By Isaac Salima:
President Peter Mutharika last week marked 100 days in office after being declared the winner of the May 21 presidential election.
As has been the tradition, such moments are characterised by pomp and fanfare with special events organised to celebrate the days.
But this year, the day passed unnoticed.
The day came amid political tension rocking the nation as Malawi Congress Party (UTM) and UTM are in court challenging presidential election results, with Human Rights Defenders Coalition organising demonstrations against Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah’s leadership.
However, Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Minister, Mark Botomani, said, despite the tension in the country, the government had been delivering for the past three months.
“You have seen that government programmes are going on. In June, we passed supplementary budget for three months and everything is going on well. The exchange rate and inflation are stable. The political environment has not affected implementation of development activities but has only scared potential investors and affected local businesses,” Botomani said.
He said celebrations were not their priority.
Governing Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, said Mutharika had lived up to many Malawians’ expectations for the past three months.
“I can mention it here that we are happy that people in the country continue to live in peace with the leadership putting up efforts in trying to develop the nation. I hope that, as a country, we would be able to sit and resolve the differences [that are there] because we believe in contact and dialogue,” Dausi said.
He also said celebrations of the 100 days were not mandatory and that the party decided not to hold them this time around.
Mutharika, who won by 38.5 percent of the votes, has spent most of his 100 days in office in the Southern Region.
The President has, during the period, presided over official engagements such as delivering State of the Nation Address during supplementary budget Parliament meeting, launched Bwanje Dam in Dedza District, had an audience with Africa Export-Import Bank President Benedict Oramah, received letters of credence from the United States and India envoys and launched warships in Mangochi District.
Economics Association of Malawi President, Chiku Kalilombe, said the country was in a period of uncertainty.
“We are still in the aftermath of the elections and the unfortunate part of it is that we are not focusing on how the government should be run and which programmes to be implemented. Compouning the situation is the fact that we don’t have the budget and we cannot see what the government priorities will be.
Political analyst Mustapha Hussein said there was little to smile about in the country.
“I think there is less smiles on faces of some government officials because they are not sure of the outcome of elections case. There isn’t much that has happened on the ground as, for instance, local and external functions that the President could have attended are being delegated to the Vice President,” Hussein said.
MCP spokesperson, Maurice Munthali, said they were focusing on the ongoing elections case at the Constitutional Court.
“You know that we are in court contesting legitimacy of the President so we cannot talk about his 100 days in office,” Munthali said.
In its manifesto, DPP promised to, among other things, double exports in the next five years, re-establish food security for all Malawians, sustain fertiliser subsidy programme, zero tolerance on corruption, bribery, fraud and theft of government resources and also that no child should have to walk more than five kilometres to attend school.