Kondwani Nankhumwa shreds Sona
Government dismisses Leader of Opposition’s response
Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa Monday tore apart the State of the Nation Address (Sona) that President Lazarus Chakwera delivered in Parliament on Friday, saying it significantly failed to provide solutions to challenges Malawians are facing.
But Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda has described Nankhumwa’s attack as empty.
In the address, entitled ‘Delivering Economic Transformation and Governance Reform through Sacrificial Action and Service Excellence’, Chakwera admitted that many things are not working in the country and that the economy is in shambles.
Chakwera also listed several development initiatives his administration has achieved in the current financial year.
He then invited Malawians to take part in rebuilding the economy and, subsequently, getting the country back on its feet.
But in his response to the Sona in Parliament, Nankhumwa stated that Chakwera does not have a clue on the status of the nation.
“No wonder, the President failed to outline a clear agenda for his government in the coming year. That is not surprising because you cannot provide a prescription without diagnosis,” Nankhumwa said in a speech he titled ‘Talk is Cheap: Lies have Short Legs’.
The Leader of Opposition accused Chakwera of not having fixed any government broken system as he had promised and that he is failing to end corruption, find solutions to the rising cost of fuel, foreign exchange scarcity and electricity outages, among other things.
“He is clearly stuck in the la-la land of speeches, forgetting that he has a country to lead… He does not know the pain Malawians are going through under his leadership,” Nankhumwa said.
He also highlighted high inflation rates and debt levels as indicators that Chakwera is failing to govern the country.
“Prices of basic commodities continue to rise beyond the reach of common Malawians…Various stakeholders have talked and still talk about the grim and hopeless future that Malawians face under this administration,” Nankhumwa said.
He also blamed Chakwera for frequent travels which, he said, unnecessarily drain the country’s squeezed forex reserves.
Nankhumwa also touched on the Affordable Inputs Programme, arguing it was marred by challenges, with some beneficiaries not having redeemed their fertiliser while “government was also duped by some suppliers”.
In a later interview, Chimwendo Banda said Nankhumwa’s speech was “nothing”.
“He has said nothing actually.
“On the issue of alleged persecution of the director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, [Members of Parliament] were asked to appear before the Commission of Inquiry but he did not appear,” Chimwendo Banda said.
Lawmakers are expected to continue responding to the Sona before it is adopted by the House.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.