ANDREW NYONDO WRITES;
Some people in the country made a decision to begin criticising President Dr. Lazarus MccCarthy Chakwera on anything and everything that seem not to be working in the country. Although some challenges Malawi is facing are beyond anybody’s control, some people have chosen to discredit the president on naturally-induced challenges and even if there are some major achievements he has made in the country since he became the HE.
The main question is: Are we critising him genuinely and innocently?
For example, the country failed to tick on some areas such as economic growth due to covid-19 pandemic, that did not spare almost all countries in the continent including the developed ones such as South Africa, which is the leading producer and exporter of various products in Africa.
Some people who dislike President Chakwera and those who like criticising him without helping in providing solutions to the challenges have gone far demanding that the President should resign, believing that he has failed Malawians. But the question is, has the president really failed to deliver? Why are some people judging him as a failure when he has not served even half of his five-year constitutional term?
Some misinformed and misguided people believe that president Chakwera has failed to lead the country well because many things are not working. But I see in my mental carnals that such people have failed to decipher from the circumstances so that they should be able to make a fair criticism against him.
For example, the issue of rising prices of commodities such as cooking oil and bread should be considered in this write up. The President has been heavily criticised for this without critics themselves analysing factors behind the skyrocketing of prices for such commodities.
In basic economics, the issue on prices of goods and services is premised on economic principles of demand and supply and also to some extent on imports and exports.
If we produce less and import more, as a country we are in a danger zone because that will mean using the little forex we have for importing commodities, thereby leading to a critical shortage of forex in the country. That will also mean continued rising in prices for commodities such as cooking oil.
But if we produce more and import less and at the same time we export more, we stand a better chance as a nation to gain more forex as well as to have a price stabilisation situation because most commodities that we demand will be produced locally.
However, people will ask the question on why bread prices are rising when the product is produced locally. For bread to be produced there is need to have wheat flour as one of the major ingredients. But the challenge is that Malawi is heavily importing the ingredients. Now that the commodity is becoming scarce and expensive because of war in Ukraine, Malawi can’t expect to import the product cheaply. This situation is not created by President Chakwera.
Even if he may direct that we should be producing our own wheat, the problem will not be addressed overnight. There will be some time taken. But the challenge is that critics will continue pointing a finger at the President and continue branding him as a failure on matters requiring global efforts.
There is no reason why Malawians should keep pointing a finger at their President when some challenges which the country has are due to natural issues such as covid-19 and other unforeseen circumstances such as wars.
How is the HE attempting to end economic challenges?
This is a question many people who are not biased in their thinking have been asking to understand how President Chakwera has been attempting to solve economic challenges in general.
Journalists too have been asking the same question, civil society organisations have been asking the same question, development partners have been thinking about the same question and all those wishing Malawi well have been asking the same question.
If we can deeply reflect on President Chakwera’s maiden speech-dubbed the inaugural speech, we will see that he already knew that things will not be well in some areas, hence his call in the speech that all Malawians should be innovative and begin working hard if the country is to be weaned from economic challenges it has been facing for ages.
What should be understood from this is that the HE wanted to end the culture of laziness as well as the culture of many people depending from others for handouts. No pay without work. People should have money after doing something. The more people work, the more they produce, therefore the more they sell.
He identified this as an issue of concern. However, in his capacity as the State President he has made meaningful efforts to address some of the challenges. For example, he managed to find international markets that should be linked to farmers who will be growing crops demanded on the global market.
The case of soya beans farmers, who have been lacking properly structured markets, will be well addressed this year, realising that Malawi depends on agriculture for boosting its economy. That is the reason why, many farmers including those working in government circles resorted to growing soybeans in abundance than growing maize.
So there is still a question on how many of those who have been criticising the President have taken this initiative as an important one such that they have been motivated to be agriculturalists? How many of those criticising the HE are happy with his agricultural initiatives?
Probably, lazy bones will not want to hear about this. All what they want to see is money in their pockets but not being mindful on how money should get into their pockets and at what time it should be in their pockets.
In my view, President Chakwera is one rare leader who is trying hard to change how things should be done in the country if the globe is to label Malawi as an economically prosperous nation. Much as others are not seeing a good number of positives he has recorded both in economics and political fronts, Malawians should be reminded on the following:
They need to be challenged that since President Chakwera rose to power, no body- both in villages and towns has ever cued on the line as early as 12AM to buy a five-kilogram maize package at any Admarc deport in the country. That is now history. There has been no reports in the media that somebody has died of hunger. Maize is now everywhere.
They also need to be challenged that nobody or no family has been torched or no activist’s home has ever been petrol bombed for criticising the President. There has been no use of foil language from the executive.
Everyone is living in the country with a deserved peace of mind. Police officers too are now living in harmony with communities. People with albinism are also freely mixing well with others because they no longer fear that they will be abducted and killed. There are so many achievements recorded during his tenure but people have chosen to criticise him because they never wanted him to be the President.
To end this passage, let us borrow Karl Marx’s theory of power struggle. Marx taught the world that eversince man was born, his history is characterised by power struggle. This is evident in Malawi because most of those who have been criticising the President even on issues that don’t require criticism are struggling for power.
Some were booted out of government when they still wanted to be in government. They are no longer getting what they used to get. They are no longer enjoying the way they used to, but they still want the enjoyment. They are no longer using free government vehicles and they are no longer receiving free fuel, but they need all those resources.
They want power so that they should have control over national resources. They still want to drink expensive whiskys, but they don’t have the financial muscle. What can such people say against the President who they hated most even if he was in the opposition.
Are they genuinely criticising the President? Possibly nooo! Its all about struggle for power. The HE should be allowed to govern with a peace of mind. All what we need as people is to begin working hard in various economic platforms.
Disclaimer: These are personal views for the journalist Andrew Nyondo, who formerly worked with the leading media House in Malawi- Nation Publications Limited.