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‘We are fixing broken system’

Lazarus Chakwera

Kondwani Nankhumwa

President Lazarus Chakwera has said building a new Malawi would require overhauling all dysfunctional systems.

Chakwera said this Thursday when he presented his State of the Nation Address (Sona) to Parliament.

The Sona came on the second anniversary of the landmark Constitutional Court ruling which nullified results of the May 21 2019 presidential election and ordered a fresh election within 150 days.

In the address, Chakwera hailed elections case judges for fixing what he called a broken electoral system.

According to the President, one lesson he has learned is that, even with a change of leadership at the helm of a State institution, good programmes within that institution and good intentions of those who work in that institution, the entity would still fail to deliver on its mandate if the broken and dysfunctional system within which it operates remains unfixed.

“So, for us to build a new Malawi, we need both an overhaul of our dysfunctional systems and an undertaking of good programmes by good citizens within them,” he said.

The President, however, said this was a challenging task.

“Doing both at the same time is no easy task, nor has it been done before, which is why our efforts to fix the systems have faced fierce resistance from those who benefit from the status quo,” he said.

Chakwera said fixing the electoral system while in opposition taught him valuable lessons about what it would take to fix other broken and corrupt State systems, whether it be the food system for achieving food security, the economic system for creating wealth, the industrial production system for creating jobs or the social and civic system, among others.

In the address, the President narrated achievements of his government in the ending financial year.

For instance, Chakwera told the august House that the local economy had created a total of 997,423 jobs in the 2021-22 financial year.

“As a supplement to these job creation efforts last November I launched the Presidential Initiative on Job Creation. At that time, I reported that my administration had not only been creating jobs, but also protecting jobs that would otherwise have been lost without our intervention.

“And because of those interventions, the World Bank now confirms that Malawi’s labour market has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Madam Speaker, although we have not reached our target of one million jobs in the time-frame we set due to three successive waves of Covid that we did not foresee when we set that target, we have come impressively close,” Chakwera said.

The development means that, with two months to go to the end of the financial year, the economy is now left with only 2,577 jobs to create to meet the one million jobs’ target the Tonse Alliance promised Malawians it would create within its first year of being in office.

But immediately after Chakwera made the pronouncement, Malawians took to social media, questioning where the jobs were created and what they were.

And Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa also demanded proof of the jobs created by the Tonse Alliance-led administration.

Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) Secretary General Madalitso Njolomole said his institution was yet to conduct a survey on the number of jobs created.

British High Commissioner to Malawi David Beer described 2022 as a year of optimism for Malawi

“The President has raised several issues. He has mentioned the importance of making progress on the economy, ensuring that they can be partners with the private sector in creating jobs and driving the economy forward,” Beer said.

He added that the UK supported Chakwera’s agenda of fighting corruption.

Economics Association of Malawi Executive Director Frank Chikuta hailed the Sona for committing to reduce the budget deficit.

On his part, National Planning Commission Director General Thomas Munthali said it was encouraging that Chakwera was forward-looking in his Sona.

According to Munthali, the Sona addressed issues that need to be addressed to realise the first 10-year Malawi Implementation Plan and the Malawi 2063.

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