The Centre for Development for People (Cedep) has sharply criticised President Peter Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration for what it called ‘failing’ Malawians amid a hoard of social and economic problems.
But newly appointed Minister of Information, who is also government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi, in a telephone interview yesterday said the President and his DPP administration have already embarked on measures to address the issues Cedep has raised.
In its Christmas message yesterday Cedep, one of the country’s most vocal NGOs, singles out among others problems facing Malawians, the high cost of living caused by inflation, persistent water shortages and electricity, critical food shortages and high levels of corruption.
Cedep also blamed government for failure to deal with extra judicial killings and lack of progress in the death of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB’s) director of corporate affairs Issa Njauju and former Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.
Reads the statement signed by Cedep executive director Gift Trapence: “The socio-economic challenges are just too many for Malawians to enjoy and celebrate Christmas.
“Indeed this is a very dark, dull and painful Christmas ever in the history of our democratic era. But it is not everybody in this country who is suffering like the poor and common Malawian in the villages. The President and his senior government officials are wallowing in affluence amid our continued poverty.”
Trapence further accused the DPP administration of pushing the blame of the current economic situation on other factors rather than coming up with strategies that can take Malawi out of the mess. He describes the purchase of a K100 million vehicle for the President as wastage of State resources.
“Our kwacha continues to depreciate against major [trading] currencies and our purchasing power has been greatly eroded. Yet the DPP led government under the so called visionary and dynamic leadership of President Mutharika has either buried its head in the sand like an ostrich thinking the problems will disappear on their own or are living in denial.
He [Mutharika] has not told Malawians the Government solutions and action plans with clear benchmarks to end these many problems. What he has done is to distance himself from these problems and remain silent,” Cedep statement further reads.
Dausi charged at Cedep’s attack on the government by saying the CSO should analyse what the government has already started doing on the issues raised before coming up with statements.
He said: “I think Cedep has verbal diarrhoea. If they are indeed a Malawian organisation they should have realised that the government has already made moves to tap water from Mulanje Mountain to Blantyre, a project tapping water from Lake Malawi to Lilongwe is in progress and that of North Rukuru to Mzuzu is in the pipeline to solve water problems once and for all.
“Steps have also been taken to establish a coal generated electricity plant at Kamwamba in Neno, while we are also upgrading Nkula and Kapichira hydro plants to improve power generation to arrest current power outtages. As I am speaking government and its partners are distributing free maize to the poorest people while Admarc markets have been stocked with enough maize to deal with the hunger sistuation.”
Dausi, however, had problems in trying to defend the government on efforts to curb corruption in the country, especially after DPP parliamentarians shot down a Bill in Parliament early this year that would have given the ACB absolute independence from the Executive branch of government.
The latest World Corruption Perception Index places Malawi on position 112. n