Malawi 24

53 years of independence or in dependence?

With anguish and sympathy, I am obliged to convey my heartfelt condolence to the bereaved families of the innocent eight souls lost in the name of our 53rd Independence Day Celebrations.

Had the gates been opened by 6:30am to allow free entry of people as planned, lives of seven children would not have been lost.

As regards to why there was such a three-hour delay, nobody knows and probably nobody will be taken to task.

Nevertheless, eight lives have been lost, with dozens more reportedly injured.

That aside, I have more questions than answers regarding this phenomenon of independence in Malawi. Perhaps, some chips are missing for this jigsaw to come into one piece.

Lives were lost at this stadium. (Image credit- Waltons in Malawi )

At times, I stand perplexed as regards to why we Malawians become jubilant and ululate when 6th July comes. Sadly, this year we have even sacrificed lives. Why, Malawi? Why?

International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its economic development document for Malawi issued in May 2017 points out that Malawi remains an outlier even compared to its peers that are geographically and demographically similar and were at a similar stage of development in 1995. Simply put, Malawi is staggering as compared to other countries that she was on the same level with 22 years ago.

Gazette Review in its Top 10 Poorest Countries in the World – 2017 List, still maintains that access to education, general standard of healthcare, infrastructure, and quality of living conditions are all limited or substandard in Malawi.

Unfortunately, though agriculture has been popularized as a source of rare rays of hope, Malawi is stuck with trying to drive her economy using only the most primitive levels of agriculture. Thus, common weather variations, as well as injuries and fatalities facilitated by poor health care, Malawi’s world lowest GDP per capita of $226.50 doesn’t seem like it will be rising too significantly any time soon.

Given space and time, facts and truths regarding Malawi’s ability or failure to depend on her own can be filled to the brim.

Hastings Kamuzu Banda was Malawi’s first leader.

Repeatedly, we have heard the current president blaming the ailing economy of Malawi on among other key issues, the donor community’s withdrawal of budgetary support after being irked by rampant corruption.

As the rule of thumb goes: he who has gold makes the rules, I remain astonished as to whether Malawi really attained independence as we claim or not. No wonder, as a country, we have been tossed about by these donors. In fact, we ought to brace for more tossing!

As a matter of curiosity, what is independence when communities are waiting for foreign donations to come for them to have a toilet for their homes? What is independence when without donor support for schools blocks, our school lessons are delivered under trees? What is independence when planting trees to cover the bare ground we have created awaits foreign aid? What is independence when some sections of the legal framework still contain the stipulations that were favouring the Britons?

By the way, how independent is our so-called “independence?” Are we celebrating 53 years of Independence or 53 years in dependence?