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Chakwera drowns minority voices of opposition

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I can understand the anger and bitterness from leaders of our minority political parties. I am sure if they can meet Lazarus Chakwera, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament and president of the main opposition, the Malawi Congress Party, they would skin him alive.

Chakwera now needs to walk over his shoulders in fear of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and also in fear of his fellow opposition friends.

What Chakwera did last week was betrayal to say the least to his fellow opposition leaders although they are leading political parties with small or no following at all.

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Well, before I go deeper with this issue, let me unveil Smoke and Thunder’s Man of the Year.

He is fearless, competent lawyer, intelligent and wise young man, a person who loves Malawi; he follows the pillars of patriotism, hard work and integrity.

He is none other than Ambokire Salimu.

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Malawi is poor now and will ever be poor not because the country is poor but because of poor leadership because; its leaders take Malawians for granted, they campaign for positions and during the campaign, they use lies, blue lies, and canvass for votes.

This Salimu wanted to bring to a stop this culture of lies during campaign and wanted legislation in place that would have forced our leaders fulfil their electoral promises, their campaign promises.

Former president Bakili Muluzi promised during the 1994 political campaign that he would buy shoes for poor Malawians if voted into power.

The poor votes he did get, indeed, and ascended to power as His Excellency upon which he went back on his words and rhetorically asked: “Do I have shoe sizes for each one of you?”

Well that was 1994. Forward to 2014, President Peter Mutharika promised to trim presidential powers once voted into office. He promised to make the graft-busting body, make the Anti- Corruption Bureau independent and etc .

He is now in the presidential office and has refused to trim the presidential powers as he promised when he ran up and down Malawi, canvassing for votes.

His argument, senseless though it sounds, is that he wants to protect the office of the president.

The question is: When did he realise that this was a difficult because the of the president needed protection? Was he taking Malawians for fools?

Another is the issue of the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB). Instead of making ACB more independent and vibrant, Mutharika and his DPP government have a tight grip on the graft-busting body that it is unable to discharge its duties well as the law stipulates it should.

ACB is at its worst time ever; it is no longer discharging its duties as expected; there is infighting between the top leadership; morale among staff is extremely low forcing most staff to resign en masse.

Salimu might have noted all these and thought the only remedy is to have legislation that would force our leaders to fulfil their promises come rain or sunshine.

If we had this legislation in place, Mutharika would have trimmed his presidential powers, ACB would have been a vibrant and more useful constitutional office, the police would have been independent of any political influence so much that it would have been laughable to hear of law enforcers arresting people based on whatsapp chats.

If Salimu’s piece of legislation was in place, Mutharika should have been preparing for his jail term after this presidential term for lies he made to unsuspecting Malawians.

For Muluzi, on his shoe for each poor person promise, I do not know if this would have landed him in prison.

Whatever, Salimu deserves to be the Man of the Year. He has driven sports cars in the streets of Blantyre, had some funny haircuts, he has played music and now he needs to be up on the shoulders of Malawians for his effort to protect unsuspecting ordinary Malawians.

After Salimu, the media comes second. Probably for the first time, private media owners, media organisations and journalists themselves have come together to fight abuses by Mutharika.

The private media owners who included the media gurus from Times Group, Nation Publications Limi ted, Zodiak, Capital Radio and others and media organisations such as Namisa and Media Council of Malawi had even threatened to withdraw the coverage of the President.

Mutharika had gone extremes anyway. At every political rally, he insulted the media and journalists, boasting he stopped reading Malawi newspapers; probably he now reads American journals paid for by poor taxpayers who can hardly afford three meals a day.

I hope this will change in 2017, Mutharika will be a changed person; he will learn to respect the media if he wants respect from them and the media will understand their President. He is sailing through troubled waters as Malawi is going through the worst economic times ever blamed on poor leadership.

Talking of leadership, Chakwera has shown that sometimes he cannot be trusted. No wonder, his fellow leaders in opposition are blaming him for hypocrisy.

According to Umodzi Party president John Chisi, 10 political parties, including the MCP, had agreed to hold a joint press conference in view of the current economic situation in the country.

The small political parties invited Chakwera to be with them but the opposition leader said he would not make it on that day because Parliament was meeting and as Leader of Opposition, he would not abandon Parliament business.

As the small political parties were holding their press conference, Chakwera was same time roaring, castigating the leadership of President Mutharika, calling it failed leadership, telling Mutharika, “Sir, you have failed.”

The Chakwera speech, in fact, was so powerful it shook the nation as it shook the ‘Mutharika Republic’ and its capital, ‘State House’.

But it drowned the voices of Sam Mpasu, Chisi and other leaders of small political parties who wanted their voices heard. Their press conference did not hit headlines but Chakwera’s press conference did.

This clearly showed that the opposition is fragmented; it should forget of unseating Mutharika from power in 2019 if this disunity continues among them!

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