Chilima and Chakwera

By Nenenji Mlangeni

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera shows signs of loosing grip of power just six months in his Tonse administration, civil right group has learnt.

Addressing the news conference in Blantyre on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says President Chakwera has been captured by his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) gurus that is being dictated to run affairs of the state.

CDEDI cited his silent on MK12.5 million Crossroads Hotel accommodation gate, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe’s Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) mess up, nepotism, tribal, regionalism in his appointments and among others.

Below is the full statement of CDEDI signed by its Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa:

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has noted with regret that Malawi is showing all the signs of a failed state and absent leadership just six months into the Tonse Alliance government under the leadership of President Chakwera.

When the faith community starts speaking against any regime, that’s a
warning sign that the country is going astray. It is even more disturbing to note that these sad developments are coming at a time when the new regime is still in its infancy and that the goodwill of the voters is still there.

However, should the situation continue as it is, then Malawians need to brace for another term riddled with executive arrogance, impunity, and gross disregard of the rule of law by President Dr. Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration.

Already the President is showing signs of loss of grip on the country’s reins of power, and he seems to have declared a free for all kind of style of leadership, where some of his close allies and the rank and file in his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have now captured him and are calling the shots.

It is against this background that CDEDI in collaboration with the Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (IBAM), the Blantyre Small Scale Business Operators, the Common Path Organization (COPA) the Mzimba and Mangochi Civil Society Network and the Centre for Young Leaders in Africa have teamed up to echo the warning by Monsignor Boniface Tamani of the Archdiocese of Blantyre, that the country should never expect peace where there is no justice
and let alone where there is selective application of justice!

We are hereby challenging President Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance government that we will not stand and watch his government slowly turning the country into a one-party era of darkness, fear, terror, and death!

We will not sit back and suffer in silence; we want Malawi for all regardless of people’s social economic status, religious, tribe and political affiliations.

While the current administration is busy painting a very rosy picture that they are fighting corruption at all levels in the country, CDEDI has overwhelming evidence of gross mismanagement of funds and abuse of office by some officers and politicians in the Tonse Alliance government.

Surprisingly, no action is being taken by the law enforcement agencies against such unpatriotic public servants who were ushered into office on trust that they were going to change things, and yet the country is all quiet, pretending as if all is well.

CDEDI is appealing to all Malawians of good will to step forward and demand answers from President Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance government on several issues as outlined below:

Early signs of absent leadership: CDEDI and indeed all Malawians are shocked with Dr. Chakwera’s deafening silence on the National Oil Company of Malawi (NOCMA) fiasco where his cabinet minister, his chief advisor and Alliance partner are reportedly implicated. It is worth pointing out that the current situation at NOCMA is a litmus test for Dr. Chakwera’s stand on corruption and it was our expectation that the president would swiftly come in to ‘clear the rubble’ as he always puts it, which is now slowly turning nasty.

Any further delays will lead to a fuel crisis in the country since the alleged cancellation of the suppliers’ contracts means interruption of fuel supplies into Malawi. We are still counting down the days, and we are now left with 6 days from the 14 days ultimatum for Dr. Chakwera to fire all those involved in the issues and make a public declaration for the Anti- Corruption (ACB) to investigate the matter;

Affordable Input Program (AIP) mess up

The shambolic Affordable Input Program (AIP): We would like to reiterate our earlier stand that President Chakwera is playing with fire going by his careless handling of the program.

Technically he is inviting hunger into the country and it is embarrassing that in this day and era poor people should be sleeping at the selling depots for over four nights just for two bags of fertilizer. If Dr. Chakwera’s leadership were not an absent one, he would have already fired his Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe for failure to deliver. Thus far we demand Chakwera to fire Lowe for gross incompetence, within the same 6 days that are left on the ultimatum;

6th July independence celebrations expenses disclosure

The President has failed to honour his promise to declare to Malawians the expenses that were incurred during the 6th July independence celebrations, which were cancelled at the eleventh hour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when all the preparatory work was almost done;

State house staff luxurious tendencies

The President is allowing some of his officers to become untouchables, such as the current Chief of Staff at State House who is slowly amassing wealth at the watch of his boss, and is now driving a Toyota V8, which is a preserve of the Vice President and the Speaker of the National Assembly, and yet such an officer is below the level of Cabinet Ministers who are driving Toyota Prados. Dr. Chakwera promised Malawians that he would do things differently, and yet he has shown already that he is slowly becoming powerless against his own officers at the State House.

Chakwera’s unpalatable words

His careless usage of the term ‘Nyansi’ in reference to his slogan of clearing the rubble. Dr. Chakwera should be reminded that such inflammatory language is capable of fueling civil unrest in the country, hence our appeal that the President should withdraw his statement and apologize to Malawians.

Silent on MK12.5 million State House-Crossroads Hotel accommodation sag

His failure to tell Malawians the outcome of his investigation of the MK12.5 million State House-Crossroads Hotel accommodation saga involving his Chief of Staff and the Director of Finance at the State House.

The President’s silence on the matter is raising serious questions about his commitment in tackling corruption and theft of public funds in the country; By extension the President does not have a higher moral ground to stand on and accuse anyone of corruption and theft of public funds because he has clearly failed to live by example.

This simply means the arrests carried out by his government are mere cases of political persecution of those deemed as sympathizers of the immediate past regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)

The President’s indecisiveness on matters of national interest due to the influence of some business people who financed his campaign and are now remote controlling the country, while pushing in their selfish interests at the expense of national interest.

Political firing and appointments

Total disregard of the rule of law by the Tonse Alliance administration which is firing and/or suspending public officers with rightful contracts, thereby disregarding the legal opinion by the Attorney General (AG) Dr. Chikosa Silungwe, as per his memorandum to the Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima dated August 20, 2020, Ref. no. MJCA/AG/135. The country has so far witnessed the firing and suspensions of Directors and Chief Executive Officers for government ministries and departments as ell as parastatals, in the name of ‘clearing the rubble.’ We are appealing to the office of the AG to hold every public officer personally liable for the decisions they have made, especially where they have deliberately disregarded the AG’s legal opinion.

It is our expectation that the AG is not ready to preside over a government that does not respect the rule of law. What is very shocking is the fact that Dr. Chakwera is targeting people of the same tribe and region.

We would like to agree with Monsignor Tamani that every arm of government and every government department should have a representation of people from all the regions and tribes, as per the Tonse philosophy.

It is against this background that CDEDI is warning President Chakwera and his Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Zangazanga Chikosi to immediately comply with the AG’s legal opinion given in August 2020, advising them to offer appointment letters to Commissioners Jean Mathanga and Linda Kunje, or risk being personally held accountable to pay from their own pockets should their arrogance attract a lawsuit. There is no justification whatsoever as to why Dr. Chakwera and Mr. Chikhosi are sitting on the opinion which clearly says the two commissioners were duly appointed!

Failure to provide visionary leadership that inspires hope in the ordinary people has led to increased cases of suicide, corruption at all levels of society and a demoralized Civil service; a development that will impact negatively on the delivery of essential public and private services to the people.

This is clearly evidenced in the total disregard to engage the lower cadres in the rank and file of the public servants in the ongoing Public
Sector Reforms currently being championed by the State Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima. We therefore challenge government to come up with deliberate policies that should reinvigorate the public services apart from just trying so hard to please very few people at top management levels with obscene benefits and privileges.

Secondly, by honouring the Tonse alliance campaign promises some people will be able to see a ray of hope especially the senior citizens that were promised a MK15, 000 monthly allowances.

Homeland Security Minister Chimwendo mob justice calls

President Lazarus Chakwera’s silence on our demand to take to
task his Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda over his suspicious decision to change tune on the resolution that was agreed upon at an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting that gave all illegal immigrants doing businesses illegally in Lilongwe to leave within 90 days.

Our earlier stand has not changed, and failure to act on this will
force us into national wide demonstrations.

Zero on youth empowerment

Youth empowerment and involvement: Since the ascendance of
President Chakwera into power he has clearly demonstrated that his
government has nothing to do with the youth of this country who
unfortunately form 65 percent of the total population.

The count down to the 14 days ultimatum is continuing, and we are now left with 6 days!

The Tonse alliance government needs to know that it is setting a very bad precedent in the way they are handling the public service.

VIP Chilima loosing peoples favour

In the same vein, CDEDI is demanding the Vice President Dr. Chilima to explain to Malawians if indeed he has given the node to this unceremonious firing and suspensions of public officers, as part of his public reforms agenda.

Dr. Chilima is further being demanded to publicly explain to Malawians if indeed the Tonse alliance manifesto, which he was synonymous with during the campaign period, is being fulfilled. Malawians have all the evidence as regards the campaign promises Dr. Chilima and the Tonse alliance partners made prior to the 23rd June 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE).

It is equally surprising to note that the very same Vice President, who acted as a whistle-blower during the past regime of the DPP, has all of a sudden looked the other way, when things are getting rotten in his own administration.

Is Dr. Chilima probably waiting for an opportune time to act on this dirt which is slowly piling up in the Tonse alliance administration? Could it be that the Vice President is also a beneficiary of this rot? Or is Dr. Chilima waiting for 2025 as has been the tradition with all Malawians who only act during elections?

We have given Dr. Chilima six (6) working days to speak to Malawians on the contents of a pact he signed on behalf of the UTM party, as he was partnering with the MCP at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe prior to the FPE.

The Vice President needs to know that failure to fulfill the Tonse alliance manifesto is total betrayal of the trust people had in him prior to the FPE.

Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to remind President Chakwera that political and legal powers accorded to him under section 12 of the republican constitution derive from the people of Malawi, and the one exercising such powers does so on sustained trust.

It is, therefore, our expectation that the President will respond to these issues in earnest, and as his obligation to serve Malawians.

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