The democracy of Malawi seemed to be dwindling in June 2019. But this took a new turn as the political deadlock was broken. The world was taken by surprise at the seismic change in democracy and the rule of law in Malawi, which is something that has not happened in the country for a very long period of time, leading to Lazarus Chakwera becoming president. Two of the main things that governments in Africa have been struggling for many generations to consolidate is law and democracy, which have not been achieved by most.
However, in Malawi, the Constitutional court overturned a rigged election in February and the polls were returned in June, removing Peter Mutharika, who had been president for decades. Sad, Africa, and the world, in general, are plagued with instances of decisive wins at the polls which leads to disappointment. But For Chakwera, his win and immediate efforts against structural issues and society affected by high levels of corruption, which has kept the economy of Malawi on a standstill – were both refreshing and startling.
Clear the rubble
One of the main reasons that sparked investigation on the suspicious contracts and dubious deals of the previous government is Chakwera’s wish to set the records straight, or “clear the rubble” as he subtly puts it. And he has gotten the support of his party who are standing behind him to ensure that any such contracts are suspended. He did this only a few months after being sworn in as president. The speed with which he moved with changing the corrupt system of the previous government has been reinforced by the separation of power of the three arms of government (the judiciary, legislature, and the executive). This was proven in the overturning of the rigged elections, bringing about fair and honest election results.
A lot of local leaders are pushing campaigns for a clean government and anti-corruption forward, which only end up in frustration as most of them, just like their predecessors, bend the laws to fit their situation in order to remain in power. On the bright side for Malawi, they don’t have to worry about this anymore as the courts have shown the nation that they are free from corruption and are worthy of handing such crucial matters of the nation.
This has resulted in many Malawians venturing into several sectors with ease and without worry about investing with businesses in the country. This comes at a time when individuals with local business licenses are carefully reviewed, deterring business frauds. This is exactly what is happening to Forex trading brokers in Malawi, where brokers are carefully reviewed before operating in the country and are expected to have their customers learn forex trading step by step in order to avoid making huge losses since a majority of the traders are from low-income households.
The potential of the Mining Sector
The new president has also gone as far as discussing regulatory issues and governance that has discouraged investors over the years. He started with the mining sector, which is one of the industries in Malawi that has performed very poorly for decades, which is the main industry that represents the vital tool for unlocking the country’s full potential.
President Chakwera joined an online meeting organized by Invest Africa US last month which discussed his outlook on the future of Malawi, noting that the main reason for this is to ensure that the GDP of the country increases by raising the contribution of extractives from its present 1% and daily forex reserves.
According to a geological study, it was indicated that the plan is possible and that the country is richer in natural resources than the previous government led on. The country is endowed with natural resources such as iron ore, uranium, alluvial gold, bauxite, graphite, coal, rare earth metals, and gemstones.
The first moves made by the president in his executive capacity were breaking down old uncontrolled practices and setting the groundwork for the country’s development and checking all those offshore licensed companies exporting minerals from the country illegally all in the name of samples.
Chakwera also indicated reports about Malawi that showed that the country exports gold worth $85 million to the Middle East yearly without proof of who is exporting the gold and which mine it is from. With aim of reviving the crumbling industry, a Ministry of Mines has quickly been established by Ckakwera and his administration, a ministry that has been lacking in the country throughout previous administrations. This was an important effort by the president to revive the crumbling mining industry in the country. In the country today, licenses that are currently in the country today, and the inactive ones are reviewed by the ministry or canceled respectively.
The agricultural sector was not left out of Chekwera’s visions for the country, which is one of the world’s least developed countries with regards to its agricultural turnover. In an effort to develop the development of agricultural businesses, Chakwera is making moves for the agricultural sector to gain its grounds to be able to accommodate the country’s growing population. He encourages farmers from South Africa who were under pressure from increasing farm invaders in their country to consider Malawi.
The Real Challenge for Chakwera
The main challenge for the new president and his administration will be to ensure that the country does not face the same political deadlocks as it did in the past, especially with the abuse of power by leaders. However, he called for an end to corruption and tribal nepotism in his acceptance speech. But this is the case with many of the previously elected presidents who become corrupt later and don’t want to leave power. He talked about how he would run the country in order to reduce the range of presidential powers and also encouraging parliamentary accountability, transparency, and scrutiny for the executives. Nevertheless, one can’t deny the fact that Chakwera has made a lot of quick and successful starts within a short period of time which is very important for the international community and foreign investors that can back him up and make sure that he has the necessary resources to complete what he has started.