Sixty years later, Malawi still struggles with poverty

In 1958, Malawi’s first President, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, returned to Malawi after living abroad for over three decades.

By 1961, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) secured a majority in the Nyasaland Legislative Council elections. After negotiations, Britain granted Nyasaland self-governance, leading to the Federation’s dissolution in 1963. On July 6, 1964, Nyasaland became independent and was renamed Malawi.

Independence Day is now celebrated annually on 6th July.

Despite 60 years of independence, Malawi remains one of the world’s poorest nations, heavily reliant on agriculture, with many citizens engaged in subsistence farming. Limited access to healthcare, education, and infrastructure continues to drive many Malawians into poverty.

Political Analyst, George Phiri, attributes this underdevelopment to elected leaders prioritising personal gains over national progress.

Phiri claims that most elected leaders fail to implement effective development policies and instead rely on donor aid.

He also blames the public for not holding leaders accountable for promises made.

On infrastructure, Social Commentator, Victor Chipofya, notes that the country is still lagging behind, citing poor road conditions as an example.

Chipofya attributes this to rising corruption and a lack of patriotism among duty bearers.

He recalls that infrastructure development was stronger from 1964 to 1974 but declined during the multiparty era.

The Governance Commentator, George Chaima, points out that 60 years of independence have brought both benefits and challenges.

Chaima believes many Malawians misunderstood multiparty democracy, disrupting development foundations laid during Banda’s one-party rule.

“However, I commend the tolerance among citizens and political parties today,” says Chaima.

Human rights organizations report progress in protecting rights, noting increased freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations in the past 30 years of democracy.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Michael Kaiyatsa, emphasizes the importance of self-rule in defending human rights in Malawi.

The human rights advocate, Undule Mwakasungula, agrees that people enjoy human rights and freedoms.

However, Mwakasungula criticises the abuse of these freedoms over the past 60 years.

Young people also express concerns. A 20-year-old from Kasungu District, Mtendere Kasinje, notes the high unemployment rate among the youth.

He adds that accessing affordable loans remains a challenge, resulting in idleness among young people.

On a positive note, Maria Mzumala Banda from Kaunda village in the same district praises the government and non-state actors for significantly enhancing the quality of education for girls over the years.

She feels the future of this country is bright.

President Lazarus Chakwera has directed that the 60th Independence anniversary be marked primarily by prayers.

This follows the national mourning after a plane crash that claimed the life of former Vice President Saulosi Chilima and eight others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *