No one is disputing that Leader of Opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera is provided with State security. What is also not being disputed is that an armed gang raided Chakwera’s house in Area 9 in Lilongwe in the wee hours of Wednesday this week.
What is under contention though is that there was no police officer at Chakwera’s house. According to MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka an armed police officer who guards Chakwera’s residence did not report for duties on the night the residence was raided by armed men.
On the other hand, police spokesperson, James Kadazera, says a police officer was in fact on duty and foiled the raiders’ mission to get into the compound. Mkaka says it is Chakwera’s personal security detail that fired in the air to scare the raiders after they had entered the compound.
What is clear is that not both versions of statements from Mkaka and Kadazera can be true. One is being very economical with the truth. My conclusion is that whether there was a police officer at Chakwera’s residence or not, the fact that armed men raided his residence after several similar raids on high profile personalities such as Vice-President Sualos Chilima and Atupele Muluzi is proof enough of security breakdown in the country.
What all this confirms is that there was and is security breakdown in the country. And this is not only bad for everyone but more so for the Democratic Progressive Party leadership which pledged in its manifesto in 2014 to root out insecurity once and for all.
Security is important for the socio-economic development of the country.
This brings me to President Peter Mutharika’s address to the nation on Monday this week which sounded more like the party’s manifesto.
The President tried to touch on several issues of national importance but one could not help feel the speech was hastily prepared. For one thing, like the DPP manifesto, the speech promised Malawians the moon without providing a pathway for achieving those promises.
I can’t agree more with those who have said it was long on petty issues and the rhetoric we have heard 1 001 times before and very short on tangible deliverables.
Talk of stemming inflation (we now have a K2 000 note), ending Cashgate, theft of government resources, pursuing zero tolerance on corruption, hunger, reviving the Nsanje Inland Port, completing construction of five universities in Karonga, Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Mangochi and Nsanje, eliminating illiteracy by 2019, improving power generation and transmission, provision of potable water throughout the country, ensuring an efficient and effective health system in Malawi; pass the Access to Information Bill introduce Health Insurance for all public servants, form an impressive wish list.
Instead, we have perpetual power outages, the few universities that were operational long before DPP came to power are closed, with no hope about when they will be opened. The President who happens to be their Chancellor has told all and sundry that he has no solution to their problems. DPP is now mum on reviving the Nsanje Inland Port. Cashgate has escalated. Theft of government resources such as drugs and equipment is rampant. Shortage of medicines in hospitals is the norm rather than the exception. Development partners still consider the national budget a leaking bucket. Donors would rather use other modalities of channeling their assistance to the country than government. Hunger is the order of the day. Maize is unaffordable even in Admarc despite borrowing billions of kwachas from India to improve irrigation.
Talking about eliminating illiteracy by 2019, when there are no learning and teaching materials, is a far cry. In short, save for maintaining a 20-member Cabinet (despite having scores of presidential advisers) and doing a few roads in the urban areas, the DPP manifesto remains a catalogue of fiction and lies.