Mixed reactions to Lazarus Chakwera’s address
President Lazarus Chakwera’s address Friday has drawn mixed reactions.
Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa, while indicating that a more comprehensive response to the speech will follow later, said the address was a repetition of what the President has been saying for the past three years.
“If you can recall what the President said last year is exactly what he has said now. He has highlighted the same projects.
“If I were the president I would have come up with something tangible,” Nankhumwa said.
He added that the address gave the impression that the President was not in control of the state affairs because he seemed not to have knowledge of some of the things that he said.
But United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Rebecca Adda- Dontoh, described the speech as people centered as it highlighted on how the country should focus on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and Malawi 2063 vision
She also commended Chakwera for spelling out strategies to attain economic transformation to create jobs and wealth and providing social protection to vulnerable people.
“It is good that the speech focused on people and the planet. For us in the UN we are very pleased. I am happy he highlighted the urgency to transform the economy. The president highlighted the need for Malawi to maintain peace which is very important to any country,” Adda-Dontoh said.
National Planning Commission Director General Thomas Munthali said the President was honest enough on the challenges the country is facing.
“I think the Sona is the message to the Minister of Finance that as we are moving forward, there is need for the country to look at mining, agriculture commercialisation tourism and energy,” Munthali said.
He further said the bottom line is that there is need to balance between social sector needs and those sectors that can generate the money.
“The public system seems not working as optimally as it should, meaning that for the country to graduate from middle income status by 2030, we will require the public sector to do more in which case the Office of President and Cabinet should set performance-based time-bound contracts for senior public servants,” he said.
Executive Director for Centre for Social accountability and transparency (Csat) Willy Kambwandira said in the Sona, the President just added another set of promises whose implementation may be doubtful.
“We are happy though that he has admitted that Malawians are going through hardships but he has failed to give hope in terms of how government intends to realistically address the challenges,” he said.
He said the admission by the President that fixing the broken public systems cannot be done at once is a reversal of his last year’s address when he said his administration was set to fix broken systems without any condition.