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Tag Archives: Public Service

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These boards were laid across the capital city, Lilongwe, to commemorate the 52nd Independence anniversary. The mediocrity on display could not anger many Malawians who accepted them without question. 

OF LATE, it has been disheartening to interact with people from the homeland. The sadness punctuating every sentence spoken and the weight of hope at the end of every conversation often becomes too difficult to bear. It is yet another legacy added to the catalogue of failures Malawi is bestowing on her people.

The national soul has been repeatedly violated and tortured by a governance system which always conspires to undermine the confidence of the people it’s meant to serve. This repeated assault on the national soul, occurring over many years and streamlined through our shallow politics, has frighteningly dislodged our sense of alertness as a people.

As a painful result, most Malawians have ended up without any kind of expectation, idea and intimate association with their citizenship. What does it mean to be Malawian? What duty do we have, the whole lot of us, towards negotiating our scarred past, an utterly confused present and an uncertain future?

There are many things that should, in normal circumstances, make us angry and be able to voice that anger until substantive positive action is taken. But nothing ever appears sufficiently wrong for us to rise up and demand that those responsible for the systematic oppression and deliberate under-development in Malawi are taken to task. Read More

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Whenever I think about the young people in Malawi, two incidents that mirror the state of Malawian youths come to mind. Both are not pretty. One is the killing of Epiphania Bonjesi and the other is how, during election periods, young people drench themselves in paint, to reflect their political choices.

In 2004, nine year-old Epiphania was killed by – so we are made to believe – a stray bullet during a police altercation with protesters following the announcement of election results. Over the years, the memory of this girl has been relegated to the dustbin, never to be remembered again.

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The Malawi flag at Independence. Is the sun rising on the young people who are in majority?

Epiphania had a dream. She would have been twenty-one this year and only God knows what sort of girl she would have turned out to be and what sort of dreams she would have nurtured along the way. Yet, that dream went down with that bullet, violently shattering her hopes, dreams and aspirations. That this was caused by men and women who swore to protect and serve her is, perhaps, much more painful than the bullet itself.

More significantly, Epiphania would have had the opportunity to vote – for the very first time in her life – in the 2014 tripartite elections. To think of what opportunities have been lost to this girl, and to her family is heart-breaking. Hers is a death that could have been avoided, it’s a loss that was unnecessary and it is something that this country should be ashamed of having witnessed. Read More

WITH OVER a month and a half now gone since the government financial scandal hash-tagged #cashgate erupted, are we closer to understanding the underlying causes why it happened? We can classify the reasons why this happened from simplest to most complex. Going by the earliest statements that were offered in September, the simplest explanation can be caricatured as “IFMIS made me do it.” It came from commentators whose first explanation was that the Integrated Financial Management Information System was faulty.
The most complex explanation thus far as to why cashgate happened has been that we may have transitioned from one-party rule into multiparty rule without having dealt with the question as to the kind of public service ethos the new dispensation would require. Read More

THE so-called Capital Hill cashgate scandal might not have reached – as yet – the magnitude of the financial disaster that occurred on Wall Street, leading to the global financial crisis. However, by our own standards as a nation – and we have very low standards – this is a massively big occurrence.

Apart from the ‘breaking’ stories of what latest arrest has been made, an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) press statement and so on, the earth in Malawi is not exactly moving, is it? Quite clearly, Malawians are excited about this latest scandal and this has been sufficient fodder for discussions in minibuses, pubs and even churches. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are in near explosion.

In the doom and gloom of this latest scandal, which is national problem to deal with, there are several opportunities for how Malawi can be made to function better and serve the interests of the people as it is wont to do. I say this is a national problem because its not a PP, DPP, UDF or even MCP thing. Recent attempts to pin the financial scandal on specific political parties that have been in power crucially misses the point, masks the depth of the scandal and prevents tangible reforms from taking place.

Understandably, there will be people who wish to score political mileage out of this whole scandal. That is expected but it is very unfortunate, given the fact that most of the politicians currently occupying positions of power in the present government have been part of previous regimes, which are probably complicit in this scandal as well. Malawians must not lose sight of this fact.

Hence, it is important that the public protects itself from being misled by officialdom. The media in Malawi are the ones that are most likely to become complicit – wittingly or unwittingly – in the conveyance of such officialdom, regurgitating press statements and only relying on government officials for comment and sometimes analysis. We all know how underfunded investigative journalism is in our country’s newsrooms.

Finally, the demand for reforms in the public sector should be underpinned by the introduction of a new value system, a system that inspires integrity, honesty and great love for Malawi. If we entrust people who actually love Malawi more than themselves and their pockets to run this country, we will be headed for somewhere great.

To get to this point, however, we will need to redefine ourselves as a nation. Who are we? What are our individual responsibilities towards the country?

“And part of that redefining,” a friend wrote on Facebook recently, “will need to include an acknowledgement of the responsibilities of those of us who have benefited from communal resources to go to school and to learn these new forms of governance. That privilege hasn’t been extended to our brothers and sisters in the unschooled classes. And, we have told them that traditional knowledge is forbidden; we are going with the new, imported systems. We have, in effect, arrested the development of indigenous knowledge. We can’t shun our responsibility now. We have to blame ourselves, not the multitudes deprived of this alienating knowledge.”

Malawi must live!

Contribution by @LeviKabwato

– thoughts@thinkingmalawi.com

@ThinkingMalawi