Monday, October 19, 2009

Tread carefully on Quota System

For some reasons i have chosen not to take sides in the ongoing debate on Equitable Access to Education or quota system as some quarters are referring to it. There are plans to use this system to select students to all the public universities and colleges. It is reported that each district will be sending 10 students while the rest of the positions will be divided on merit.

But some quarters have gone flat out to challenge this arrangement claiming that it is targeting one region, the north. From the views expressed one can feel that emotions are running high and if the situation is not controlled, it will do more harm than good to the country. Regionalism is one sensitive subject that has the potential to disturb the peace we are enjoying in Malawi. We have a vivid example of how many lives were lost in Rwanda because tribalism or in Kenya when the post-election violence took the tribalism path.

Like many others I thought that Malawians have finally started to deal with regionalism. The results of the general elections we had on May 19 showed that we voted above regional lines. Many commentators were amazed how people voted running away from the usual patterns. This I thought was a way towards a national reconciliation, but this quota debate is proving otherwise.

I am tempted to believe that they are some groups of people who consider themselves as northerners or southerners first before they regard themselves as Malawians. From the debates that i have managed to hear, this is a serious issue that needs to be resolved in a very amicable manner. Some people have gone to the extent of tearing apart the whole cabinet, Presidential appointments, civil service based on regions they are coming from. This will not take us anywhere.

One thing that will be left after all this is hatred. A solution to equitable distribution of development, positions or education will be found but the seed of hatred that we are sowing in other people's lives will haunt us forever. We might not trigger a civil war today or tomorrow, but we will have people full of hatred. These people will be a walking time bomb which will explode at an opportune time.

I urge all the people who are better positioned to deal with these things to rise above their regional boundaries and think like Malawians. Think of a solution that will not affect the way we work, live or go to any region of the country. I pray that this debate should not divide us. We are Malawians and we are known to be peaceful and warm hearted. Together we should move forward in sharing the agricultural and economic developments that we have achieved in the past six years and think of many ways to sustain them. The young generation is watching us closely so lets tread careful and watch our words, steps and comments. God bless Malawi. Malawi Woyeeeee!!!!