Agogo, it is widely known that the core functions of the state revolve around creating conditions for the maintenance and sustenance of life, justice, public peace and public morality among others.
Paul Mwaipaya in one of his books argues that the poor quality of political leadership in Africa is directly responsible for the social and economic backwardness of African countries.
He argues that a country can have all the systems, procedures, institutions and good intentions in place but nothing works unless there is quality political leadership.
In fact, visionary leadership is a prized resource for any country embarking on a journey to develop itself, second only to a people with an entrenched culture of valuing solutions with broader and shared long-term considerations and above all an unwavering sense of patriotic duty to their country.
Agogo, I am talking about a vision for the nation that is birthed and anchored on a conviction about one’s obligation to humanity, and life cannot help but benefit the nation rather than the leaders.
I would be spectacularly failing in my civic duties if I did not comment on the statements by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Director of Response and Recovery Paul Kalilombe on the boat accident on Lake Malawi on Sunday evening in which five people have been confirmed dead and 20 others – as of yesterday – are still missing.
Kalilombe said in an interview with the media that Dodma plans to engage the Department of Marine Services over the regulation of unfit boats and their capacity, especially those sailing in remote areas.
The take-home message here is that the two departments responsible for safety regulations on sailing on Lake Malawi knew about all such risky boat operators way before the country lost innocent lives on the same water body.
And, agogo, it is only perhaps because officers in the two departments – touched by the most shameful recklessness in the history of the country – seem to live in a different world where facing the full wrath of justice seems most distant, uncertain and not part of the terms of reference for the job they were hired to do and seem always allowed to live another day.
Otherwise the two departments have admitted to lacking in key competences and skills to be managers of their institutions and lives on Lake Malawi, hence should have paved way for the right people or charged with outright criminal negligence and dereliction of duties.
You remember agogo, there was a time when Malawians were widely renowned both within and internationally for the spirit of hard work, honesty, diligence, among many other attributes.
But over the last two decades, these values have progressively eroded.
A new culture has gradually crept in laying hold of the people’s lives and is characterised by widespread begging in different forms and shapes, proliferation of political handouts mainly by political leadership and their associates; sheer laziness among students and professionals, corruption and all techniques for easy money and material privileges
This is the culture which has led to the Sunday loss of lives on Lake Malawi.
Given this scenario, therefore, if Malawi, agogo, is to have civil service that is matured in integrity and attuned to the requirements of the common good, and the citizenry that is the true midwives and eyes of democracy, it is imperative that it should do away with laissez-faire public servants who are even risking human life.
The current deaths on Lake Malawi are a tip of the iceberg, a revelation of the extent of cloud of moral decay and decadence that has engulfed Malawi in public institutions.