The word ‘placation’ comes from placates, which means soothed, quite, gentle, calm and peaceful in Latin.
In short, it denotes the act of pacifying or appeasing someone. This appeasement is done by different people, including politicians vying to gain favours from people in authority.
Many politicians in Malawi practise placation to consolidate their positions attained through political affiliation not merit.
Some politicians in this country are in positions of influence not because they are qualified or technocrats, but because they are close to a party that is either governing or in opposition.
Positions given to some placating politicians can have devastating effects now or in the future because placatory office-bearers are usually on their toes trying to consolidate power.
Placation compromises quality of service delivery in many sectors in this country.
Instead of concentrating on their work, many politicians channel their energy towards protecting or upgrading their positions.
It is in this regard that we need mindset change for our country to develop.
Placation comes into play because excessive power is vested in one person to the extent that everyone fears him or her. The only remedy to gain favours from the rulers is to glorify them as if he is the messiah.
But politics of glorifying leaders have led the country astray. Poverty is deepening as leaders get richer.
At worst, different leaders have accepted tittles that do not befit them just to be associated with success which is nonexistent on the ground.
Placation has become a political phenomenon in the country because many politicians want to be appreciated by the people in power.
Some politicians ike to be glorified by their subordinates all the time. Those who do not glorify them are punished as if they are seditious.
Italian philosopher Nicolo Machiavelli stated that “it was better [for a leader] to be widely feared than to be greatly loved; a loved ruler retains authority by obligation while a feared leader rules by fear of punishment”.
The greatest fear of some Malawian politicians is to be sacked by their bosses because they may not attain the positions they hold if merit takes its course. They easily and willingly reduce themselves to bootlickers.
To them, bootlicking has become a stepping stone towards financial growth—a survival mode.
By glorifying people in authority, they build their financial capacity and they are assured of staying longer in their positions.
Some politicians strive to remain in their positions to accumulate wealth and continue pursuing their political ambitions.
They unquestioningly accept and implement orders from above. They will even execute unethical instructions coming from the boss without critically analysing them.
We can deal with placation by ensuring every position is filled by credible people with the right qualifications and mindsets.
This will motivate people to channel all their energy to what they are supposed to do in their places of work, not singing praise and politicking with their jobs.
Placation and political affiliation can be a thorn in the flesh for excluded minds with requisite skills and the expertise.
As a remedy to placation and overplaying political affiliation, Malawi needs to have a system of governance where decision-makers are selected or elected on the basis of their expertise and proven record in their line of duty.
This system explicitly contrasts with the notion that elected representatives should be the primary decision-makers in government, though it does not necessarily imply eliminating elected representatives.
Leadership skills for decision-makers ought to be selected on the basis of specialized knowledge and performance rather than placation and political affiliations.
This is my prayer as Malawians count down to the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections. n