WE have the Power!

Today we celebrate that Malawi gained her independence 54 years ago from the British colonialists. Strides have been made but is there really that much to celebrate?

Not wanting to pour cold water over the gains that we have made as a country, I feel that we are way far behind where we ought to have been. We have crippling power shortages with the sole electricity provider neck deep in self inflicted problems. The public health system is broken with donors, whom we were meant to have been independent from, providing essential drugs year after year. Environmental degradation is taking place at alarming levels with very few people even caring. Should I even get started on education and corruption?

If one honestly reflects on how we got where we are today it is easy to find that the finger of blame points back to everyone of us. You and me. We passive citizens! We are reluctant to raise a finger and get to work on community projects except where there is some form of remuneration. Where we have elected or entrusted others to do the work, we fail to hold them accountable. Instead we will very happily and enthusiastically clap and ululate as they take us down the road to the bottom. Then we look up to them for solutions to the very same problems they just drove us into. The irony!

Sometimes we have this thinking that just because we support a leader we always have to be defending their poor judgements and actions and not criticise them. Pointing out an error to leadership is a greater show of loyalty than it is disloyalty. Our constant blind praises has crippled our leaders time and again over the past 54 years. Yet we don’t learn.

A cartoon from the Nation Newspaper in the 1990’s. Decades later people will be fed the same half truths!

As we huddle around our TV sets to watch interviews, listen out for press briefings or check social media to see the results of political party conventions, it is very easy to see that the more things change the more they seem to remain the same. It is seeming high unlikely that this party replacing that party or this individual replacing that individual will be the golden ticket to prosperity. As has been the case in the past, and will most likely be for years to come, within a few months of elections the same characters we have seen cozying up to consecutive ruling elites will have wriggled their way into the new administration in some shape or form.

WE are the solution!

We are the solution to our problems. We who steal drugs from the government pharmacy and sell them in the local market. We who do not give a damn about how our careless dumping could poison a whole community downstream. We who casually waltz into work late and see absolutely no problem with it. We Facebook and Twitter activists who don’t bother registering to vote but instead throw tantrums online about how Malawi is a failed state and it is everybody else’s problem except ours.

Time to get off our high horses and get to work is now! How about we start with taking care of mother earth – it is the only earth we have. Then we canvas old classmates and knock together those broken desks at our former school. Play a part in getting help to that neighbour hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting addicted do drugs. Not waiting for your leaders but instead finding solutions to the numerous ills around us. We all have a part to play.

We have the power to turn Malawi into the country we would like it to be! We are the solution!

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Austin Madinga's Life Unbound