Hon. Folks, today last year, many Malawians rode high on hopes that things would start changing for the better by now with the MCP-led Tonse Alliance administration having clocked a year in office.
But alas! 389 days later, those hopes for a better Malawi are fading fast, and there is growing frustration among citizens, including those who voted for President Lazarus Chakwera, because they hardly see tangible transformative approaches by his government to fight poverty, corruption and restore economic growth.
During the campaign period, Tonse Alliance promised to deal with the high cost of living that continues to push millions of Malawians over the edge among its many colourful reform areas that Tonse leaders said need urgent attention.
But instead of implementing its promises, the leadership is zig-zagging through the country, presiding over opening of “small projects” that are done by heads of government ministries, departments and agencies in some neighbouring countries.
Worse still, most of such projects are not even on the Tonse Alliance’s list of priority projects, meaning that they were either initiated by the previous DPP regime or were done by the private sector.
Instead, the current administration is busy asking Malawians to give Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima more time to settle down in office before they can start ‘doing things’ for the betterment of the country.
As a replacement for its slowness, this government spends more time blaming DPP for almost every problem the country is facing when, in fact, they have been in government the whole year.
This takes us back to our unchanging political culture which has manifested in this country for decades and is characterised by lip-servicing, finger-pointing, name-calling and mudslinging, among others.
I will not tackle the issue of public appointments in various foreign missions today because many have spoken about this already; suffice to say even with Chakwera at the top, his government remains embroiled in allegations of deep corruption, nepotistic and tribalistic tendencies and indecisiveness on important issues of national interest.
This is why some citizens and civil society groups are intensifying calls for the current government to wake up from its slumber and start working things out instead of waiting for more time while it continues to follow unpopular templates of projects that sent previous regimes packing before their time to rule was up.
Politician Kamlepo Kalua once popularised the adage ‘fisi ndi fisi, olo asinthe thengo amakhalabe fisi basi’, and I, actually, doubt it would be entirely wrong to suggest that Malawians have good reasons to be fed up with their politicians because they seemingly were born from the same father despite having different names or wearing different political tags.
Honourable folks, all I am saying here is that time flies pretty fast and soon the Tonse Alliance partners will be under intense pressure to fulfil their key campaign promises for the sake of the next election.
Surely, they will not have the DPP or anybody else to blame, but themselves.
I also want to ask the President’s minders to always keep him abreast with key issues happening in Malawi. I mean, it is embarrassing for him to wake up this week and suspend someone who already resigned from his post several weeks ago. What are his many advisers doing in office?
This month marks 10 years since Malawians took to the street to protest against the first DPP government’s heavy-handedness on free speech, growing corruption and dictatorial tendencies, among others.
Some lives were lost during those ugly protests and many people were injured. A lot of public and private property was also destroyed in those deadly protests.
Incidentally, for a week now South Africa has witnessed similar violent protests this July that have since affected that country’s efforts to rebuild the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The protests erupted on July 10 following the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma on contempt of court charges, but the violence centred on looting because millions of South Africans live in poverty and they eagerly capitalise on any political slip-up to looting or take the law into their own hands in a bid to ‘level up’.
It is just sad that ‘politically motivated’ looting and social unrest has killed over 70 people and disrupted trade routes linking many Sadc countries with South Africa, affecting trade in the process.