A rights group has warned President Lazarus Chakwera against shelving Tonse Alliance campaign promises, saying the Chakwera administration will be branded as a team of liars if it fails to deliver on the promises.
Executive Director of Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) Sylvester Namiwa issued the warning at a press briefing on Monday.
According to Namiwa, the Tonse Alliance administration has been changing, deferring or at worst keeping mum on most of its flagship promises which were very attractive to the Malawian voters.
He gave the example of the promised universal fertilizer subsidy programme which has now been changed to the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), where only two 50kg bags of fertilizer will be accessible to four (4) million smallholder farmers in Malawi at MK4, 495 per bag.
“This is a complete departure from the Tonse Alliance’s promise that apart from the programme being made universal, Dr. Chakwera is on record as having told Malawians prior to the June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE) that at least 1 million needy farming families which cannot afford the cheaper fertilizer will be given free farm inputs,” said Namiwa.
He also mentioned promises to provide MK15, 000 allowances to the senior citizens aged 65; reduce passport charges from the current MK90, 000 to MK14,000; create one million jobs within the first year; introduce one-week tax holiday; and establish mega farms.
Namiwa noted that these promises cannot be achieved in one financial year but said Dr. Chakwera should have explained in his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SoNA) which was delivered some two weeks ago how these promises would be achieved within his five-year term of office.
He challenged Chakwera to come out very clearly on some of the deferred Tonse Alliance Campaign promises before Malawians conclude that he is a liar.
Namiwa said: “Failure to explain to the taxpayers and voters on these matters will leave CDEDI and indeed patriotic citizens of this country with no choice but to brand the current government as a team of liars who cannot be trusted. It can further be construed that Malawians were duped on that material day on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.”