Press Corporation Limited (PCL) group chief executive officer Matthews Chikaonda has said Malawi is a sad case of failed leadership at two levels—the elected governing group and the people being governed.
In his presentation at the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Second Stakeholders’ All-inclusive Conference in Blantyre this week, Chikaonda said there is lack of vision, commitment and political will on the part of the governing elite.
He said at the same time, there is failure by the governed to hold government accountable even when there is evidence of clear violation of their mandate.
Said Chikaonda: “These are men/leaders who lived their lives superficially and just skimming the surface, never aware of the attachments beneath. That is why, when people were dying of hunger during the famine of 2002, they could readily say ‘show me who has died’.
“It is impossible to see an elephant in its entirety from one position. You need to go round it to see the whole elephant. Our elected leaders need to see beyond what is just in front of them. They need to see the big picture, the whole picture.”
He said the leadership has often not had the courage to make the tough decisions and explain to the people the rationale behind the required necessary changes in the way business is done.
Said Chikaonda: “Instead, our leaders have focused on the next general elections and opted for an appeasement policy, the pacifiers. Sadly, it is these very approaches that have entrenched and worsened the poverty among our people.”
But Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu on Thursday said Chikaonda was referring to the past administrations, arguing the current People’s Party (PP) regime led by President Joyce Banda is trying all it can to make things right.
He challenged Chikaonda to go in the rural areas and see what PP is doing on poverty reduction, an issue Chikaonda also tackled in his presentation.
Kunkuyu said government would make a substantive response to PAC conference resolutions, making it clear the response he gave was specifically answers to questions The Nation raised based on Chikaonda’s presentation.
Chikaonda said the best way to reduce poverty around the world is to increase the rate of economic growth.
He said: “The only way to increase the rate of economic growth is for governments to put in place policies and institutions that encourage the private sector to become more efficient and productive and to grow faster.
“In this way, the private sector will expand production, increase employment, and pay higher wages and salaries. This is how the rich countries achieved high incomes for most of their citizens.”
Chikaonda, who once served as Minister of Finance in Bakili Muluzi’s United Democratic Front (UDF) administration, said Malawi is fast descending into a nation of mediocrity arising from lack of belief and confidence in Malawians.
He suggested that to achieve stability in the immediate term, the Banda administration will have to convince the donors that government has changed positively enough to get funds flowing once more, and that the government is committed to its own austerity.