Malawi entered a dark tunnel in the 2012 to 2014 period. This was after Joyce Banda took over administration after the untimely death of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika. Without casting any blame, let us take Malawians back to where we come from.
Following the bad advice of the white people that she kept close, Joyce Banda devalued the Kwacha. What followed was an economic catastrophe for Malawi.
Inflation shot up to the mid-thirty percent. The interest rate was over 45%. And as ordinary citizens, we felt the pain! The pain that’s still fresh in our memories due to the food prices and commodity prices that skyrocketed!
During the same period, the Joyce Banda administration institutionalised corruption. They treated taxpayers’ money as their personal piggy bank. We all know about Cashgate. Donors fled the country, leaving us with no option but to self-fund.
To add an insult to injury, Joyce Banda stopped development projects that were in progress. Projects were stopped because the DPP’s Bingu administration initiated them. Malawi University of Science and Technology is a case in point.
In that period, Malawi was heading for a cliff, to a catastrophic crash. The economy was in the Intensive Care Unit.
However, what does the above background have to do with “eyes to see”?
The background is very important because as ordinary citizens we need to remember where we come from. It helps us appreciate where we are today. We must not forget the economic hardship suffered under the Joyce Banda administration. We must not forget how out of spite, development projects were stopped. Projects that could have benefitted us got scrapped for no reason.
In the space of four and a half years, the administration led by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has turned things around. In 2014, the Mutharika administration inherited an empty shell. A bankrupt state! The government could not even afford an air ticket out of Malawi.
Difficult as it was, with the floods that ravaged the country, donors that fled, and the 2016 drought – the country persevered. Malawi faced one of the sternest tests in its history. And as a nation, we persevered! By the grace of God we survived. More so, because of the great and a wise leader we have in President Mutharika.
What Mutharika has achieved remains a miracle. How he took over a broken economy, fix it while delivering on the development needs of the nation remains a mystery for many. Only extraordinary leaders can achieve that feat.
Today inflation is a single digit. Under 9%. We have seen that prices of food, goods and services remain stable. The interest rate is 16%. The cost of borrowing has reduced.
Economic growth is at 3.7% projected to be over 6% before the end of 2019 by the World Bank. The economy is looking bright; it is working. A working economy allows for building a prosperous nation.
Those with eyes to see can see the roads built by this administration under President Mutharika. These roads are connecting the nation, stimulating economic growth. Opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera today drives on a newly tarred road to his home village, a road built by this administration.
Those with eyes to see can see the fifteen Community Colleges completed. Malawi is upskilling the youth, building the skilled labour force for the industrialisation.
Those with eyes to see can see the power stations that are making blackouts history in Malawi. New schools, hospitals, and agricultural projects are there for all to see.
While the above is not a comprehensive list of what this administration has done, and the few examples shed light on the positive strides the country has taken. Let us always remember that. We have come too far from the dark tunnel to light.
This year in May, the citizens of our beautiful country face a choice of allowing the country to continue developing, or taking it backwards. May 2019 is Malawi’s watershed moment.
Those with eyes to see can see the development under this administration. Do we want it to stop?
Those with memories must not forget how the 2012 to 2014 administration sent the country into collapse.
In May, I am going to support the continued development of our great nation.
*The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Malawi24.