For God So Blessed Us and Gave Us Malawi, The Issue of Patriotism and Development
Written by Paul India
Waking up in that village located on top of a hilly area overlooking that small valley where a beautiful river laid spread like a layer of gold-plated ring. We mostly rushed out of our grass thatched houses that looked like mushrooms on a tree stump as we splint down the river.
That was around 1999 or something when we had few fading signals of the former dictatorship rule. As young as I was enjoying my manifestation in the erectus mode of walking and running, from the small routes leading to our homes one was greeted by a signpost that indicated the immediacy of a bridge. I memorized that sign and as democracy was still establishing one day, we woke up to find the sign gone cut from its base. I did not know what that exactly meant; to a young boy of 7 years of age, that meant someone was a thief.
Later on, time came and offered me an opportunity to visit the city and other areas that were more developed than my village. Secondary school life presented to me the word PATRIOTISM. Lightly we could say the word means love for one’s country. Well, I wish to take a deeper meaning which defines it as a devotion to the welfare of one’s country. This touched me so much and having memories of how the signpost disappeared in our village I came to understand that it was because one lacked patriotism.
Being devoted to one’s country simply means having a heart that beats only for one’s country. Its manifestation is in details and as the substance of anything is in details, it seems the details summing up patriotism in Malawi have a lot to be desired.
The demise of the road signpost meant one could not see beyond the need of it rather than his or her wish to cut it off for whatsoever reasons one may have had. A devoted citizen could not do that, it is a shame that as we claim to say we want to build Malawi we are in forefront stripping her naked.
Talking about government infrastructures it is a shame to consider the state most of them are in. You talk of public toilets, markets, deports, stadiums, and government schools to mention a few. It is as if no one dares to look after them let us not talk about repairs. We may all be aware of the lorries that were given by Dr Bakili Muluzi to government secondary schools to ease transport, and am very sure very few of them can be traced yet someone somewhere consumed money in the name of repairing those cars.
Now let us turn to the environment, apart from deforestation, air pollution and even soil pollution. With many institutions lobbying for environmental conservation, one turn to wonder about when the fruits of these institutions will be witnessed. Rivers passing through town and cities have been polluted to the maximum. The unproper disposal of plastics is also another thing to worry about as little by little the land is covered in plastics which do not decompose. Am not going to talk about public urinating as it is a sign of brevity and urbanization to many now. Some people have the guts to say; “man mukukanika kukodza apapa, inu ndiye mtauni mudzavutikamo “what they mean is in town urinating in public seems to be embraced as a gesture of brevity something worthy embracing.
Now we are talking of money laundering, we cannot serve the country well if we lack patriotism. Germany after being hit by the World War II used the available human resource and built the Germany you all dream about today. Now one could come all blazing and say this is not Germany, well thus absolutely true but I think we have a common need here and that is development. It is absurd that one maybe staying with his family in their house and have only his room with an iron roof yet the whole house is thatched with grass. Politicians with no charisma and zeal to serve the common man should not be politicians at all. Corruption is just a manifestation of a selfish and unpatriotic being who without hesitation brings two negatives thinking two wrongs will make one right. Corruption puts one at a wrong place and the at the same time makes one receive that which was not due to him or her which in its utmost belongs to the society or great number of people. One cannot understand how someone living 100 percent covered life with allowances could still have the zeal to steal money that was meant for poor people who pay for transport, health costs, education, and household costs. It takes a great heart of a true patriot to be considerate. After all our living days are numbered and today, we are here tomorrow we are gone. Why then should one fail to serve people who have trusted him or her with their needs or their life??
Very few of us know how blessed it is to have a country, the way we sing The National Anthem which is a prayer, shows it all as if that is not enough you may find someone who is 18 years old does not even know the National Anthem fully. What is the connection between the National Anthem and development?? I could also ask a question how ca you be devoted to something you do not cherish.
It is white horse dream to think one day donors will come and build Malawi, that the people who do not belong to Malawi are spending sleepless nights thinking of how to develop Malawi.
Most of us are from families, our poor and short sight to not love this country will come back to haunt us in one way or the other. We wake up every day and say to our kids and siblings that we love them, but soon or later the way we are treating Malawi will show them if we really loved Malawi or not. Then only then will they respond they love us too or they hate us.
All in all, we have to strive and make Malawi great both from grass root to the epitome of the iceberg. We will never have another Malawi and by taking care of the available resources we tend to avoid a pendulum type of movement which gives us an upper hand of developing. This Malawi is a blessing, and we cannot let our ego and our short time pleasures destroy something that generations and generations will need.
Its high time we started implementing sustaining actions and be pragmatic about them. Let us stop the songs on repeat about making Malawi great and walk the talk.
One Malawi One Nation…
I am A Malawian and am Proud….
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