which is what the tax payer is paying him for) and not credible on any level. Still the President called it “a minor problem”, and left him in the now useless position.
What ties the two (and many other examples) together is: people are in places and positions funded by the tax payer without doing anything in exchange for the tax money, which is sorely needed in other places now the country faces economic hardship and frozen donor support.
Clearly, there are other reasons for people to be in government (tax payer funded) positions and on government (tax payer funded) trips than their performance. This cannot be anything else than cronyism. When confronted, his excellency the President acted so angrily he resorted to unPresidential behaviour by banging the table. He may have gotten angry because he feels he cannot do otherwise, and is unfairly targeted. When he cannot do otherwise than practice cronyism, we are in deep, deep trouble. It is bad enough for the cost. But more so: think of the implications for policy and implementation of policy: incompetent people, who know they do not need to perform to stay in key positions. This means there will not be effective governance, and that means the country will not move forward; it will stay a least developed country until we develop a different, less cronyist, type of governance. Unfortunately, that will take a wholly new type of politician, who apparently is not in the profession today. New ways of doing things are needed, new people to introduce it.