OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
Your Excellency, I have outlined below a few areas that perhaps require your immediate attention in order to keep the African dream a reality than a deferred or aborted dream
President, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera,
Your Excellency, may I take this opportunity to extend my congratulations on your successful campaign and the subsequent ascendancy to the highest office in the great land of Malawi. It is indeed persuasive that the legitimate Institution of Traditional Leadership and/ or democratically elected Office Bearers, derive the authority to preside over their countrymen from God, and that is done through the Will of the people. Therefore, the Voice of the people is the Voice of God. In that spirit, may I plead with you, Comrade President, to remember this cardinal principle during your presidential tenure.
Mr. President, I followed with keen interest your consistent resistance to what appeared to be undemocratic practices. Your reliance on the Will of the people, the respect for judiciary and other constitutional institutions impressed upon me that indeed you were determined to free the people of Malawi from the bondage of poverty and undemocratic ideals. What was of the utmost inspiration was your well-oiled election machinery which was further strengthened by the creation of a Tonse Alliance. Your partnership with Deputy President Saulos Klaus Chilima further confirmed a renewed commitment to build a democratic state which frowns upon any form of discrimination, corruption, laziness and autocracy.
However, the hard work has just begun and may you allow me to offer some unsolicited advice from a non-Malawian citizen but a proudly African child. The citizens of Malawi have contributed so-immensely in the development of economies of most SADC member states, for instance; in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They have worked in the agricultural sector, construction industry such as the erection of the strategic Cape to Cairo railway line project and the building of infrastructure in mega cities like Johannesburg. They have participated, along with other Africans, in the most gruesome hard labour on open cast extractive methods and underground mining during the discovery of diamond deposits in Kimberly and other places. As of today, some Malawian citizens remain all over the world still in pursuit of economic freedom and a better future.
The reality is that, there is no better place than home. Therefore, perhaps now is the opportune time, through your promising government, to create a conducive environment in the great land of Malawi. This will, to an extent, encourage the skilled and committed Malawians in diaspora to consider repatriating to participate in the reconstruction of a sustainable economy and peaceful country. Your Excellency, I have outlined below a few areas that perhaps require your immediate attention in order to keep the African dream a reality than a deferred or aborted dream:
Political Stability and Social Cohesion: (i) The government needs to focus on the enhancement of freedom of expression, association and unity amongst the people of Malawi. It is evident that most African countries are experiencing political instability due to the lack of democratic practices which stifle opposition parties and free press, (ii) The new government of the people must strive to eradicate any form of discrimination based on ethnicity, region or gender. Mr President, the beginning of the fall of any nation is the one that does not condemn tribal elevation or regionalism including nepotism. Ethnicity and regionalism are a cancer that has consistently paralysed the progression of the African continent.
Traditional Authority: The institution of African traditional leadership is the oldest structure which existed for centuries in our beautiful continent. I appreciate the constitutional protection of this heritage and the recognition which is given to our traditional structures. However, it would be greatly appreciated that the role of Chiefs, Queens and Kings could be embedded especially in local government affairs in order to protect our culture, heritage and the land which was bequeathed to us by our forefathers.
Governance Systems: (i) The stabilisation of constitutional institutions such as the Judiciary is of paramount importance. I have noted the significant role played by an independent judiciary in your country leading up to the presidential elections and I encourage for such independency to continue unabated, (ii) There should be a sustained commitment to democratise the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to prevent possible capturing of such an important institution that acts as a democracy enabler. For instance, if it was not for the non-partisan MEC, the previous elections would have been stolen, (iii) Equipping the Anti-Corruption Bureau to free Malawi from the agony of corruption which has crippled many African economies. Mr President, corruption has destroyed the social and economic fibre of our continent, the people are hopeless due to corrupt and unethical leaders, (iv) The Office of the Auditor-General should be independent, effective and efficient to ensure the implementation of sound governance systems which encourages transparency, accountability and responsiveness within the public sector, and (v) Professionalisation of the Security Services to create a culture of pledging allegiance to the people and constitution without fear or favour.
Economy: (i) There is a need to eradicate the heavy bureaucracy that creates red tapes in doing business in Malawi. A special focus should be given to emerging small businesses as they play a pivotal role in creating sustainable employment opportunities and contribute to the GDPs of most economies in the world, (ii) The role of the Malawi Revenue Authority needs to be elevated both in terms of world standard regulatory regime, human capital, systems and infrastructure. Most progressive nations that have a stable fiscus rely on their well-managed revenue institutions as a mechanism to raise budget to cater for service delivery commitments, (iii) Agriculture, the farming sector plays a bigger role in the Malawian economy. There is a need to prioritise the support to small scale farmers as your government has already started with the reduction of price for fertilizer. However, farming machinery such as tractors and irrigation systems are required to ensure that Malawi assumes its rightful place as the breadbasket of Africa.
International Relations: Mr President, (i) the SADC region has been partly stable compared to other African blocs. However, there are pockets of areas of concern that need to be addressed and as traditional leaders we count on principled Leaders like yourself. (ii) Free elections are still a pipe dream in some SADC member states, rigging of elections and oppressive regimes are prevalent. (iii) Blatant corruption, maladministration and misappropriation of state resources for the benefits of the elites is still rife. (iv) The principle that politics lead the gun has been lost and the emergence of insurgents in your neighbouring country is worrying. (vi) Illicit financial flows from Africa is a top continental strategic risk which needs to be exterminated with immediate effect as this practice has a causal link to stagnant economic growth and resultant poverty in the continent. (vii) Lastly, the authority of the African Union as a continental body is invisible. As young people, we count on Leaders of your calibre to fight for the suspension of member states that conduct unfair and unfree elections, those that violate human rights and the emerging junta states as coups d'état ought to have no place in Africa.
Your Excellency, I plead with Almighty God to bless you with heavenly wisdom along with your government. May you serve all Malawians regardless of their voting patterns or preferences as you committed. A politically stable and economically prosperous Malawi equates to a stable Southern Africa.
God bless the land of Malawi and Africa.
Prince Mlandu Zanomnombo Kona
Kona is an Advocate and a Traditional Leader in South Africa