President Peter Mutharika has asked Malawians to give him another mandate to govern the country, pledging to deliver more in areas of economic management, infrastructure development and improving people’s living standards.
Mutharika, who is presidential candidate for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, went on bended knees to the voters during the party’s manifesto launch at Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe yesterday.
During the launch of his re-election bid which was also televised on taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and two privately-owned television stations—Times and Zodiak Broadcasting Station, he said Malawians should vote for DPP because of its track record.
Said the President: “We [DPP] are not coming to experiment with the lives of Malawians. We have been tried and tested.
“In 2014, we found a broken economy, but we have fixed it. The Malawi of today is better than the Malawi of 2014… I want to assure Malawians that we will do more this time than we did in the past five years.”
Mutharika pledged increased rural electrification, improved road infrastructure and construction of about 200 secondary schools as some of the reasons Malawians should retain DPP.
In many aspects, the 2019 DPP manifesto carried forward some of the issues included in the 2014 promise when the party pledged to pursue zero tolerance on corruption, bribery, fraud and general abuse of public funds. Yesterday, the President said his administration will fight corruption if voted back into power.
In the manifesto, DPP says stiffer and custodial sentences, including a minimum of 15 years jail for convicts of corruption and economic crimes, will be put in place. The manifesto adds that special courts will be introduced to speed up handling of corruption cases.
But governance and political commentator Henry Chingaipe yesterday, looking at the track record in the past five years, cast doubt at the possibility of DPP fighting corruption.
The new DPP manifesto is silent on the introduction of health insurance for all public servants, a promise Mutharika earlier made to Malawians in 2014.
That year, DPP also promised to double exports by the end of Mutharika’s first five years in office. However, the country’s trade balance continues to be negative and a review meeting of the National Export Strategy last week learnt that the country’s exports were waning.
The launch started with prayers from the clergy, but later turned into a platform for castigating political opponents by DPP secretary general Grezelder Jeffrey. While she did not directly mention the leaders, the message was clear that Jeffrey was hitting at Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and his alliance partner, the country’s former president Joyce Banda of People’s Party.
The country’s estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is challenging his boss in the presidential race on the ticket of UTM Party, was not spared the subtle attacks either. n