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Opposition trashes Peter Mutharika’s address

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Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera Monday led opposition Members of Parliament in ripping apart the State of the Nation Address President Peter Mutharika delivered in Parliament on Friday.

His scathing attack on Mutharika’s speech was complemented by Leader of People’s Party (PP) in Parliament, Uladi Mussa.

Chakwera urged the MPs to declare that time for “bed-time stories” is over.

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“I call upon all Malawians and fellow members of this House to resolve that the time for tolerating bed-time stories and the time for sleeping while our ship is sinking is over,” Chakwera said.

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader also questioned government on the developments surrounding former President Bakili Muluzi’s corruption case.

“As with unconcluded cases of late[Robert] Chasowa and [Issa] Njauju, the withdrawal of ACB deputy director Mr [Reyneck] Matemba, can discernibly be seen to be a result of government interference. Malawians must know that the chief culprit in the miscarriage of the rule of law in Malawi is the DPP government. Malawians will not forever be fooled by a government that has no credible commitment to the rule of law. The DPP government will have itself to blame when this great nation votes them out of office in 2019,” he said.

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Chakwera said government also needs to do more on the protection of people with albinism.

“We have watched with absolute dismay the helplessness of the executive and its security system in arresting the abduction and killing of people living with albinism. The abductors and killers and indeed their network will not be stopped by radio or TV or bill board adverts on the President’s statements…. They will be stopped when we stop talking and[start] arresting them, uncover and disrupt their syndicates, associated witchdoctors and all involved,” Chakwera said.

The MCP leader also took a swipe at reforms government is currently implementing.

“Mr Speaker Sir when one reflects on what is happening in this country and match it against the much touted reform agenda claimed to be implemented by this government, one is left with the conclusion that the reforms are just on paper. By celebrating launching them, we feel all is well. We should not celebrate going to war. We should celebrate coming back in victory,” Chakwera said.

He added: “Do reforms make any sense when recruitment for the security services such as the police continues to cause public anxiety? Do reforms make any sense when hospitals continue to experience drug pilferage and those hospitalised can only one meal a day? Can reforms make sense when Admarc and the state machinery continue to tell Malawians that the country has enough maize and yet people continued to sleep at maize selling points up to as late as April?…

Do reforms make any sense when serious issues like Chasowa and Njauju murders continue to miss in a state of the nation address by the whole Head of State and Government?”

Chakwera, however, said even if Mutharika’s speech was uninspiring, the MPs are not in the House to sleep.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, I dare say that even if we feel that the President’s speech before this Honourable House was no better than a make-believe and uninspiring bed-time story, we are not here to sleep,” he said.

After his response speech, Leader of the House George Chaponda, said in some instances, Chakwera misinformed the nation.

“I have high respect for Leader of the Opposition. But there was misinformation in some of the statements he has made. He is making an impression that nothing has happened in the past two years,” Chaponda said.

Government Chief Whip Henry Mussa, also requested Chakwera to withdraw some remarks which he said flouted Parliamentary Standing Orders.

Speaker Richard Msowoya, however, said that was where the whole essence of the debate.

In his response to the address, Mussa said his party has waited in vain for Mutharika’s government to start performing.

“We have walked a long distance with Mutharika hoping he knew where he was taking us to but there is no light at the end of the tunnel. K1.7 trillion has been passed by this House in the past three years. It has no excuse but to show the impact of the resources allocated on the ground. How many of the capital projects we budgeted for have been implemented?” Mussa said.

He also accused Mutharika of extracting paragraphs in his last year’s State of the Nation Address, saying it was difficult to believe that promises he made will really be implemented.

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