Like other countries, Malawi is country that is blessed with many resources including human resources. Malawians have also scattered to many corners of the world and many of them are residing in countries where if we can play our cards right, we can leverage on our ties to those countries for the benefit of our country. However, there seems to be a very huge rift between Malawians on the ground and those in the Diaspora. I believe that this rift needs to be included in the factors that are contributing to the stagnation and retrogression of Malawi.
Sadly, most movers and shakers on the ground regard their fellow Malawians abroad as threats not partners. One of the elements driving this is envy (nsanje) which even etched in our national anthem as one of Malawi’s prime enemies. If we do not tackle envy among our peoples, we will not progress at all. People on the ground need to learn that most Malawians who in the Diaspora, their hearts are in Malawi and it is in the best interest of the nation that we all embrace each other so we can leverage on all that we have access to – for the sake of Malawi. Many countries in Africa are moving forward fast because the movers and shakers on the ground have realized that embracing their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora benefits both parties. I was saddened when on one of my recent trips to Malawi, I visited one of my friends, a mover and shaker, in his office and during our chat he called me a foreigner. At first I thought it was a joke but he repeated his claim and went on to say that “Malawi does not need you guys who left the country. You guys are traitors. We do not need you here. We are the ones who will fix this country. We do not need your help”. My response to this was “Malawi will not be developed by only Malawians in Malawi but Malawians here and in Diaspora collaborating to create Malawian solutions”.
Malawi’s progress will indeed come from contributions from all of us. We shall fix Malawi together whether from outside Malawi or on the ground. However, it is incumbent upon Malawians on the ground to incorporate criticisms, contributions and resources from Malawians in the Disapora into the solutions that are needed on the ground. The sad thing is that many people especially the movers and shakers on the ground despise any observations, criticisms and contributions from Disaporans just because they are not on the ground. I believe that this is part of the mindset shifts that needs to happen in our quest to effectively transform Malawi. We need to embrace each other and work together so we can leverage on all that is and who is at our disposal.
Other countries have transformed in recent years through leveraging of resources from those on the ground and in the Diaspora. This has been so because those one the ground have FIRST embraced their fellow brothers and sisters in the Diaspora and the country is benefiting and progressing.
It is very saddening to note that most movers and shakers on the ground in Malawi believe that they are the only ones who have solutions for Malawi just because they are on the ground. I would like to submit this assertion that Malawi will not be fixed by Malawians in Malawi alone. And by the same token, I also believe that Malawians in the Disapora cannot just think that they can just distribute some magic pill to Malawians and Voila! Things will change. Malawi’s solutions shall come from honest and meticulous collaboration between those with goodwill on the ground and those with goodwill in the Disapora. This idea of trashing fellow Malawians and their contributions or criticism of the status quo on the ground just because they are not there with you on the ground is extremely retrogressive at the least. Some of the people doing this are doing it either out of misplaced envy or threats to their status quo because some of them are thriving in the chaos prevailing on the ground. And with all due respect, some of them are activists who believe that because they they agitate against the status quo or they go to the villages to run one or two foreign funded projects, then they have all the solutions and do not want to listen to Malawians in the Disapora.
The main catalyst to changing this facet of our problems will be Malawians in Malawi accepting that even though they are the ones close to the issues on the ground, they also need to embrace their fellow Malawians outside so we can enhance our efforts to bring about transformation and progress.
Imagine this idea of transforming our process for appointing Board Members of our state corporations by including Malawians who are in the Disapora. With the use of technology, information can be shared with all members wherever they are and everyone can make their expected contributions. This will allow leveraging on many resources that those members in the Disapora have access to. I worked as an Expatriate for Eskom South Africa for 4.5 years from 2009 to 2013 delivering in Business Improvement, Utility Systems, Process Re-engineering, Risk Management, Information Security, Disaster Recovery, Quality Management and Compliance. Can’t Escom Malawi leverage on such from its own son? Boards usually scheduled quarterly meetings. To come and attend meetings, the company does not have to buy me a ticket. I am going home anyway. I might miss a meeting in a year just like other members on the ground, but with technology we can telecollaborate for the missed meetings.
Other countries are doing it. We shall and must fix Malawi together from inside and the Disapora.
Malawians in Malawi, I pray that you embrace your brothers, sisters, sons and daughters wherever they are. Nanunso a Malawi uko kunjako. Ambirinu muli ndi mwayi wochita zambiri mmakwanu. Kadzitukulani makwanu abale. I have learnt that it doesn’t take take too much to make a difference mmakwathumu.
Let us Tear Down This Rift!
Let’s Do This!