Lazarus Chakwera blasts Peter Mutharika
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, Lazarus Chakwera, Monday made a scathing attack on President Peter Mutharika, warning that his party would boycott Parliament if Electoral Reforms Bills are not tabled, describing the President as “a Prince of Thieves” presiding over the most corrupt administration in recent history
Mutharika, he said, “has failed to demonstrate that he is not a Prince of Thieves presiding over a kleptocracy”.
“His government is the most corrupt and untruthful in recent memory. While he is always eager to comment on audit reports showing that wealth belonging to Malawians was stolen during the previous [People’s Party] administration, the President refuses to even acknowledge the depressing state of corruption unearthed in various departments and ministries under his watch,” Chakwera said.
If the President, Chakwera said, really wants to prove that he is not a thief or to show that he does not tolerate or benefit from thievery, he would not have gone to Parliament with allegations that some MPs are abusing their CDFs [Constituency Development Funds].
“He should name the constituencies, name the culprits, state the amounts stolen, and present evidence as I did earlier this month when I exposed the fraud that is taking place in the procurement of Escom [Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi] generators, perpetrated by the President’s own aides, a scandal he has yet to respond to or resolve,” Chakwera said.
However, this comment did not go well with the ruling benches, prompting the Government Chief Whip, Henry Mussa, to stand on a Point of Order immediately Chakwera wound up his speech.
“The speech is full of hate, insults and [is] repeatedly flouting our Standing Orders. On a number of occasions, it is reflecting on the Head of State,” Mussa said.
In a highly charged speech that attracted applause from opposition benches, Chakwera labelled Mutharika a failure, listing a number of broken promises his Democractic Progressive Party (DPP) made in its 2014 tripartite elections manifesto.
“I want to state in no uncertain terms that because the Electoral Reforms Bills are the will of the people, government’s commitment to table them in this sitting of Parliament, as promised, is non-negotiable, failing which we will have no choice but to boycott proceedings as the people we represent have directed us to,” Chakwera warned.
Chakwera was responding to the speech Mutharika made on Friday last week when he opened the 47th Session of Parliament.
“His speech, mistitled ‘Rising Above Macroeconomic Stability’, will go down in our nation’s history as the latest in a series of missed opportunities to directly and honestly address the deepening plight and delayed aspirations of Malawians,” Chakwera said.
He said, against all his hopes, Mutharika’s speech left out a lot of issues.
“The fact is that we Malawians are in the unenviable position of having a President and an Executive so incompetent at leading and so insensitive to the suffering of the people they govern that whenever any of us speaks here, we must speak not on behalf of our political parties, but at the behest of Malawians,” Chakwera said.
He said Mutharika’s statement “was so shamelessly self-aggrandising, self-absorbed, and self-delusional that this gathering is now a critical watershed moment for our nation”.
The MCP president, who is also Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, said what the President and his Cabinet refuse to admit or address is that Malawians across the country are finding life difficult.
While applauding the government for ensuring food security, buoyed by favourable wheather conditions, Chakwera said a lot needs to be done to uplift lives of Malawians.
“But 23 years after the dawn of democracy and 20 years after [the reign of Malawi’s first president] Kamuzu Banda, it is a shame that we are still led by people who cannot move our people’s prosperity beyond the ability to be fed by the government,” he said.
He went to town on Mutharika for failing to fulfill the promises the DPP made in its campaign manifesto.
Some of the promises, which he said were broken, are abolishment of the coupon system, leading a brand of politics without intimidation or dishonesty, building five universities, reduction of presidential powers and resuscitation of the Nsanje Inland Port.
“The number of promises President Mutharika has broken or failed to even attempt to fulfill three years into his term of office is so staggering that instead of informing the nation on the progress made on what he promised, he is always making speeches about the wonders he will perform in the future and blaming past regimes for his failure to get anything done in the meantime,” Chakwera said.
On the ongoing energy crisis, Chakwera blamed Mutharika’s administration for doing nothing to address power challenges in the country.
“So, in short, Mr Speaker Sir, when the President stood before this honourable House to narrate what he is doing, there is every reason to believe that he was presenting a work of fiction,” Chakwera said.
In the course of his speech, there was a 30-second blackout. Speaker Richard Msowoya apologised to him for that.
And, as the legislators were going for tea-break, there was another power outage, forcing some Members of Parliament to use their phone torches as they were getting out of the chamber.
Msowoya took note of Mussa’s Point of Order and assured the ruling benches that he would be making a ruling on whether Chakwera’s speech was out of order or not as demanded by the Government Chief Whip.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues