Jonas Shakafuswa is a brave man.
Where other politicians have chosen to feast and fish in the troubled waters of our economic crisis, he has chosen the voice of reason.
Others might even say that he is politically naïve by taking the path of reason at a time when some are making political hay, wallowing in the miseries of the suffering people and hoping against hope that the situation will deteriorate further before the elections next year.
The voice of reason and rationality is furthest from politicians who believe they have the answers to every conceivable problem the government may be facing.
It is not only true here in Zambia, it is also true in many other African countries where the character of politics has taken a penchant for the rhetorical and melodramatic in the face of very serious challenges that the economies are facing.
In Ghana there is an almost daily chant for President John Mahama to resign to save Ghana from further decline in the face of a debilitating power crisis, a rapidly depreciating Cedi and galloping inflation.
In neighbouring Malawi President Peter Mutharika has been accused of lacking vision and failure to run state affairs because of the very familiar problem of inflation, declining economic performance, depreciation of the Kwacha and more recently floods that have devastated parts of the country.
Again in all these cases the opposition usually supported by educated people including economists, tends to take myopic and often highly rhetorical stances that defy definition and logic.
That’s why President Peter Mutharika has urged economists in Africa to inspire rather than cause despondency and despair. Using his own words he said, “a people who are made to feel hopeless cannot move forward to drive an economy. Self doubt is always a reverse gear of progress.”
The President admitted that Malawi was facing economic challenges and that the economy was fragile as a result of a long history of circumstances that undermined growth and stability. He cited the occurrence of drought and floods in the same year as being beyond any human control but that government had to take measures to accommodate the phenomenon and provide for the people affected.
He challenged economists to offer concrete proposals and alternative solutions so that the government can chart a course best suited for recovery, stability and national development.
The same can be said about Ghana which has suffered floods and a severe decline in the price of oil that should have been a blessing to the nation but has instead proved to be a curse.
That is why the stance Shakafuswa has taken on the national economy makes sense and should be supported because it does not pander to the morbid, ridiculous and unattainable.
It is one thing to diagnose and another to determine if the diagnosis is correct and the treatment appropriate.
The one treatment fits all diseases is for the witchdoctor and not the learned professionals.