The barrage of criticism that President Joyce Banda has been receiving over the past months may have left her wondering what wrong she has done. However, what JB should know is that it is the huge expectation that people had in her ascendancy that is making them angry when she starts showing some traits of her predecessor, no matter how mundane the actions
may be.

What Malawians now need is a presidency that inspires hope. We don’t need to compare JB with Kamuzu Banda, Bakili Muluzi or Bingu wa Mutharika. We need to compare her with our needs as a nation. We can only learn from the past and build on the future.

The issue of declaration of assets is a good example. Whether constitutional or not, Malawians want the president to come out openly and declare what wealth she had before becoming President.

Malawians don’t want a government that acts big or with an attitude of defending everything. JB should be told that Malawians hate stubborn governments. Many Malawians played their own roles to ensure that the constitution is respected, leading to JB becoming President. It was not supporters of one party who fought for freedom that weekend when DPP [Democratice Progressive Party] gurus wanted to rape the constitution and put their own kind in State House.

As Malawians, we have every right to speak out if we think our government is getting it wrong. This administration owes it to the people who have fought for freedom including those who died on July 20, to start listening and move away from the outrageous display of authority that our Presidency shows to its own people. If JB cannot give us something different, then that is an insult to Malawians.

In the past seven months, there are things JB has done well but there are also things she has failed on. A good government listens and looks for solutions instead of going on the defensive. JB is still enjoying considerable public support and there is no better time than this for her to give Malawians a different government, which is something they have only dreamt of. Don’t take this goodwill and support for granted. Give us a government that respects and serves us.

But then this is Malawi where even the best people stop listening when they have power. They don’t want to be checked or criticised. They only start listening again after they lose power. Governments must learn to listen and serve.

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