On Monday night, I joined thousands of people at Arlington in Boston, Massachussettes to watch beutiful fireworks commemorating the 235th Independence of the United States of America. Over the Weekend I was among the Malawian community in Washington DC, who came together to commemorate our 6th July indepence celebrations. In between the two events, ny thoughts turned to those women who die every minute during or post delivery period. Those Malawians who today are being subjected to very poisonous Anti-Retroviral Drugs because Government claims it cannot afford the other type of drugs.
My independence thoughts, created more of a gloomy picture as thousands of vehicle owners and drivers are being denied a rest as they stay all night looking for fuel which has become a precious commodity.
My thoughts wondered how could my President, someone I admired and still hope will come to his senses and save his reputaion, could change so much and fail to grasp the basic details like the lowest paid Civil Servant at grade R carts home K8,000 monthly and the new taxes will just push them into poverty.
I wondered if my President knows that even China still applies for funds from Global Fund as many developing countries to fight its HIV and Aids programme. The United States still borrows to finance its expenditures- therefore- there is nothing wrong with us ranked together with war torn countries from getting handouts from the United Kingdom, our former colonial power.
I wondered how much the President and his Cabinet were sacrificing, when their salaries and perks keep going up, their tax exemptions, duty expemptions yet they are frequent flyers and many other tax benefits they have awarded themselves.
You start thinking if these people are really Christians or Moslems or Amakolo as they profess to be and if they really fell sorry for that child who cannot go to school becuase the money for teachers salaries was spent in paying for urgency trip for the President.
One starts wondering if at 77 one would be interested to keep flying into all destinations including expensive holidays in Portugal and Australia when the USA president, the richest country in the world flies to his home Hawaii.
I look back and see the tarnished legacy of former President Bakili Muluzi, who in his political life as a President, championed Human Rights, Free Speech and Democracy until he wanted a third term. His statesmanship was sold for lust.
President Muluzi had a legacy to preserve had he wanted, he was the first to bring Kabila of DR Congo and Kagame of Rwanda together, the same with Museveni of Uganda and Al Bashir of Sudan. He played a role also in Burudi peace process. He was A Chair of SADC and Comesa at different times. Everything is forgotten except his other legacy- wanting to stay longer than intended.
Mutharika started as unpopular man, getting 33 percent of total votes, which meant 67 precent did not trust him. He worked hard and earned evey Malawian interest. He raised his popularity of 70 percent.
Today, one just has to go in filling stations and minibuses to gauge how unpopular President Bingu wa Mutharika has become.
But here we are, still trying to search our place in history. Trying to be Malawians of repute by taking up Chairmanship of the African Union but we never were given space on international media as our focus did not include priorities in Africa.
Here is a nation 19 years into democracy, Goverment wants to be heard before an injunction is passed, private and independent newpspapers like Nation face isolation, banishment and denial of tax paid advertising, yet Nation pays tax, just like the 200 plus its employees remits the same for the President, Cabinet and Parliament to be paid.
Where is equity in Malawi today?
Is every Malawian really equal before the Law, outside the law and even the socio-political realm?
Who does Malaw belong to, the people or the rulers? What is the role of Presidents and other elected officials when they change laws to deny elections at local governance structures.
How can we insist on firing lecturers who were demanding Academic Freedom when we have been crying of brain drain and inavailability of qualified academicians?
How does Government led by the President which collects my tax, turn aroud and blame me,opposition and others for failing to plan to purchase fuel or create avenues for creation of more foreign exchange.
There are so many questions like if we are serious about cuts, why do we still have 43 Ministers whose specialisation now is to gossoip among themselves.
What happens next, where do we go from here, are we sure this is the leadership we want in the next decade?
The biggest weakness of the constitution is the it does not provide procedures for impeachment of any leader in any position.
Leaders who have ruled Malawi have had not many principals excped self enrichment. We might choose to play party politics, but I choose to spek of reality./
Reality is that we have failed, our future is now uncertain each passing day and now it is time we asked our leaders to account for themselves why they deserve to be there when they have no idea what is going on.
This independence day should be time for reflection and the first time our leaders erecognised that they do not own Malawi, niether do they have God given right to deny any Malawian like Nation newspaper access to tax payers resources.
Malawi is for Malawians and the leaders are elected to serve interests of the people and not just theirs.
A just and rightful society will be breed of honest and hardworking leaders who sacrifice their well being for the sake of the nation.
Leaders willing to use commercial airlines over expensive private jets.
Leaders willing to allow Malawians enjoy their freedoms including speech, access to effective remedy and not generate things like injunctions bill.
Leaders willing to drive a Camry not a Mercedes and knowing that it is not the vehicle or ambiance of the position, but the the delivery of service that people will remember us for when we are all long gone.
Leaders who fear God and know that they were given a chance to govern by God.
Leaders who recognise that one day they will go out of power
Leaders who recognise that Malawians own their country and very proud people.
Unfortunately where we are coming from our Leaders assume semi-god status and think we have become "stupid" and ignorant and that they know better than the other 13 million people.
What we have this independence day is a great crisis that any normal Leader would cancel celebrations and hold National Church service to pray to God to give us solutions.
Our independence has no meaning, even if we replace flag by colours we Leaders wanted- the truth is on the ground that we remain a poor country and the majority of our people are struggling.
It is not the Malawians that are faliures, our three past President's have displayed massive faliure requiring only God intervention for them to listen and act.
Otheriwse- HAPPY 6 JULY MALAWI!