Opposition parties and donors have said Malawi faces a tough road ahead following President Bingu wa MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remarks in Parliament on Friday when he asked for three years before devaluing the kwacha and accused Western forces of supporting regime change.
In an interview after MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s address, German Ambassador Peter Woeste said the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remarks would make it difficult for government to engage with donors.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am an observer and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not our job to criticise anyone but it [speech] doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make things easier. It limits obviously the chance for the government to move towards closer cooperation with the donor community. I am very sceptical,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Woeste.
Head of European Union in Malawi Alexander Baum described MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s speech as consistent.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consistent. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t comment on the details of the speech but what I can say is that it is a very consistent speech. There is nothing that seems very new in terms of his [Mutharika] position on the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and sort of basic economic policies.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very clear that we will have more of what we see,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Baum.
Leader of Opposition John Tembo said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am disappointed. There was nothing new apart from saying that we will have to go through the many problems we have experienced for another three years.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Devaluation is part of the solution to the problems the country is facing. It shows that monetary authority has moved from Reserve Bank of Malawi to State House.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He said he was not aware of any external forces working to topple MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s administration, saying: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are working for the welfare of the people.Ã¢â‚¬Â
UDF chief whip Clement Chiwaya said Mutharika missed an opportunity to explain to Malawians specific steps his administration is taking to resolve the ongoing challenges, including forex and fuel shortages.
Nkhotakota Central MP Edwin Banda, who is also a lawyer, said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The speech was full of English. The civil society works as one of the checks on government. Civil society organisations are not undermining the powers of Parliament.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Parliament passed a resolution to increase salaries for the Judiciary but the same government is failing to implement that. So, who is undermining the authority of Parliament?Ã¢â‚¬Â