By Serah Chilora
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Secretary-General (SG) Eisenhower, Mkaka who is also Minister of Natural Resources, has refuted sentiments that he is among those that influence decisions that President Lazarus Chakwera makes.
Recently, there have been reports that Mkaka and others close to the President influence the decisions that he makes as the country’s leader and president of MCP.
However, in a Times Exclusive programme with Wonder Msiska, the MCP SG insisted that in his capacity as Malawi’s and MCP’s leader, Chakwera makes decisions as he deems fit and necessary.
“What people do not know is that the President is his own man and he takes responsibility for the decisions that he makes. He makes his own decisions and he usually says there is no single person who can claim that they tell him what to do because he does not seek counsel from one person,” Mkaka said.
He also said all people say does not specify the kind of influence anyone has on the President, and resisted from handling the issue further for fear of speaking “out of context”.
He, however, insisted that the president “is his own man and makes his own decisions”.
There lately have been complaints from some concerned MCP members who accused Mkaka of breaking the governing party.
Four weeks ago, in an internal memo that he issued, Mkaka warned his party’s National Executive Committee members against approaching Chakwera straight without first getting clearance from the party’s secretariat.
In the memo, Mkaka said all requests to meet Chakwera should be routed through his office to avoid unnecessary duplication.
Asked what might have led to the issuance of the memo, the MCP SG said there had been attempts by party members to meet Chakwera without following laid-down procedures.
But leader of Concerned MCP Members Alex Major described the memo as ill-timed.
“This memo is addressed to [MCP] members. MCP members have very little interest in the Head of State. We have an interest in the MCP president; that is all.
“How will other alliance members meet the State President? Will it be through him, our SG? Why is the memo directed to MCP members only?” Major queried.
He added that Mkaka, as MCP SG, did not have powers to write such a memo, saying the party’s Administrative Secretary is the one who keeps the MCP president’s diary.
“This memo shows that the President is not interested in the party, hence he may wish to resign as the president [of MCP].
“We have never seen that kind of memo since 1959 [MCP] changed its name from Nyasaland African Congress to Malawi Congress Party. We have had Bakili Muluzi, Kettie Kainja, Chris Daza, Gustav Kaliwo and Bester Majoni as secretaries-general of MCP but we have never seen anything like this,” he said.
However, in the Times Exclusive interview, Mkaka said it is just the perception that people have towards him but that in every organisation, there are protocols that have to be followed and as an SG, he simply makes sure they are followed.
“Let me be honest, leadership is not an easy thing. It is not possible to be liked by everyone. I always refer to Moses from the Bible. Each time he met God at the mountain, those he left behind, Aaron and Miriam, one time talked about him behind his back. And they ganged up against him.
“Leadership is not an easy task. One has to be focused. There are others who are happy and others who are not happy with my leadership style but as a leader, I listen to both because even those disgruntled could have some elements of truth in their complaints,” he said.
Mkaka further refuted allegations that he is corrupt and refused to comment on why he thinks the Public Affairs Committee (Pac) asked Chakwera to fire him.
“Let me say that first and foremost, I cannot fault Pac and I do not have the liberty to ask the President what wrong I did. The same way the first Cabinet came out without my name the second appointment was the same.
“Let me say it out here that I am one of the people who want to help the President fight corruption. If as a person, I wanted to break the law, we would not have been out there looking for funds that should help the party, but because we are following set-out laws; that is why we are in this state,” he said.
He also refuted claims that the Anti- Corruption Bureau has his file on its shelves.