Friday, February 22, 2013
Malawians are not lazy as portlayed
In a Johannesburg suburb, some years ago I tumbled on a community newspaper. Curiously I checked the classified adverts section and found something interesting, mind breaking for a less travelled freak like me then. Prospective employers were looking for gardeners, security guards as well cooks or child minders and something like that. More interesting was the fact Malawians were being greatly sought in such jobs yet branded lazy recently in their own turf. Maybe prophets have no honor amongst their peers, I doubt though. Greeks and Macedonians still fight over the origins of Alexander The Great. I suspect he remains a Molele myth of Thyolo highlands like the Kahuna. Naturally an employer looks for a hard working, honest and those that abide by the rules. It’s that that simple. I was amazed, but not surprised, even though if I put aside any element of nationalistic bias of any citizen. Some bluff as you would call it anyway. Some few days ago, based on some media reports, a well politically schooled dinosaur raised some laziness issues based on so called undeserved perennial French leave questions. The tirade goes like most of us are lazy; hence bear unquestionable responsibility about the state of this God loving country, despite manifestos of all forty six kangaroo policy political parties. Malawi has hallmarks of poverty ridden country despite its corruptly few, but unexplained riches of its aristocracy. That we farm for three months or thereabouts reminds me of winter crop estimates that the farming ministry goes to town about, when, and if suits them. Funny enough, a walk or a drive along M1, despite the state of your car, Mercedes or better than walking tin on public rubber, I often see fruits of some hard work, not laziness, and abuse of a social contract. Put it simple, I often see women with babies and their partners, on their backs at Jenda, Lizulu, Dedza and other places along the M1 road all year around for 24hours selling fruits of their hard work and expecting more from their elected leaders that doesn’t come. Well rounded Malawians will take some recourse in any form of local adages like the “mudya nyemba and mtaya makoko” stuff to ignore, apparently at their own peril, the arrogance that publically elected leaders bring to define laziness. All I know is that the economy of this country is agriculture based, precisely run by the so called lazy citizens that continue to pay taxes to finance corrupt behaviours of privileged cats that drain our health system of its limited resources for their demise at some mzansi expensive clinic for their cool cat funerals, an obsession of some bat brained Kenyan legislators. It is quite easy to think that most Malawians are lazy, but soberly difficult to collaborate a diaspora line of our citizens being jealously sought after, in this narrate. It is not surprising that most of our folks, unskilled, but full of determination are being sought after to work in some of the countries around us. What work do they do there any way? Some basic stuff that they can do here but apparently our systems have grown at the pace of some hard steel. Our national censuses have shown that rural-urban migration is increasing at a very fast rate yet key decision markets thins a census is a mere NSO decade undertaking. Our quota wars in the University bear enough testimony for education cravings, yet we fund special undefined activities to some astronomical figures in the budget. Some anecdotal evidence points to the fact Malawi is one of the most urbanizing countries in the world. Such a story is collaborated by most of our people leaving rural areas for the cities in search of opportunities. While it is not the job of government to employ, Capital Hill bears a lot of responsibility in creating such an enabling environment such as infrastructure. If takes a decade to construct a 101 Karonga-Chitipa road, yet Admarc trucks can move tones of maize year in and out from Chitipa, grown by a lazy farmer at the expense of the tax payer, lazy on the same line. Arrogance is a simple concept I think but you know why. While primary schools had some lessons in handicrafts such as making hoes or axes, I don’t think it condemns Malawians to four month farming. Irrigation farming is not new. The folks at Likangala, Limphasa, Hara and Lufira with the golden Taiwan, the legacy that lives on, are prime cases of perennial rural hard-workers existing in this country and taking care of their lives while politicians preach some rhetoric, glorifying undue old fashioned successes. The spirit of entrepreneurism is vivid and well sunk in the average person that is not abusing the privilege of being in control of tax payers money. I don’t think anyone should preach success simply because they have had a privileged position of allocating themselves undue wealth at the expense of public trust. Unless we stop, doubtful in contemporary circumstances, elected public figures and their surrogates from stealing public funds, all talk about raising living standards is nothing but old colonial school colonial talk under the skin of the guy next door. We are not lazy but deserve more. Now if we are to make our labour force productive, a few basics. Being agrarian economy, I think it is important we position ourselves to encourage investment in value adding activities. But this can only work, partly if cheap finance is accessible to able entrepreneurs and not political sophomores aligned with a powerful dude whose obsession is with a next election. If roads to rural Malawi remain cheap budget talk, our citizens are tired of the fertilizer subsidy even though the school curriculum defines agriculture as crop growing for food and enjoyment. If you can cant access markets because Admarc resources have been allocated to some secret non-agricultural vote, the arrogance of calling each one of use lazy becomes a concocted norm, unfortunately not the reality of common sense.