Several weeks before May 20 this year, my entry was “It pains to be Malawian”. At this time, there was no talk of federalism, secession or decentralisation as one thing was clear: JB was headed for her first victory. Alas! it ended on a different scenario as APM emerged winner under disputed elections.
Then some Northern politicians, because JB had lost, started the war-like talk of secession, independence and federalism. You can’t stop people to think this way.
I reproduce that entry to show what Malawi needs most: Decentralisation. So, here we go:
I am still baffled why Atupele and JB all promised to build a stadium and an international airport in Mangochi-of all places, when they hit the district recently to campaign for high office.
But of course it has to do with politics and a bit of taking advantage of the illiteracy of villagers as May 20 approaches faster.
Mangochi, for what I know, is known for its tourism through beautiful hotels, lodges, rest houses and sandy beaches, hot weather, Yao culture, mosquitoes, fish trade, mosques and churches. And you can throw in quite a considerable level of prostitution as one of the attractions of Mangochi.
I can safely say that Mangochi is also the bedroom of the yellow party of Atupele. I really don’t know how far the orange party has made inroads into this lakeshore district.
First, it was Atupele, the man of ‘Agenda for Change’ that told a huge rally that once voted into power, he will build a stadium and an international airport in the district. Don’t worry about the locations of these facilities—whether in Makanjira, Katuli, Namwera, Monkey Bay, Mpondasi or Chimwala, but what is obvious is that an international airport needs quite a chunk of land.
And then JB was there also, talking about building the same facilities if she gets her own mandate to rule-or ruin-the country for the next five years. JB repeated what AAM had promised to their large crowds, never mind they could have been the same people.
I am still baffled as to why Mangochi should all of a sudden deserve a stadium and an international airport. Both these facilities don’t come cheap.
Mangochians, for sure, like most Malawians, love to watch grassroots football. For free. But I have yet to find out whether there is serious football in this district.
Besides, it’s the duty of a district assembly to think of building a stadium. That’s the role of district assemblies if decentralisation should be meaningful. Not politicians such as Joyce and Atupele to decide for a district.
Let us agree one thing: Mangochi is the ultimate tourism destination in Malawi. The other touristic attraction-Monkey Bay—is not yet fully developed. It deserves an international airport, and not an international stadium. But even for an airport, that’s for the future until investors come in with their dollars to pump into the airport project.
Even if an airport was built, will it benefit the villagers in Mangochi as all revenue through taxes and likewise would be recouped by Capital Hill for use elsewhere or for the money to be looted—that you know very well what happens if Cashgate is anything to go by.
For a stadium, wait a minute. Well, a stadium like the size of Balaka run by the Balaka Assembly is quite in order for holding events at district level. After all, the stadium would generate some income-and possibly produce a team that may compete in the super league.
But come to think about it, were the people of Mangochi asked what they want in their lives by the two politicians? Or did the two politicians make a research that showed Mangochi people need a stadium and an international airport?
I doubt it.
Atupele’s ‘Agenda for Change’ looked promising to me at one point. One of the issues was to create jobs for the masses. I doubt how a stadium and an airport can create lots of jobs that would make a difference.
And to promise Mangochians these facilities is like promising them the moon.
And then we have Joyce’s ‘Transformative Agenda’—whose fruits can be seen as a few lucky orange supporters have either been given cows, goats and have their grass-thatched houses rehabilitated with iron sheets and brick walls, thanks to the Mudzi Transformation Fund (MTF), the orange party’s trademark and whose source of funds remains a mystery to date.
I have yet to see a supporter from the MCP, DPP, UDF or any other party being given the cows or have their shovels rehabilitated.
Tell you what, I am terribly disappointed with the lack of clear policies advanced by JB, Lazarus Chakwera, Atupele Muluzi, Peter Mutharika, Mark Katsonga, John Chisi, Kamuzu Chibambo, Nyundo, Hellen Singh, Friday Jumbe and Davies Katsonga ( a brother to Mark), who all want to get to state house on flimsy and outdated promises.
What do Malawians want? Let me tell you guys: Food and jobs, and plenty of both. An economy that grows, drugs in hospitals, improved social facilities and a quick end to poverty.
Malawi needs leaders who can really feel the pain of being poor and not those who can openly enrich themselves.
My last shot: I hardly wish any of them lucky because I don’t see any presidential material committed to ending the country’s poverty.
If it was possible, we should have borrowed a president from elsewhere who should have come to develop this country, using the same resources, rather than have thieves and vagabonds.
It pains to be Malawian!
My take: Can you blame the likes of those Northern politicians calling for a federalism, independence or secession? Everybody wants power; everybody wants to decide their own destiny. Central government decides development.