In keeping with our tradition, our indefatigable leader of delegation, the only Most Excellent Grand Achiever (Mega-1), Professor Dr Joyce Befu, and, we, her ‘boots on the ground’ wish Your Excellency, President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the First Lady, Monica Chakwera and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2022.
We also wish the Right Honourable Vice-President, Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, and the Second Lady Mary Chilima, and your family an equally happy and prosperous new year 2022.
We in the delegation are fine.
Today, on New Year’s day we plead with you to forget about us, our problems, our expectations, and our demands.
Today, if you can afford it, drink the hardest stuff and eat the most sumptuous meal.
Today, enjoy yourselves as much you can. Cavort in the sand if you can. Roll on the floor and your vomit if you wish. Play with your grandchildren if you must. Scale the mountains or swim in Lake Malawi. Rest. Refresh. Reflect. Reengage. Recall.
We want you to emerge from your holidays physically and mentally stronger and politically rejuvenated. Emerge from there more innovative, and with more listening minds and ears. And recall the promises you made to Malawians.
Every sensible Malawian understands that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the Malawi economy and service delivery. But people must eat. Children must go to school. Hospitals must function.
From today, stop talking about Covid-19 as the cause of rising prices because we know that prices are a human construction.
You must lead in making the nation accept to live with Covid-19 and move forward. HIV and Aids are still here but as a nation we have accepted to live with the situation.
The health authorities must be battle-ready. They must keep disseminating anti-Covid-19 messages and taking the Covid-19 vaccine to the people. These are good efforts and they must be financially supported. They should not give up. Human social behaviour change is very slow and va-et-viens.
Continue testing and ensuring that all health facilities are fully equipped with Covid-19 testing equipment. We abhor the bias already displayed where some districts have over 50 Covid-19 testing centres while others, such as Balaka, have one centre. Should we really be marching to get a Covid-19 testing closest to the people? Give unto all health centres in all districts that which thou giveth to Chitipa and Lilongwe.
You must intervene to stop the free fall of the Malawi kwacha. The value of a national currency is a human construction. Stop accepting every falsehood from your economic advisers. Currencies are fixed and fluctuate within small percentage points. Allowing unfettered currency devaluation is suicidal.
You must intervene to control prices of basic goods. Some goods must be subsidised. Some goods must not be taxed. Laundry soap, salt, milk and other basic items people need to survive their arduous journey to Canaan through the red sea of poverty should not be taxed.
Taxing water is tantamount to plotting mass murder because it affects people’s access to water. Water is life and the right to life is protected by the Constitution we fought hard to frame.
By reducing pay as you earn tax by 10 percent you will be increasing people’s salaries by the same margin. Try.
You promised universal subsidies on farm inputs. Our experience now is that the prices of critical inputs in the food production processes have skyrocketed. Do something.
All governments in the world intervene in prices. There are subsidies on agriculture all over Europe, South America, North America and Asia. If they don’t subsidise production, the governments there do support consumption through social security payouts. Subsidise basic goods.
Take the [Bon] Kalindo demands seriously and implement them honestly. Please don’t cheat us (again). We hate being cheated. We are averse to lies. We were told that the Chingeni Tollgate charges had been reduced but nothing of the sort has happened. Not even one tambala has been taken off the charges.
We expect you to ensure simple chores such as grading township roads and clearing clogged storm drains are done before the main rains come. The MCP government we deposed through the referendum of 1993 used to use PVHO graders to clear the road network. Why is this not happening now?
In short, implement basic things that will keep people happy. Create jobs. Create opportunities for all. Rebuild the road network. Guarantee food security. Veto taxes on basic goods.
We can assure you that bullet trains and free imports and passports cannot cost you an election if they were not implemented.
With these very few observations we wish your Excellency and Right Honourable and your families a good, imaginative and productive 2022.