Of leadership and direction: Malawi must be joking

Esteemed Raw Stuffers, this other day as JB was ‘inaugurating’ some patch of the Chikhwawa-Bangula Road, the language one heard being interchanged was that of ‘reopening’ or rehabilitating a road.

From others, one was hearing the language of ‘launching’ some works or extending part of the road to link with what the late Moya christened Khulubvi Highway; that is, from Bangula to Nsanje.

Now, now, now, the same road? For those who have been around for some time, aNgwazi genuine did that road at one go and went for the actual opening at once; nothing else. It was a smooth drive as long as it went.

But today, it seems political exuberance to politicise every bit of such type of works is the order of the day, to be seen to be working.

And not long ago, there was the official opening of the much-talked about Karonga-Chitipa Road, which has seen quite some years and funds and some politics. When Acheemwa JB went to officially open the highway, we felt a sigh of relief that the road would finally now be out of our ears.

But what does one hear? A few touches have not been finalised yet; there is some substantial work to be done here and there.

Now, esteemed Raw Stuffers, why the befu with roads? That is the question some are asking in the Republic.

They feel the President and his team are missing the point by making roads a political issue, especially this rainy season when one cannot meaningfully construct a road or when some reputed highways are water-logged due to poor drainage as a result of poor engineering.

Of course, the language is 2014, to be seen to be building the nation and being the favourite come voting time.

Yet, we all know where the nation is bleeding. Food. Yes, Amama JB has done her part. Donors have played their role. Admarc has sold whatever it had. And the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) is saying there is sufficient stock to take care of everyone in the country even if their job does not include distribution. Now, do people go to eat at NFRA?

Esteemed Raw Stuffers, the other day, somebody in Phalombe was saying her children are sleeping on pumpkin leaves day in, day out not only because of the floods that have hit the area and swept away people’s livelihoods, but also that she cannot afford the maize available at the vendors’ stalls; hence, the compounded problem.

Esteemed Raw Stuffers, nobody has seriously said what happens between now and April or thereafter, when new maize is ready in the gardens. That, to us, as Raw Stuffers, is the issue.

Apart from that, there is the massive fraud and corruption we talked about the other day in the Capital where, instead of serving the Republic, a good number of civil servants and their agents are serving their stomachs and families.

There is the issue of drugs which, we must say, are available, but in the wrong hands. Instead of being at public health facilities, they are abundantly found in private and shady clinics as well as health centres.

Why? Pilferage and fraud. One only needs to read the newspapers and see the scale of the plunder. It seems apart from nobody keeping an eye on public drugs, nobody also knows how to track movements of such items.

Yet, this is the age and day of technology, where even basic transporters know which of their trucks is doing what and where, all the way from Blantyre/Lilongwe to the ports of Mozambique—thanks to satellite/car-track technology.

In our case, stories abound of truckloads of medicines destined for district or rural hospitals not reaching their destination but warehouses of some hawks who have found a lucrative market after the State has failed to procure drugs since 2009.

The same story has been said of subsidised fertiliser, which has left a good number of citizens standing with clean coupons like fools, waiting for the same and the rains are almost over.

Is there leadership at the centre? That is what we, to be honest, miss from the days of the real Ngwazi. Efficient planning, purchasing, distribution and monitoring of essential supplies. Today, it seems nobody is watching.

In fact, this made some of us laugh our lungs out when the good Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) and team were launching a refined staff appraisal system this week. To appraise who? And who appraises who in a country where almost every technocrat is never in office in Capital Hill?

Malawi must be joking.

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