For over one year now, Malawians have endured colossal failure of Tonse Alliance administration, under the ‘wise’ leadership of Lazarus Chakwera, and sleepy opposition. Though painful, the situation might be understandable cognizant of the fact that brazen lies propelled Chakwera into government and corruption saw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) going to the opposition bench.
The opposition has a duty to themselves and the citizens to play the role of an alternative government and indeed, the role of a government in waiting but since Chakwera took the reins of power, the multiparty democracy has been on paper; no check and balances.
But on Friday, as parliamentarians were closing the 4th Meeting of the 49th Session of Parliament, the opposition through their leader Kondwani Nankhumwa dished out something very close to what Malawians expect of them.
For the first time, Nankhumwa was on top of his game. The personal attacks that showered on him from the government benches were evidence that he hit the nail on its head.
In the no-holds-barred speech by the opposition leader, who looked calm and collected throughout in the face of angry Malawi Congress Party (MCP) diehards, Lazarus Chakwera was reminded of the speeches he made when serving as opposition leader.
Nankhumwa reprimanded Chakwera for doing things which he condemned when he was the leader of the opposition.
“There was high tone and promise when the Tonse Alliance ascended to power over a year ago. Malawians were promised jobs; they were promised an efficient government, which would be quick to respond to their requirements.
“Malawians were promised cheap farm inputs; they were promised servant leadership; free electricity and water connection, including cheap passports. They were promised the moon and told they would be in Canaan pretty soon.
“Madam Speaker,Today, Malawians have missed Canaan with millions of miles. Today, Malawi is a war zone of survival of the fittest where the President, his family and his circle of cronies are the only ones that are more equal than others. Instead of creating one million jobs, the economy has comprehensively tanked and jobs have been lost tenfold. Fuel prices have gone up so too have the prices of basic commodities such as edible cooking oil, soap, sugar, salt, bread, and matches, among others,” said Nankhumwa amid applause from the opposition benches.
He said it was sad that as Malawians are suffering under the weight of the increased cost of living, their cries are falling on deaf ears.
“Meanwhile, their so-called servant leader is consistently absent. If he is not on the road, he is high up in the sky above them in a private jet, zooming from one country to the next, and looking down at their problems with disdain,” he said.
Nankhumwa wondered why President Chakwera keeps on Covid-19 and global trends as reasons why Malawi is facing social and economic challenges.
“He is calling on all Malawians to tighten their belts as the country is going through this crisis. The question is, what is the government doing about the crisis the country is facing? Wait till decisions are made in the US since it is a global crisis?” wondered Nankhumwa.
He advised that Malawi as a country should not be a sitting duck at the behest of decisions made elsewhere saying “we need to begin to make our own independent decisions as a sovereign country.”
He asked Chakwera to borrow a leaf from President Uhuru Kenyata of Kenya
who has moved his country from being the 12th richest country in Africa to become the 6th richest amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“President Kenyatta attributed this achievement to good leadership and being focused on what to achieve in a difficult situation. In other words, it means being able to identify opportunities in a crisis.”
“Madam Speaker, Perhaps, the President will also blame global trends for his failure to reshuffle cabinet after six months as promised, or to do a simple thing like filling up a crucial cabinet position after the demise of a cabinet member.
“Perhaps, the President will also blame global trends for his government’s failure to provide public hospitals and health facilities with essential drugs, medicines and other supplies.
“Perhaps, he will also blame global trends for the embezzlement of funds meant to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, or should we also blame Covid-19 for the mess at MERA and NOCMA over oil deals where the State House and the President have been mentioned?” nailed Nankhumwa.
Before he became President, Chakwera is on record saying that if he failed to perform well in his first two years, he would resign.
Nankhumwa, therefore, asked the Malawi leader to step down as it is clear that he has failed to honour his campaign promises and Malawi on autopilot under the hope that somehow things will get better on their own.
His punchy speech saw Richard Chimwendo Banda, leader of the house, throwing personal jabs at Nankhumwa before speaker of parliament Catherine Gotani Hara reminded the much-feared MCP member to concentrate on real issues and not go personal.
Meanwhile, Malawians have expressed satisfaction with the opposition leader’s representation in the house.