Few days ago, I read an exclusive interview on Maravi Post where they put to task Malawi’s outgoing Ambassador to Japan Major General, Dr Rueben Ngwenya. In the interview, the reporter with his style of questioning forced the Ambassador to give a summary of what the mission in Japan managed to achieve for the people of Malawi under his leadership.I must state here that I was impressed with the achievements. However, as I read the interview, I was moved to write this brief article on what I thought other Malawian Ambassadors can learn from this outgoing Ambassador.
In my view, Malawian Ambassadors wherever they are, must learn to be transparent and accountable. They should stop operating in secrecy as they are currently doing. Truth be told, it is rare to read or hear what our Ambassadors in our foreign missions do for this country. For the many years that I have been around, our Ambassadors go to their missions and come back unnoticed.
What they do right there during their tour of duty is hardly known. Don’t tell me that this is how Ambassadors operate. Big No!
We have foreign missions in this country like the US Embassy in Lilongwe, etc. These missions keep updating all and sundry on what they are doing. Their people go to their website to see what they are doing. There are also other African Ambassadors in other countries who also do a good job in as far as communication is concerned. Talk about the Zambia High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba; he is always updating the people of Zambia on what is going on that side—the opportunities available to the Zambian People, etc.
This is how things ought to be in the 21st century and Major General Dr Reuben Ngwenya scored highly in as far as communication is concerned and no wonder he is rated as a star performer in as far as the art of diplomacy is concerned.
At the rate at which our Ambassadors conduct their business, one can argue that most of them are not performers. If they were performers; they would be communicating to us about their achievements. This is why Major General Dr Reuben Ngwenya was a performer and this is why other Ambassadors need to emulate his example.
For a start, I propose that your missions create facebook pages. It is free to do so. This is a platform where you would be updating us on what is going on that side. The young ones back home here want to hear from you about the scholarship opportunities available that side. They want you to organize academic exchange visits. The country wants to hear lots of great stuff you do—that is if you do any—that side. We want to see how you are selling Peter Mutharika’s development agenda of attracting foreign investors back home here. Is this too much to ask from you?
To Dr Ngwenya; I once again congratulate you for the job well done. You presented our country with honor. We did not hear any bad story of fraud as it is the case with the Ethiopian mission. You are indeed a man of valor. You have set the bar high in as far as the art of diplomacy is concerned. You have left an enviable legacy!
Now that you are coming back home, it is my hope and prayer that you will be given space to implement whatever you have learnt that side in our quest to build a better Malawi. Welcome back home!