Social and economic rights activists have warned Malawians to brace for five wasted years, saying President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration is departing from its campaign promises.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) issued the warning Friday in a statement on developments and the unfolding events since Chakwera was sworn in as president.
According to CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa, Chakwera’s faults include his appointment into cabinet of family members, siblings, spouses, cronies; and his hypocrisy on the fight against nepotism by appointing 45 percent of the cabinet members from his home district Lilongwe.
Namiwa also accused Chakwera of failing to honour his promise to enforce the Gender Equity Act as there are only three women who are full cabinet ministers.
Chakwera, according to Namiwa, also failed to articulate in his inaugural State of the Nation Address (SoNA) a clear roadmap on the strategies his administration would employ in order to achieve the milestones that were promised during the campaign period
“The sudden change of tune on the universal fertilizer subsidy programme which has now wore a new face; 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 (making the affordable fertilizer accessible to everyone), 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 subsidized fertilizer will be given free farm inputs,” said Namiwa.
He further accused Chakwera of being mum on the promised MK15, 000 allowances to senior citizens aged 65 and above; on reduction of passport charges from the current MK90, 000 to MK14,000; introduction of one-week tax holiday; and on free water and electricity connections.
Namiwa added that Chakwera lacks a clear strategy on how the 1 million jobs would be created within the first one year of the Tonse Alliance administration and has failed to make independent the offices of the Inspector General (IG) of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
According to Namiwa, Chakwera has also shown signs of political persecution by redeploying over 10 Principal Secretaries (PSs) just because they are perceived to have been sympathizers of the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.
“In the period under review, Malawians have witnessed clear signs of selective application of justice in the way the Tonse Alliance government is handling the fight against corruption and abuse of power by the previous regime, while giving a blind eye to corruption scandals involving some members of the Tonse Alliance partners, such as the issues surrounding the sale of the Presidential Jet by the former regime of Dr. Joyce Banda; the mysterious fire that gutted the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) House in Blantyre; and many other scandals,” said Namiwa.
He then claimed that Malawians are now living in fear as some think the country is slowly sliding back to the one-party era where arrests and political persecution was the order of the day.
Namiwa has since challenged President Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance administration not to take the route of giving false promises because the administration will be equated to regimes in the past which used campaign promises to fool voters.