The Malawian government needs to revise its prioritiesApril 26th, 2023
by Tiyamike Chirwa
Malawi is one of the countries that was devastated following heavy rains and winds experienced in southern African countries from March 11 to 14, 2023. In those southern region districts of Malawi that were impacted, lives were lost and essential infrastructure destroyed.
The cyclone killed at least 676 people and displaced more than 500,000 Malawians. A lot of Infrastructure was destroyed with severe impact leaving some roads, homes and buildings completely demolished. Amid efforts to recover from the effects of the cyclone, the Malawian government is pursuing an agenda to purchase 12 new vehicles for ministers, their deputies and principal secretaries.
The Public Procurement and Disposal or Assets Authority has granted a request from the Office of President and Cabinet to procure motor vehicles amounting to MK1 Billion. This comes weeks after the Government’s declaration of a state of disaster to appeal for international aid to support cyclone Freddy survivors.
While Malawi has seen a positive inflow of local and international aid to the victims, the government seems to place its priorities in purchase of luxury vehicles while the country’s infrastructure affected livelihoods are struggling to recover.
Effective leaders ought to prioritize the well-being of the citizens that voted them into power. Rather than pursue agendas that will benefit a few people with taxpayer’s money, government can invest the resources to reconstruct essential infrastructure to help individuals and communities restore to normalcy. This would provide affected areas with subsidies for home, road, school and hospital restoration that will allow community members to go back to school and work.
… The government seems to place its priorities in purchase of luxury vehicles while the country’s infrastructure affected livelihoods are struggling to recover.
On the other hand, the government can invest in resources that will directly support the recovery efforts. This includes vehicles that can transport food, medicine and construction materials to affected areas. In the long run, the same vehicles can be used to support infrastructure development in remote areas that are hard to reach. The government can also purchase construction materials for communities that have experienced devastation, to ensure that they build good quality homes that are safe from future risk.
Thirdly, the funds can be invested into disaster preparedness for future occurrences. Victims are currently camping in schools and churches that survived the impact of the cyclone, which in turn affects operations of the institutions. Government needs to construct durable emergency shelters and structures that are readily available to accommodate community members in case of disasters. Community leaders and members would then be tasked to take responsibility for the structures to ensure their maintenance and security.
In conclusion, Malawi has the potential to effectively recover from the impacts of Cyclone Freddy. If the government can set apart funds to purchase luxury vehicles for ministers, it can set apart the funds to support recovery efforts for the people that trusted them to occupy their current office.
Government priority should be placed on improving the citizens’ livelihoods and supporting them to restore their social-economic status from internal and external shocks.