It is an undeniable fact that petty party politics, that often borders on sheer savagery, is one of the chief reasons behind the country’s state of under-development.
Malawians, somehow, just cannot put aside party politics and pursue matters of national interest as is the case in civilised countries.
Citizens of this country just cannot differ without necessarily being enemies. Due to selfish reasons, we are intolerant to dissenting views and party allegiances.
Therefore, we wish we could have patted on the back Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Grace Chiumia, for advising Malawians to, despite their political inclinations, learn to unite when undertaking issues pertaining to national development.
Chiumia, who is sometimes guilty of making reckless remarks that hardly promote the cause of national unity, made the call on Monday in Traditional Authority Kawamba, Kasungu District, during the unveiling of a bakery in that area.
In her speech, Chiumia bemoaned that, sometimes, some Members of Parliament (MP) who do not belong to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shun government officials when initiating development projects.
Playing peace-maker, Chiumia further advised non-governmental organisations and MPs to, when it comes to development issues, put aside their political affiliations and work together.
Reading between the lines, the minister acted like a biblical person who worries about a speck in a friend’s eye while disregarding a log in theirs.
It is the very same ruling party zealots and officials who openly, during political rallies, lash at opposition party MPs and misguide the public that if they want development in their constituencies then they should vote for ruling party candidates.
Chiumia cannot stand on the higher moral ground when it is her own government that treats opposition legislators and their followers with contempt by depriving their areas of funding for projects.
A typical example is how the government wanted to release funding to constituencies predominantly of DPP MPs while sideling those from the other camps in the well-chronicled K4.1 billion scandal.
So, what Chiumia said in Kasungu was a typical case of ‘do as I say and not as I do’.
We doubt if the minister and her government have any right to ascend to a higher moral ground and preach that which they are failing to practice.
We, therefore, throw the ball back into the court of Chiumia and her government to, beyond mere speeches, demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that, when it comes to the national development agenda, they can rise above cheap party politics.
The government and the ruling party have State machinery and resources at their disposal; hence, they have an obligation to be in the forefront on matters of national development.
Failing which, we will treat Chiumia’s piece of advice as political rhetoric that defines the political landscape of this country.