Hon. Folks, the Tonse Alliance administration is undeniably hit by many challenges while trying to deliver its campaign promises to hungry Malawians.
Just this week Chakwera acknowledged the discomfort that citizens are facing following the recent hike in fuel prices and he said he shares the pain with his people.
The First Citizen must be feeling the heat amid rising prices for some basic commodities.
Already soaring cooking oil prices are exacerbating the pain for millions of ordinary citizens especially the rural folk and these past few days many Malawians have expressed displeasure with the current administration no wonder some people have started drawing parallels with the pain they suffered under the Peter Mutharika-led Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.
These include opposition politicians who accuse the government of failing to walk its campaign promises and they claim that the cost of living was fairer during the Mutharika era.
I am sure by saying he shares the pain with Malawians, Chakwera understands his people’s frustrations having campaigned on a platform for a new and better Malawi for everyone.
During the previous presidential campaign, Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance partners, including Vice-President Saulos Chilima, were busy bashing corruption and other deficits under Mutharika as a leadership disqualification for his re-election and they convinced voters that they would have people’s welfare at heart.
But alas, things are getting worse today and the reaction from some citizens is “bola okuba omwe aja” (better the DPP thieves) and those who think so have their own reasons, but of course it is too early to make conclusions when the current administration has about four years to work things out for the betterment of Malawians.
I just hopethat Tonse has a remedy for the rising cost of living otherwise if left unchecked the economic and social crises facing citizens currently could gradually fuel public discontentment and lead to a possible voter backlash in future.
I am saying this because even Chakwera and Chilima understand that Malawians do not like to be taken advantage of and surely in the end this government will be rewarded according to how it handles the economy and people’s welfare.
Recently, I reflected on former president Bakili Muluzi and other pro-democracy activists who encouraged Malawians to embrace participatory democracy which generally led to the fall of Mutharika and his DPP last year and this people power influence catapulted Tonse alliance to power. Nothing else did.
Hon. Folks, we also discussed Atcheya’s 2008 move to alter citizens perceptions towards his handpicked successor Bingu wa Mutharika by trying to convince them that Malawi’s economy was better under his rule than during Bingu’s time.
The comical Muluzi would cite anything from low salaries to the rising cost of transportation and from the rising prices of matches to various household commodities such as maize, sugar and cooking just to discredit Bingu’s re-election chances.
Muluzi would say: “Ngati chuma chikuyenda bwino aMalawi, zikutanthauza kuti [mitengo ya] katundu wa zinthu idzikhalako bwino. Ine am not saying kuti munthawi yanga katundu samakwera iyayi, koma not to the magnitude imene tikuona masiku ano.”
Today, Malawians find themselves in a similar scenario and as it transpired this week, four DPP lawmakers led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa almost replayed the Muluzi trick by storming Limbe Market to appreciate how traders are faring amid various economic hardships.
Obviously DPP will use this to fight the government which is now busy blaming almost everything on Mutharika’s regime as if this can solve the current problems. All Malawians want is action from their leader to usher them to the Promised Land.
Now is the best time for Chakwera to come out of his skeleton and demonstrate his political leadership skills by addressing the many challenges facing the country today in person. We are tired of hearing him say he is “shocked” or indeed he shares our pain when thing go wrong.
Hon. folks, we kicked out DPP last year hoping for the best in the current administration, but sadly even today the pain felt by citizens is still the same, or even worse.
Unless the Tonse leaders smell the coffee and wake up from their deep slumber, I can see another administration walking in the same footsteps of the DPP regime that Malawians kicked out on June 23 2020.