Strength in numbers
“Individual commitment to a group effort that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”~Vince Lombardi
Envy, selfishness, jealousy, lies and gossip, are some of the ills that happen to be at the route of most problems in Malawi today as we fight the different forces that have come to play both in society and the political arena as well. As the battle goes on between the president and the vice president, so does the one between the people and their elected government. One wonders which one is more important; a government that is not working for the people or the president who has issues with his vice president. I say both! What it will take to fix the two is what we as a nation haven’t figured out yet or if we have we have then we need to figure out how to carry out and execute the plan (s).
Anyone who knows something about American Football knows about Vince Lombardi the man the Super bowl trophy is named after. He was one exceptional great football coach that ever lived. Exceptional because it takes a good coach for a team to win any games and an exceptional one to compile an impressive team to win both regular and post season games, to make it in the hall of fame and to have the biggest trophy in the National Football League named after you. How did he do that? He had players that knew what teamwork was all about.
We certainly don’t have this in Malawi and we have a long way to go before we can actualize the dream of a free and better Malawi. We have the oppressed and the oppressors on either end with the cowards and hypocrites in between not willing to do anything about the status quo. Unless something is done about the conditions of life in Malawi today, we might as well lose all hope for a better tomorrow for our children. We might as well just build castles in the air.
At a time when we as Malawians should be coming together as a team we are becoming more divided. The failed demonstration/vigils of August 17th and September 21st have made the gap between the civil society (CSO) and the people widen. The people feel that the CSO have failed them. Instead of the vigils the CSO proposed that people stay away from work for three days. I’m no economist but I fail to understand how this would in effect cripple the nation since it is already in the dumps as far as the economy is concerned but then like I said, I’m no economist! Execution of this request brought about mixed results with some staying at home and others going to work anyway. According to some the decision-making of the stay at home vigil was not a unanimous one either due to lack of team work. Rumors have it that some were totally against it even after the police had blocked the demonstration.
Most of those in the leadership unfortunately have the mini god syndrome. For some leaders whatever they want goes and they don’t listen to other people’s ideas. Partly to blame for this problem are the citizens themselves who put these leaders on a throne when they are supposed to serve the people not to be worshipped.
The opposition parties may miss the one opportunity of ousting the president and his brother sending him back to Ndata because of the same thing; lack of team work. In one of my earlier blog posts titled “A Team of Rivals” I detailed how the political parties can work together by forming coalitions to reduce the large sum of forty plus that are already present in the country. Although not all forty plus are active parties it would be nice to trim them down to at least two major parties as happens to be case in the US and the UK. According to Wikipedia, some historians have suggested that the two-party systems promotes centrism and encourages political parties to find common positions which appeal to wide swaths of the electorate. It can lead to political stability which leads, in turn, to economic growth. They also happen to be easier to handle/govern than in a multiparty system which is what we have in Malawi. Are we there yet? Probably not but it may be something to think about as a country if we are to progress in the right direction and if it is really true that it promotes economic growth then it is something we badly need and should consider.
While I understand that people are scared to do anything about the situation it is unbelievable that the ones they chose to represent them in parliament are not doing their job either. What is more disturbing is the fact that even though under Section 59 (3) of the constitution says “A session of the National Assembly shall be opened by the President on such date as the President, in consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly, shall determine.” Not only that, the members of parliament are rumored to have on the agenda the impeachment of the vice president Joyce Banda which she has contested on the 12th of November in an article about President Mutharika’s hidden agenda on www.bnltimes.com. Whether the president is in some hospital abroad or vacationing on some beach, the two examples I give above are serious matters that need him to be present when parliament convenes but he won’t be there to open parliament this time around. His brother however has assured the nation that the president is okay but then one questions where the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) are when they should be the ones briefing the nation as to his whereabouts? Whatever happened to protocol? Or do these people even know what that means? Where is the minister of information in all this and why the secrecy. I hope and pray that this should not end up like the case of Yar’Adua the Nigerian president who went missing for the longest just to end up being flown back into Nigeria a very sick man flown into the country. Between the do nothing parliament and the bad media coverage of everything, the people are left with no option but to be spreading all kinds of rumors and wish him dead.
As a team we accomplish a lot but like I pointed out before there are too many issues to tackle at the same time. At a time when the main focus could be poverty alleviation, sorting out the fuel crisis, electricity blackouts, forex issues we are once again divided. You find that the ones who are fortunate enough to have fuel are then hoarding it or selling it at high or black market prices. This is wrong considering the hardships Malawi is going through.
“One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.” ~Jin Kwon
The problem with the team of players in Malawi is that there are some selfish people who want the heat for themselves so will not share the fire from their logs ie if we go by the quote above. They would rather light their own fire to keep warm than throwing it in the pile for all to share. Jealousy is another ill we have as a culture. It is rooted in our culture to the point that the author of the national anthem added it to the list of ills that God should help defeat “gonjetsani adani onse njala, nthenda, nsanje” meaning “defeat/do away with our enemies, hunger, diseases and envy/jealousy.” Everyone wants to be the leader when we very well know that can’t be the case in a country of 15 million. Some of us can be strategists while others can be advisors and the rest can be ruled which is okay too because as citizens they too play an important role of choosing the right representatives.
Hoping that people will go back in history as a determining factor on who the MP’s will be, most likely they won’t be that many returning back to their constituencies due to non re-election for not doing their jobs. As citizens we can hold the elected officials accountable but that too requires team work. Every element in the periodic table has its use in science and so do people in society. If we learn to work as a team there’s a lot we can accomplish but at the same time we need good leadership to show us the way because without that we will be like lost sheep without a shepherd. This may sound funny but we are lost considering that we don’t know where our leader is so we might as well wander aimlessly through the wilderness and it sure feels like it without fuel, electricity and water just to name a few…