- Fails to construct 5 universities
- Fails to reintroduce recall provision
It is half-way into President Peter Mutharika’s term of office; will campaign pledges be fulfilled?
The following are some of the major promises the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made in the manifesto that ushred it into office:
- Complete construction of university campuses in Karonga, Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Mangochi, and Nsanje;
- Reduce presidential powers by empowering a special public appointments committee to handle the appointment and removal of top officials in various public institutions such as appointment and removal of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
- Others were the Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Clerk of Parliament, Malawi Human Rights Commission executive secretary, the Malawi Law Commissioner, director general of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) director general, and that leaders of other accountability institutions shall be on merit through a special public appointments committee;
- In Chapter 4 (11) it emphasises zero-tolerance to corruption, fraud, theft and other economic crimes
- To implement recommendations of past constitutional reviews including the facilitation of revised Section 65 on crossing the floor and to bring back of Section 64, on the recall provision;
- Operationalising the Nsanje Inland Port;
- Abolish the coupon system for subsidized farm inputs;
- Make subsidised fertiliser available for every farmer who needs it.
- Cooperate with and collaborate with the civil society and non-governmental organisations and the media; Pass and implement the Access to Information Bill;
Party spokesperson Francis Kasaila did not pick up his phone during the week. But government spokesperson Malison Ndau on Tuesday confirmed to have received our questionnaire and promised to give a proper response, saying he was consulting other stakeholders on the matter. He could not respond to our inquiry as we went to press yesterday.
Political governance commentator Henry Chingaipe said on Wednesday in a telephone interview the DPP administration made promises that it is not willing to deliver as demonstrated through its conduct in the past two years.
Said Chingaipe: “Democratically, the failure to deliver campaign promises demands for explanation as to what is the status of the pledges made. These are the promises that moved the electorate to vote the DPP into power.”
He said there is a political and moral duty for the government to give updates on such important issues and not just highlighting what they think they have done better.
Chingaipe said the citizenry need to use civic channels such as the media to demand accountability from the administration.
On reducing powers of the presidency, Chingaipe said the pledge forces the ruling party to surrender some of its powers, but when they (DPP) went into government, they thought implementing that idea would seriously undermine their power.
Another political analyst, Boniface Dulani, said the DPP administration has missed its targets already half-way into its five-year mandate.
Said Dulani: “Looking at the many pledges in the DPP manifesto, it is clear that given the remaining time before the next elections in 2019, a number of the short and long-term promises will not be delivered. This is both due to the fact that the government has walked back on some of the promises while on others, time is simply not on their side.
“We know already, for example, that the President has indicated that they will not reduce presidential powers despite having promised to do so prior to the 2014 elections. On promises to construct new universities, it is simply not possible to construct and complete even a single university and get it running before 2019.”
He said Malawians need to take an active role in politics and governance and hold their leaders accountable.
“Our society is often very passive when it comes to challenging those in positions of authority. As such, our leaders know they can make wild promises, fail to deliver and still enjoy popular support. A good starting point is for the electorate to take an active interest in learning and following up on what political parties are promising to deliver, both in the short and long term and press them to deliver. Only then will politicians feel pressured to making realistic promises that are achievable,” he said.
MCP public relations officer Alekeni Menyani said in principle, a manifesto provides a benchmark on which to assess the government’s delivery or competence to deliver and also gives the public a mandate to hold the ruling party accountable on their promises made during campaign on which it was voted into power.
Said Menyani: “This is, in fact, a social contract for the Malawian electorate to assess the current regime. By not fulfilling its promises, any government would be breaking a social contract that exists between it and the people. Hence, all of us Malawians should take the DPP to task over their own promises.”
Menyani also said the DPP administration is acting crookedly with the people who ushered it into office.
The DPP government is yet to tackle the issue of Section 65-on crossing the floor-and make efforts to bring back Section 64 (The Recall Provision), which Menyani said is a sign of indecisiveness of the administration.
Menyani said reducing presidential powers would mean recruiting deserving people in critical positions. This would mean meritorious appointments and no more appointment based on patronage and nepotism.
Said Menyani: “It would mean [in the case of ACB] no more prerogative of the President or a politburodetermining which cases to be sat on and which ones to pursue. Above all, reducing presidential powers would signal the end of an era of high level corruption and shielding of obvious culprits.”
People’s Party vice-president and parliamentarian for Rumphi East Kamlepo Kalua said DPP will never bring the Section 65 debate to Parliament after swallowing the whole United Democratic Front (UDF) let alone the Recall Provision.
Said Kalua: “What we have observed is that the DPP just used their manifesto document to hoodwink people into voting them into power.”