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No more riding on sympathy

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Puludzu

As I sit back and reflect on how far we have come as a country since June 23 back in 2020, I begin to realise that time has been slowly slipping away from that five-year period in which the governing Tonse Alliance administration promised to bring a ‘business unusual’ approach towards the running of State affairs.

I was therefore not entirely surprised this other day when, once again, bishops of the Catholic Church in the country rose to the occasion and went in on the government, through their pastoral statement titled ‘A Call to Hearken to the Cry of Poor Malawians’, reminding Capital Hill that it is yet to fulfill the bulk of promises made in the run-up to the polls.

It cannot be disputed that Malawians were tired of ‘lip service’ and the elitist approach that was taken by the previous administration and therefore hoped that in Tonse Alliance, they had found that much needed gateway to prosperity based on what the nine-member alliance was selling to the people through their manifesto.

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But here we are two years later, and the situation is not that much better as most had hoped for. The bishops, in their statement, among other things, express concern over poor service delivery systems, corruption, inconsistency in implementation of austerity measures, impending crop growing season and what they call retrogressive way of governing.

Brutal as the message in the statement might appear, the truth of the matter is that Malawians, particularly those who wish the current administration well, would like to see the government succeeding in its endeavours but somehow it appears not much has been working out due to deliberate carelessness or circumstances.

Take, for instance, the matter of austerity measures; how many government ministries, departments and agencies have lived by the measures that President Lazarus Chakwera announced such as a cut in fuel allocations for ministers, public officials flying economy class and that no government vehicles should be on the roads after 6pm unless with prior clearance.

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But we can at least do something that might help contain this ‘haemorrhage’ by, among other things, keeping a close eye on our spending habits as a country. Let us be prudent with what we have. We cannot be spending carelessly and yet the ordinary man continues to suffer as the cost of living continues to go up.

Let us come to the startling revelations in that ACB report which the President unpacked and took some steps thereafter and made some demands… how much progress has been made?

Now, either those that are supposed to assist the President are not doing their part or indeed the runners are too pre-occupied trying to deliberately throw spanners in the works… we should have been seeing tangible results by now!

Do not get me started on the issue of crop growing season. We are in October and no one has yet been given a coupon with which to access farm inputs under the Affordable Inputs Programme but wait! That is because the inputs themselves, particularly fertiliser, are nowhere to be seen. We cannot continue on this path ladies and gentlemen.

I am very convinced that the bishops have taken a diplomatic tone simply because President Chakwera is equally a man of the cloth; otherwise, by now, hell would have broken loose considering the turbulent times that the country has been going through.

Now everything seems to be running on auto-pilot; if it is not scarcity of forex, then it is fuel shortage. While all that is happening, cholera is also hitting us hard. No one appears to have a clue on the formula that can help bring sanity on the table.

It scares the lights out of me because even some of those within the Tonse Alliance are coming out with a voice of despair. Just the other day, a leader of one of the political parties in it was left with no choice but to hold a press conference in the hope that, perhaps, those in authority might listen to what he believes could be some of the measures that ought to be implemented. Does this mean they no longer meet as Tonse Alliance members?

My message to the powers-that-be; it is time to wake up from deep slumber. Malawians have a lot of trust and belief in this government but that ought not be taken for granted. It is time to deliver the promises, as pointed out by the Catholic bishops.

But we can at least do something that might help contain this ‘haemorrhage’ by, among other things, keeping a close eye on our spending habits as a country. Let us be prudent with what we have. We cannot be spending carelessly and yet the ordinary man continues to suffer as the cost of living continues to go up.

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