According to a respected political commentator, Blessing Chinsinga, Malawi’s dwindling of social-economic developments since attaining of multiparty system of government in 1994 can be attributed to accidental presidents Malawi has, claiming they put their personal interests before the rest of Malawians, thereby leaving the rest of us impoverished.
This is stunning observation Blessings Chinsinga, a political scientist at University of Malawi made during the just ended high level Public Affairs Committee (PAC) held on February 17-18, 2015 in the commercial city of Blantyre aimed at discussing the future of the country amid economic woes is facing.
Prior to the conference, reports were rife that the indaba was organized to topple President Peter Mutharika government which PAC’s Secretary General, Fr.Peter Mulomole denied arguing that Malawians have a democratic right to hold a lawful assembly anywhere in the country without intimidations.
However it is shallow thinking like this that shows that even respected and learned people like Blessings Chinsinga took a narrow view of what is going on in the country which left them to come to this conclusion.
The only accidental President in Malawi was Joyce Banda. She became President due to the untimely death of Bingu WA Mutharika. Joyce Banda however did not become Vice President by accident she was a very seasoned politician with a lot of experience after serving in several cabinet positions.
I can defend each Presidents ascendancy to the office and the long path they took to get there in another article. However this is about PAC and a well-publicized meeting that appears to have been all talk and no serious discussions of coming with solutions to what ails Malawi now and since independence.
In his presentation titled, “How long must it take for us to reach the Promised Land”, Professor Chinsinga observed that Malawi has had leaders who attained power opportunistically with personal interests by looting from public coffers leaving poor Malawians with nothing.
There is no denying that each President including Kamuzu Banda embezzled from the Malawi treasury, however attributing all the woes in the country to this is not seeing the forest from the trees. The problems facing our country are larger than the office of the President. It is meetings like one that has just concluded that should start by changing their agendas. There has been enough pointing fingers instead of coming together as a country with solutions.
Can you imagine if the agenda at the meeting was, what can we do to help our fellow Malawians? It is very easy to blame someone else. Malawians should start look among themselves rather than blaming someone else.
“After enduring 30 years of dictatorship, the multiparty political dispersion would accord all the people regardless of their tribe, class, region opportunities for social-economic prosperities but that’s not happening. This is why we call a broken system through accidental Presidents Malawi has had since 1994.
“The country’s broken system is due to mismanagement of the transition process from one party rule to multiparty where we were just very excited fighting to get rid Dr. Kamuzu Banda era without thinking how we are going to replace it with sustainable ways of development.
“Basically for the past 20 years we have been governed by try and error leaders. Therefore, for correction of these mistakes made so far, we need political parties which have concrete fundamental political base project where all people will seat together on how could be done to transform this country instead of having leaders who come from a group of people opportunistically”, observes Dr. Chinsinga.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chinsinga’s observation has received with mixed reaction from different political parties and scholars which The Maravi Post monitored on the private owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) with others disputing the claims arguing that each president the nation has had contributed something towards development.
“It’s a wrong argument in the sense that our economic history has been bad since 1979 when the world had oil global crisis and the beginning of structural adjustments and since then we have had economic challenges though the Dr. Chinsinga is trying to paint the picture that our economy was working before attaining multiparty in 1994”, argues Dr. Bright Molande, a scholar of post-colonial studies who is also a Director of Information.
Echoing on the same, Ken Ndanga, United Democratic Front (UDF)’s Spokesperson saying Chinsinga’s remarks was an overstatement regarding to achievements each leaders Malawi has had when were in power.
“We respect his credentials but we take this statement as an opinion which can be challenged. Any president who ruled Malawi had their achievements and shortfall therefore it’s very important when making these statements to look on what these leaders did to the nation.
Therefore, to say that they didn’t do anything is an overzealous and wrong statement”, challenges Ndanga.
Public Affairs Committee is one of the powerful religious grouping whose influence on Malawi’s political scene is undisputable which is comprise of Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Malawi Councils of Churches (MCC), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Quadria Association of Malawi (QAM) and Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM).
PAC’s mandate begs from it to remain apolitical while offering solutions and suggestions to authorities at all levels of society.
Apart from fighting for democracy during 1994 elections, PAC was also instrumental in thwarting former president Bakili Muluzi’s infamous third term and open term bids.