Hard Talk Versus Hard Facts

Saulos, Zainab in the studio

I have always been amazed at how as a people Malawians are full of self-pity, self-insulting and full on inferiority complex. It is always the case that when the same things are happening in out of Malawi, the country and its social media will be full of praise at how others are doing good and we as a nation are hopeless.

That is why the BBC hard talk that featured the Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima was very critical for me. My focus was not about how good or bad SKC performed. Reading the comments from the supporters of SKC one would assume this was the best performance ever on hard talk. Those of the DPP and MCP persuasion will have you believe that this was the worst possible hard talk on BBC.

My focus will be on the hard facts revealed in that interview.

The reasons I will not be taking sides on the performance of SKC is not based on my political affiliations but on that fact that politicians are very interesting people. The hard talk simply reinforced this view for me.

Politicians and their ways are beyond understanding.  Their values when they exist, are very different from those of the rest of us. I don’t necessary mean that in a complimentary way. I am not going to add fuel of the debate on “constitutional rights and ages above 35”. I know that politicians and indeed, most of outside politics always exaggerate our importance and have large hearts and a thick skin but politicians, especially Malawian politicians are on another level.

Zainab with Mutharika

However, that should not mean that doing politics leads individuals to lose their honour, integrity, and values. What type of men
will stand tall when their values, character, integrity and honour is no longer there for people to see?

As a Malawian, I was almost shocked when the BBC hard talk presenter started listing the achievements Malawi as a nation has done. I almost shouted “DPP cadet” or some other slogans that are always associated with those brave Malawians who can stand say good
things about a political opponent.

Malawians believe that Malawi is the worst in everything. Is it by surprise that there is total black out on the report that was released by Oxfam International last week stating that Malawi is among the top ten countries trying so hard to reduce inequality. Why did we not read, view or hear of the World Bank’s Human Capacity Index that put Malawi ahead of its neighbours in the region? My conclusion is because it was going to make Malawi look better and those who believe Malawi can never do anything good have no incentive to go against their own beliefs.

These should be sober times and times of introspection and self-appraisal when we all should be mindful of the days ahead before the elections in May 2019. But our politicians and media are hyper excited, engaged in reporting violence and vote buying in party primary
elections in which only card-carrying party members are involved. As a nation we are so used to bad news that when there is good news to be shared the first reaction is that of disbelief and then denial.

If that does not suffice then the nation finds a reason to accuse the bearer of the good news as false prophets, a party cadet or suddenly the tribe of the news bearer becomes important.

It was great to hear that people outside Malawi, for example, the BBC hard talk presenter who I think has no reasons to support one party against another in Malawi stated without fear and favour that the country is making strides in infrastructure and economic
management. The hard facts are there for all of us to see and celebrate.

Take for example the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of Malawi met on 25th and 26th September 2018 which resolved to keep the Policy rate unchanged at 16.0 percent and Liquidity Reserve Requirement (LRR) at 7.5 percent. This piece of important information was almost left unreported and no debate ensued on what are the benefits of keeping such a rate unchanged would be to the business environment.

So, as we get closer to the elections perhaps it will be beneficial for Malawians to fucs on the hard facts and not on the hard talk despite the fact that talking in Malawi is everyone’s constitutional right and this right has no 35-year age limit.