Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera Monday challenged President Peter Mutharika to stop “clinging” to power, arguing that Mutharika has demonstrated that the country’s problems have become too big shoes for him to fit in.
Chakwera, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, also took a swipe at Mutharika’s short address delivered in Parliament on Friday last week, saying the President’s failure to take full stock of the state of the country’s economy, food situation, and governance is an insult to Malawians who employed him.
Chakwera made the remarks in Parliament in his response to the speech by Mutharika which the Leader of Opposition titled ‘Setting the record straight, a better Malawi demands a better plan under better leadership’.
“We waited with baited breath to hear that he has heeded and acted on lamentations of Malawians regarding the extravagance of his trips, the slowness of his administration in securing justice for Malawians in all Cashgate-related cases, or duplicity of his government in the giveaway sale of Malawians’ heritage in Malawi Savings Bank… the one positive from the President’s address is that it only lasted 23 minutes, so at least he was kind enough not to take too much of our time with his zero-plan speech.
“We are now officially a nation in the unenviable position of having a government with no plan, and a President who claims that he has a national agenda or national development strategy…let it be written in the Hansard that for the first time ever, under the wise and pragmatic leadership of the Democratic Progressive Party, we are not only financially bankrupt, but also bankrupt of sound policies and plans to move Malawi into a prosperous nation, ”said Chakwera mockingly, attracting applause from opposition benches.
In his 38-minute response, the MCP leader called upon Malawians to put their heads together and offer Mutharika ideas because, as he put it, the President has no plan to bail the country out of the mess.
Said Chakwera: “We simply cannot afford to let the ship we are sailing in to sink in these troubled economic waters simply because the captain does not know the way to our destiny or [how] to navigate troubled waters. We cannot afford to let the Executive, with its 20-[members] Cabinet plus a congregation of 20- plus so called advisers, leave our children at the mercy of its endless errors. It is unfortunate that the people have no means to fire the whole administration, and indeed a wonder that the whole lot has not resigned.”
He also faulted Mutharika for repeatedly telling the nation that the age of donors is over, saying it is only failure on the part of the President to engage development partners to resolve outstanding issues.
“What is over is not the age of donor aid, but the age of donor aid being given to people who cannot be trusted. This President has given no confidence that he can cut down spending, or balance the budget, or get rid of waste, or crack down on criminal acts of greed and corruption perpetrated in the government of his own party,” said Chakwera.
The MCP president also slammed as hypocrisy implementation of policies that destroy productivity and jobs in the private sector, and then turn around and tell civil servants to look for a well-paying job in the same private sector.
Commenting on the food situation, Chakwera made a special appeal to donors to consider helping the country in kind and not cash, saying cash is prone to abuse in the country during such times.
He also questioned government’s casual approach in investigating Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) official Issa Njauju’s death.
“When the Council for Foreign Relations in New York asked the President what is being done about Njauju’s death, all the President said was that the murder was a professional job, was very complicated for you to solve, if you are admitting that our problems are too complicated for you to solve; then why are you clinging to the office you hold?” queried Chakwera.
Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition has called for the introduction of the 50+1 electoral system to enhance the legitimacy of any elected government.
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