Malawi achievers, Foreign policy

Thandeka Mkandawire ranks among very few Malawians that have achieved much far and greater things that as a country we should have been proud and used their achievements for greater good. Recently the prestigious Rhodes University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in recognizing his work and achievements. We have a young Malawian Joe Mlenga who will be joining the Rhodes community and this cannot be considered something that is expected. I wish to congratulate Prof. Mkandawire and Mlenga for the Rhodes Honours. This comes to mind how quickly our great poets and academics such as Jack Mapanje and David Rubadiri whom I have heard from so many people here at Harvard and beyond asking. Wole Sonyinka and others have become symbols of their nations and ambassadors promoting good. Apart from the two, people like Goodall Gondwe made an impact at the IMF, early May 2007 when I visited the institution I heard fascinating stories on how he used to move from office to office meeting his juniors and seniors alike to hear them. I was proud to be a Malawian when a room full of World Bank and IMF officials, one screamed, "Malawi is unique, it has its best leadership in the Presidency and Minister of Finance."
I hope the this Leadership given at the global institutions will extend into recognition of our achievers and use them as ambassadors to promote Malawi's values.
Very rarely do our embassy organise talks in Universities and invite the Rubadiri's, the Malewezi's and others to speak. Malewezi's latest book co-authored with people that include Jefrey Saachs can be used to promote the country's new found zeal to deal with poverty, attract investment and promote general tourism.
Further, I find disturbing that a year can go apart from National day, 6 July, activities to promote Malawi are generally underfunded. Why we even send diplomats and pay them without supporting their work is a question of that our Leaders can collectively find wisdom to address.
I addressed the East Coast Forum on Foreign Relations (The speech will be uploaded later in the week) in Maine, hearing them interested in Malawi's foreign policy was greatly touching. Unfortunately as a Journalist and citizen, I am yet to see a copy of our Foreign policy.
I spoke on PEPFAR, Usaid procedures, subsidies and need for open markets and SADC regional intergration.
I believe we can find our role as a strategic player in developing a "New Africa" and Malawi as a model if we are able to use our already achievers to be ambassadors at all forums.
I imagine a very big advert, "Can Africa ever change" Prof. Mutharika, Prof. Mkandawire and Prof. Rubadiri discuss Malawi's role in Africa at ABC Hall in London or Paris.
I am sure African centres of studies at several Universities and many players will want to listen to the three.
Malewezi in Germany talking, "Why Aids matters."
Gilton Chiwaula, our own Ambassador in Germany speaking, 'Tackling corruption in Africa-the Case for Good Governance" at Berlin centre, he was a first Director for the Anti-Corruption bureau.
Imagine a Malawi Night, with poets and book recitations from Prof. Emeritus Chimombo, Jack Mapanje, DR. Ken Lipenga, Prof. Rubadiri and music by Chechamba and Stonald Lungu in Johannesburg, London or Madrid.
The G8 Finance Ministers have just put Africa back on top agenda. The discontent in the war in Iraq can bring Africa as a refreshing topic. And Malawi can lead the pack as a model by using its already many ambassadors in the most effective way.
I recall one of Bingu's talk was publishing Malawi's who is who both at home and those in the diaspora. I can offer to work and collect information for free and create website for it, if some can volunteer to collect and later Government to develop programmes to promote the use of such people to come back and work at home for some months and return to their bases.
It can be done if the next budget includes these Ambassadors and our real diplomats getting enough funding to promote the country at every major International event.
Let me end with this over view from a friend in Malawi, when I asked to brief me on issues Malawi is addressing well and those that we fail to do so. Of great importance and touching was his view of what I call the "theory of individualism" that dominates all sectors and it is killing a vibrant collective society. Chiefs Like Mbelwa and Kaomba, Politicians who believe they are the best thing that has happened to Malawi or wants to be Life Presidents to Football stars who think the are indispensable,

Hi Ko,
Education in Malawi, especially the quality is improving though at a slow pace. The former regime plundered it, it was continuously going towards the negative side. With the effort applied by the current regime, it started slowing down until it reached an equilibrium point and hence improving at a slow pace. It also requires change of mindset by the students themselves.
Health is fine now because it deteriorated mainly because of theft of drugs. With the intensified fight against corruption, has seen the sector doing extremely well.
The youth were the most rejected group during the last regime. Though Roy Commsy was elected the youngest M.P ever, and probably the youngest ever elected in Africa, perhaps the whole world, the then Government saw nothing unique here. I am glad that Malawi now acknowledged the success both at individual and national levels. Youthful individuals gained courage and started participating in politics. The populace responded by giving them the authority to participate in this art, the art of running the affairs of the Government.
The highest authority has also followed suit by incorporating this group into the Executive arm of the Government.
The likes of Billy Kaunda, Ellock Maotcha, Felton Mulli, 'Gift Mwamondwe', Yunus Mussa have just been appointed into the cabinet representing over 70% of the new faces in cabinet.
Politics itself is overshadowed by individualism. Most of our politicians think largely about themselves before they even think people out there also need them to improve their well being. Selfishness and jealous are the order of the day. Malawian politicians would like to see Malawi suffering at the expense of itching to get to the Hot Seat. They don't care as long as it them who are there. Any good policies formulated by their opponents can not to them qualify to be good until it comes from them.
Generally Malawi is doing pretty good in as far as economics is concerned. Unfortunately economics has a different meaning by different people of different academic backgrounds. Others think economics is money in peoples' pocket, how, they don't care. Though others would want to distort facts about the economy deliberately to win favours from the electorates, the fact about our economy is common knowledge.
Hope ypu're doing fine. Greet all who deserve to hear from me.

Kondwani's end note: How simple can simple Malawian provide an analysis of our "great politicians." I am off road hitting several US states prior to returning to Malawi!


ahmed said…
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work from home

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