Lazarus Chakwera slams Egenco board
By Serah Chilora & Isaac Salima:
President Lazarus Chakwera has given the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) up to next month to address what he described as dysfunctions at the company emanating from poor management.
Chakwera said this yesterday during the official opening of the 33rd Malawi International Trade Fair and the inauguration of the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) laboratory and office complex in Blantyre.
He faulted Egenco’s board for missing a “presidential deadline” last Christmas to have a damaged power plant at Kapichira restored.
“I expected that the Egenco Board that I personally appointed would take action against those managers at Egenco who failed to deliver, but it has now been five months since that deadline was missed and I have heard of no consequences for anyone at Egenco.
“So I am now giving the Egenco Board until the end of June to do its duty of addressing the issues that lie at the root of Egenco’s dysfunctions, because it is not acceptable for a presidential deadline to be missed as a result of poor management,” the President said.
Chakwera then applauded the company’s engineers who he said worked around the clock and against many odds to speedily restore the power plant after the deadline was missed.
“So those appointed to lead or oversee institutions must learn from that and not rush to blame juniors,” he said.
Chakwera added: “… after the deadline was missed, and now Kapichira is back, and blackouts are gone. So I know that in many places, what underperforming juniors need is not capacity, but better leadership from the seniors at the top.”
Political analyst Ernest Thindwa, however, doubts if the team at Egenco would intentionally disrespect a presidential order.
“I want to believe that there are some technical hitches that prevented the team from meeting the deadline. The problem would be communication between the President and those officers at Egenco. Fixing the machines could involve a lot of issues,” Thindwa said.
Speaking during the event, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Lekani Katandula said when an economy achieves its industrialisation goals, it becomes less prone to global product price volatility.
“The greatness of a country should not be measured by its levels of consumption but by its levels of investment and production.
“Unfortunately, we excel at the former. We have been in this situation for several decades now. Reversing this trend and rebalancing our trade through industrialisation will require unorthodox approaches,” Katandula said.
The trade fair is being held under the theme ‘Rebalancing Malawi’s Trade through Industrialisation’.
Addressing a development rally later at Kamuzu Upper Stadium, Chakwera called for tolerance among political parties in the country.
He was reacting to acts of violence earlier yesterday between Malawi Congress Party and UTM members at the MBS office complex.
The two groups, dominated by youths from each side, clashed on who should be at the front row to welcome the President to the event.
“I do not want acts of violence like what happened earlier today. I want people in the country to live in peace regardless of their political affiliations. Let us tolerate one another because we are all building the country,” Chakwera said.
The President further said the country’s development agenda has been derailed by pandemics and disasters triggered by tropical storms.
“These affected all our sectors of life and we need to work together in the rebuilding of the country. We have to ensure that we build strong structures and in proper places,” the President said.
Commenting later on the clashes, UTM spokesperson Felix Njawala also urged followers of the two main partners in the Tonse Alliance to co-exist and join their leaders in fostering Malawi’s development.