Mutharika is right – Malawi needs more research

microbiology-359957_640Malawians never cease to amaze me.

As if there aren’t more urgent things on which to strong-arm the president, they are picking on a comment he made about researchers not publishing enough in international journals, to bully the old guy. How pathetic is that? I mean isn’t it all a bit………. lazy.

I understand that one of the reasons some people got riled is they feel the president’s comments amount to censorship.

But shouldn’t they focus their energies on encouraging the government and private sectors to up their efforts on job creation? Or on pressing the president to up the efforts in the fight against corruption (for example should the government not open an investigation into the wealth of Bingu Mutharika, Mulli and Mota Engil after Mulli’s recent claims?).

There are areas like Education, Security, Infrastructure development and poverty eradication, which need advocates, and which we can all agree matter more than the president’s comments.

I think Peter Mutharika is right to highlight the issue. Malawi needs to conduct more internationally recognised research and such must be published in international journals to attract funding and show the world that we too have smart and hardworking people.The fact that Mutharika didn’t publish much material during his time in academia doesn’t make his claim or observations less true. Whether you consider his professorship fake and misleading or not, he’s still right when he says we need more quality research published.

And this research Mutharika refers to doesn’t have to be something in a highly technical and capital-intensive field such as Particle Physics. It could be something like this, a technique that was partly pioneered in Malawi and is increasingly being rolled out in other countries. Or research and publication in agriculture (finding sustainable sources of food), nutrition ( in re hunger/ malnutrition prevention), biology(there are still so many things scientists don’t know about human / animal bodies), marine biology (we have a lake, so why don’t  we conduct more research in marine biology?), in geology (maybe if we find more minerals [or newer uses for our current minerals] we can use the revenue from such to replace tobacco-derived revenues?), in sociology  … natural disasters (for example looking for permanent solution to our flooding problems)…it can be in any field, but especially fields associated with the challenges Malawi currently faces.

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What we should be doing is asking Peter Mutharika questions about where the money, equipment and human resources to undertake such research will come from, and not ridiculing him or becoming personal in our attacks of his leadership.

Leave the guy alone… and go do some research.

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