By Rick Dzida
It is not true that President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance Government has done nothing in the first year of their rule.
Despite the effects of COVID 19 pandemic, the Tonse Alliance Government has made some considerable strides in terms of political development.
However, there are still some critical problems that need to be addressed.
This discussion uses SWOT analysis approach to evaluate the performance of Tonse Alliance Government.
Strengths and positives
- The introduction of agricultural input subsidy has resulted into substantial bumper crop yields in many households.
We hope in the next agricultural year, the programme will be revitalised to diversify other crops such as peas , groundnuts etc…
- Non taxable income was raised to MK100,000 as part of fulfilling their campaign promises.
- Despite some other quarters reporting to the contrary, there is evidence that there exists a cordial relationship between the president and his vice. We hope this relationship will trickle down to the benefit of the local Malawians.
- Unlike the previous regime, President Chakwera initiated cordial bonds among our neighbouring countries. He physically visited them amid the escalating COVID 19 pandemic. This is showed his commitment.
He even complied not to put on facemask when he first visited Tanzania, a risk that should not be taken for granted.
- Public sector reforms as part of the foundation to restructure the public sector delivery were initiated.
Dr. Chilima used to physically meet with the the CEOs of parastatals to plan ahead on how public service delivery can be improved. All this was done during the COVID 19 pandemic. This also showed some commitment.
- The major weakness of the Tonse Alliance leadership is indecisiveness.
The president makes public promises which he fails to fulfill.
If it is not controlled, the indecisiveness will culminate into uncontrollable quandary.
Without an iota of guilt or conscience, the president takes pride in not reshuffling the cabinet over a year now, contrary to the promises he personally made to the public.
Even without making any promises, for sure, such deceased ministers needed replacement.
President Chakwera should not abuse his prerogative to hire and fire ministers by making empty promises of giving himself a deadline to reshuffle the cabinet.
- Another weakness of the Tonse Alliance Government is not just about its failure to fulfil its promises. That is just water under the iceberg. No sane person would expect Tonse Alliance Government to fulfill all its promises in one year.
However, It is the lack of a roadmap on how to fulfill those promises which is a problem.
Malawians need to be told how and when each promise will be fulfilled.
As you are reading this now, Malawians do not know how and when the following will be implemented: duty free week; free water and electricity connection; driving licences that don’t expire; stipend for the elderly; bullet trains; megafarms; one million jobs; cheap passports etc…
- Worsening economic hardships among the vulnerables are just rampant.
Prices of goods and services are skyrocketing.
Kwacha is nose driving against the dollar.
Forex reserves are being depleted.
Instead of creating one million jobs, many people are being retrenched. How can one survive?
kabaza vendors are being persecuted by having their motor bikes confiscated by the police.
Local vendors have been harassed when they are plying their trade in our city streets. Isn’t there any amicable solution to keep our cities clean and orderly?
In a nutshell, cost of living has become more expensive and unbearable than ever before.
The sad part is that there is no economic policy by the Tonse Alliance government to circumvent the aforementioned adverse economic status.
- Corruption cases are still on the rise. Some of them are being perpetrated by some officers who were appointed by the President himself. Even if there are allegations of corruption, the leadership of Tonse Alliance government is not committed to openly address it.
Up to now, Malawians do not know the truth about cross roads hotel gate, bloating of prices for state residences gate, NOCMA gate, ministers becoming millionaires within months, abuse of privileges in Malawi embasy in South Africa, sale of presidential jet, COVID 19 funds abuse gate etc..
- There is rampant selective justice. Most victims of arrests, demotions, job transfers and dismissals are deemed to be DPP sympathisers fondly called cadets.
Much as we uphold the rule of law, the arm of justice must be extended to all people regardless of political affiliation, religion, tribe, status etc…
- The Tonse Alliance government is still using the DPP system. What has changed are the names of beneficiaries. Nepotism, ethnocentrism, tribalism, illegalities, irregularities, regionalism, favouritism and corruption are just business as usual.
Unfortunately, there is no proactive measure taken by the Tonse Alliance Government to change people’s mindset.
- A group of 9 parties forming Tonse Alliance government is a good adventure. There is power in unity and diversity.
Former president, former vice presidents, incumbent president with pastorship background, all from various political parties, for sure this must be an asset. But is it?
A local Malawian was expecting tangible resolutions on matters of national importance from the Tonse Alliance joint meeting held in Mangochi. Did we hear anything tangible? Nothing.
All we heard was about how they scrambled to share public positions amongst themselves and their relatives, really???
- Mindset change
Tonse Alliance government has an opportunity to change the way things should be done without being hampered by political norms.
President Chakwera has never been in government before. This is the time he can question why some things were done. He can’t be a victim of business as usual syndrome.
This is an opportunity to scrutinize public service delivery and take proactive action.
This is also an opportunity to repeal some of the laws that are outdated , obsolete and redundant.
- Tonse Alliance has 4 more years to prove to the nation that they can deliver.
Yes, they have goofed miserably in their first year of governance.
However, there is still room for improvement.
The Tonse Alliance will be judged in 2025 on how best they have fulfilled their promises to the expectations, aspirations and satisfaction of Malawians.
The painful truth is that the performance of Tonse Alliance Government will not improve just by defending any silly undertaking and decisions made by the government.
In fact, the critics of this Tonse Alliance Government wish it to perform better by providing constructive criticisms.
Enemies of progress are those who always defend the indefensible by virtue of being bootlickers of the ruling Malawi Congress Party
- No one knows when this COVID 19 pandemic will be contained. However, it should not be taken as a scapegoat reason to stop thinking and planning.
Currently, prosperous governments plan their activities while acknowledging the devastating effects of COVID 19.
It is funny to promise people during the period of COVID 19 pandemic and later blame the same COVID 19 for not fulfilling your own promises.
- Intermittent energy supply is a threat.
It is laughable to woo investors when Malawi does not have steady electricity supply.
Even the much touted bullet trains need a constant and steady supply of electricity.
The lack of electricity is the major threat to industrialisation as it is enshrined in vision 2063
- Intermittent, unpredictable and sporadic rains are a bottleneck to commercial and subsistence farming
This year’s AIP has been successful because Malawi received good rains.
Malawi needs to diversify irrigation development so as to be food secure and sufficient even during droughts.
Notice is given that the list provided above is not exhaustive.
About the author: Rick DZIDA is a social media and political commentator and send your feedback to email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author not necessarily of The Maravi Post or Editor