President Lazarus Chakwera Monday returned to Malawians to provide an account of the 100 days that he has been in office, stressing that the focus of his Tonse Alliance administration these days has been to turn the country around and save it from sinking.
Chakwera described the Malawi that he inherited as a flooding ship sailing in hostile waters and heading in the wrong direction which needed to be averted as soon as possible.
He was speaking at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where he also outlined 35 key achievements which he said he has registered since becoming President on June 28.
Chakwera said the country is heading in the right direction.
He said his first task as captain of the ship called Malawi was to put together a solid team of seasoned sailors to stop the vessel from going under and to have it facing “our desired shore of shared prosperity”.
“I know that because this ship we call Malawi had been hijacked by self-enriching crimina pirates for years, there was a great expectation that having a new captain and a new team of sailors meant that we would reach the shore of new jobs, cheap fertiliser, better hospitals and good schools right away.
“However, as any good sailor will tell you, stopping a flooding ship from sinking and turning it around in such hostile conditions of a pandemic are not small feats, but necessary first steps that needed to be done in these first 100 days.
“Our singular focus on this seminal work of stopping the vessel from flooding and turning it around was indispensable. It has laid the groundwork for the voyage we can now begin together back to safer waters and greener shores,” Chakwera said.
The President also admitted that Malawi will continue “sailing in unsafe waters” before change can start being felt.
Among some of the achievements the Tonse Administration has reportedly achieved in the past 100 days according to the President include clearing the rubble at State Residences, Office of the President and Cabinet, Treasury and Reserve Bank of Malawi to ensure that those in charge are committed to service delivery of the highest calibre.
Chakwera reported that in the first 100 days, the Tonse Administration has launched the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), which provides a 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser at K4,495 in addition to lifting the Pay As You Earn taxation threshold to K100,000.
“We have secured Covid-19 support from the African Development Bank amounting to $45 million and a Development Cooperation commitment with the German Government worth €28.1 million.
“We have established the National Climate Change Fund to address environmental challenges presented by climate change. We have developed the Special Economic Zones Bill which is being vetted by the Ministry of Justice, designed to promote exports and market linkages,” Chakwera said.
On ending corruption, which is considered Malawi’s enemy number one, Chakwera said the Tonse Administration has laid the foundation by significantly increasing the budget allocation for the Anti-Corruption Bureau to prosecute cases freely.
“We have made law enforcement agencies independent of political interference. We have removed Principal Secretaries and Directors whose positions in the Civil Service were irregular. We have begun negotiations with strategic partners to mobilise resources for the construction of a Judicial Headquarters in the Capital City,” he said.
The Malawi Leader also asked Malawians to give him more time to address other sticky issues, including putting more women in decision making positions, saying it would be unfair to expect his government to achieve everything in 100 days.
Speaking earlier, Vice- President Saulos Chilima said the Tonse Administration is implementing Public Sector Reforms aimed at improving the public administration of the State, its roles and functions as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of public service institutions in a systemic and sustainable manner.
“We are talking of sustainability because our reforms must bring about enduring changes in the manner in which public sector actors act with the aim of bringing about meaningful and lasting development…
“These reforms are, therefore, an answer to the cries for change that the people of Malawi have for so long hoped for but never realised. The reforms are a first step towards permanently institutionalising the people’s choice of a responsive citizen-centric government that they voted into power on 23rd June, 2020,” Chilima said.
He admitted that the reform process is meeting a number of challenges including a highly politicised civil service; poor staff management riddled with nepotism, tribalism and sheer pettiness; weak accountability; anaemic revenue collection; institutionalised corruption; low staff morale and very weak citizens’ trust in public bodies.
Commenting on the Tonse Administration’s 100 days in office, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) Executive Director, John Kapito, argued that the administration has been unable to reset the button apparently as they have shown elements of unpreparedness to run the country.
Kapito said the Tonse Administration has also shown elements of poor understanding of the social and economic factors that continue to hurt the country.