An Open Letter to Malawi’s President, Reverend Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera

Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi

“Leadership is about solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” – Colin Powell, the first African-American Secretary of State

Mr President

On behalf of my fellow patriotic Malawians, I feel privileged to address Your Excellency on pertinent issues that affect our lives.

I am aware that you acknowledge your role as the legitimate President of the Republic of Malawi until another Malawian possibly assumes your position in 2025. You also understand that it was the people who put you in this position. They didn’t just want you to ascend to the presidency but to lead Malawi so that their lives could be transformed for the better. Unfortunately, life on the ground under your leadership has become increasingly challenging. If this trend continues, you may risk losing the forthcoming elections. Immediate action is needed.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost; you still have a chance for a second term, but only if you heed the issues I will address. I will strive to be concise to respect your valuable time.

Firstly, many Malawians are disillusioned with your leadership because most of your campaign promises remain unfulfilled. They feel they have been deceived. For instance, despite promises of affordable fertilizer, many agricultural inputs, including fertilizer, are beyond the reach of local farmers. Some cannot even access the so-called subsidized fertilizer, leading to the looming threat of hunger.

Furthermore, our local currency, the Kwacha, continues to weaken against the dollar daily, resulting in soaring inflation rates. This has led to skyrocketing prices of goods and services and a significantly higher cost of living. It’s no surprise that your popularity is waning among my fellow Malawians, which could impact your votes in the upcoming general elections.

It is distressing to observe the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The poor are becoming even more impoverished while the rich are accumulating wealth. Mr. President, you seem to have abandoned your promise of being a servant leader. You appear quick to please a select few Tonse Alliance supporters while neglecting the plight of local people in remote areas. Did you know that these marginalized, impoverished, and often overlooked Malawians make up a significant portion of voters during general elections?

Mr. President, are you aware that nepotism, tribalism, regionalism, and cronyism have reached unprecedented levels during your tenure? Just as you employed your daughter, Ms. Violet Chakwera, and Chiiima’s mother-in-law, Ms. Margaret Makoto, in the government, it has become exceedingly difficult to secure employment in government departments and agencies unless one has connections to recruiters or high-ranking officials.

Public service delivery during your administration has been disappointingly inadequate. For instance, processing passports and driver’s licenses takes an exorbitant amount of time. Urgently needed services often require bribes to expedite the process, making them unaffordable for many Malawians like us.

Regrettably, some of those who voted for you in the 2020 fresh presidential elections have died due to preventable diseases. Essential drugs are often unavailable in our public hospitals, where service delivery is extremely poor. Imagine a patient traveling long distances to a health facility only to be told that they must purchase prescribed medication from a pharmacy because public hospitals lack essential drugs, which many Malawians cannot afford.

Mr. President, corruption has reached an alarming level in virtually every ministry, department, or agency. You, yourself, have been seen as promoting corruption by recently pardoning corruption suspect Dr. Bakili Muluzi and corruption convict Mr. Uladi Mussa. There are also allegations that you are personally interfering with the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) to shield MCP loyalists like Mr. Eisenhower Mkaka, the Secretary General of MCP. This is why the Director General of ACB, Ms. Martha Chizuma, seems reluctant to issue an official statement on Mkaka’s alleged involvement in a Mercedes Benz bribery case with a business tycoon, Mr. Zuneth Sattar. It is disheartening that ACB appears toothless in pursuing corruption cases involving MCP and some Tonse Alliance members like Kezzie Msukwa, George Kainja, Newton Kambala, and many others.

Additionally, why has it been so challenging to release the Public Sector Reform report that your Vice, Dr. Saulos Chilima, submitted to your office two years ago? What is in that report that you are hesitant to share with Malawians? It is crucial to remember that Malawians have the right to access that report since taxpayers’ money funded its production.

Regarding the education sector, I commend your administration for achieving two years of examination leak-free exams. However, illiteracy levels remain high, and there seem to be no deliberate plans to address this issue. Why hasn’t your government implemented compulsory primary school education for children of a certain age? What progress has been made in constructing secondary schools in each constituency with funding from the American government? Mr. President, provide solutions for jobless university graduates and consider helping deserving students who drop out of school due to high fees in our universities and secondary schools. Is Malawi’s education only for the elite?

During your reign, corruption in the judiciary has reached an unprecedented level. Mr. President, you must take action. Why should the court shield a corruption suspect from being interrogated by an institution constitutionally mandated to investigate and prosecute corruption suspects? My Reverend, Mr. President, did you not vow to defend the Malawi Constitution?

Under your leadership, the Speaker of the National Assembly appears to participate in the election of the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa. It seems as though your government has gained control over every institution, including the National Assembly. How can your party obstruct the confirmation of Ms. Martha Chizuma as the Director General of ACB in parliament? It is, therefore, not surprising that Ms. Martha Chizuma appears unable to prosecute Tonse Alliance corruption suspects effectively.

In conclusion, as the Head of State and Government of Malawi, you have the full responsibility to uphold, defend, and respect the Malawi Constitution as the supreme law of the land and to promote the unity of the Malawi nation at home and abroad. In other words, you are the driver of this country, and you cannot evade this constitutional mandate. All the people you appoint are there to assist you in leading this country. Their failure is your failure, and their success is your success. I agree with the first African-American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that leadership is about solving problems.

Yours Sincerely,

Rick Dzida