Chakwera and Chilima – Are They Worthy of Continuing to Lead Malawi?

Malawi's President and Vice President

“Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group, or organization to “lead,” influence, or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. “Leadership” is a contested term.” – Wikipedia

Malawi is a country teetering on the brink of collapse, grappling with numerous economic challenges such as soaring debts, inadequate leadership, excessive spending, and substantial salaries and allowances for politicians, often surpassing those of individuals with equivalent qualifications. Despite being degree holders, both the President and Vice President seem to receive significantly higher salaries and allowances than many graduates, and upon leaving office, they are eligible for pensions, further straining the nation’s resources as they leave behind a legacy of implementing detrimental policies.

My query today is whether the President and his Vice President genuinely merit another term in office given their impact on the Malawian economy.

The President serves as both the head of state and head of government of Malawi, also holding the position of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. As per the Constitution, the President is entrusted with the execution and enforcement of laws enacted by Parliament.

According to a well-established study on presidential character, some common leadership attributes among successful presidents include a strong vision for the country’s future, the ability to contextualize their era within the broader scope of history, and effective communication skills. Regrettably, the current leadership seems to lack these qualities.

Now, I raise the question: How should we evaluate President Reverend Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice President Saulos Chilima? While they ignited substantial hope among the populace, their performance has been woefully inadequate, causing widespread suffering. Their current plea to the Malawian public is for prayers to govern effectively. Yet, wasn’t their promise based on their manifesto and their challenge to outperform the previous administration? Can we regard them as among the most accomplished leaders in Malawi’s history? The reality is that they are squandering time, possessing nothing valuable to offer this nation.

Of course, the attributes of remarkable leadership must encompass strategic thinking, delegation, effective communication, integrity, empathy, flexibility, and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the present leadership seems devoid of these traits.

Research findings indicate that exceptional presidents, besides being tenacious and opinionated, tend to be more extraverted, open to new experiences, assertive, driven by achievement, inclined towards excitement, and receptive to fantasy, aesthetics, emotions, actions, ideas, and values.

Alas, none of these attributes seem evident in the current administration. If the 2020 election were likened to a business transaction, it would appear that Malawians were deceived. The transition has led to a decline from having three daily meals to merely one, or at times, none at all; from affordable fuel to scarcity; from a manageable lifestyle to one of struggling.

In conclusion, considering the scarcity of maize in ADMARC depots, medication in hospitals, foreign exchange, and security challenges, one might characterize this government as preoccupied with religious activities, glossolalia, and constant travel, yet lacking a concrete action plan. It’s reasonable to conclude that this is one of the most ineffectual governments in Malawi’s history. We no longer require these disappointments.